Civil War Logistics: A Study of Military Transportation

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LSU Press, Sep 18, 2017 - History - 280 pages
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During the Civil War, neither the Union nor the Confederate army could have operated without effective transportation systems. Moving men, supplies, and equipment required coordination on a massive scale, and Earl J. Hess’s Civil War Logistics offers the first comprehensive analysis of this vital process. Utilizing an enormous array of reports, dispatches, and personal accounts by quartermasters involved in transporting war materials, Hess reveals how each conveyance system operated as well as the degree to which both armies accomplished their logistical goals.

In a society just realizing the benefits of modern travel technology, both sides of the conflict faced challenges in maintaining national and regional lines of transportation. Union and Confederate quartermasters used riverboats, steamers, coastal shipping, railroads, wagon trains, pack trains, cattle herds, and their soldiers in the long and complicated chain that supported the military operations of their forces. Soldiers in blue and gray alike tried to destroy the transportation facilities of their enemy, firing on river boats and dismantling rails to disrupt opposing supply lines while defending their own means of transport.

According to Hess, Union logistical efforts proved far more successful than Confederate attempts to move and supply its fighting forces, due mainly to the North’s superior administrative management and willingness to seize transportation resources when needed. As the war went on, the Union’s protean system grew in complexity, size, and efficiency, while that of the Confederates steadily declined in size and effectiveness until it hardly met the needs of its army. Indeed, Hess concludes that in its use of all types of military transportation, the Federal government far surpassed its opponent and thus laid the foundation for Union victory in the Civil War.

 

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User Review  - NLytle - LibraryThing

By far the best description of the effort to supply troops during the American civil war. The book includes supplying by ship (coastal and riverboat), train, wagons, and pack mules. Read full review

Contents

List of Maps and Illustrations Preface
The Logistical Heritage
Quartermasters North and South
The RiverBased System
The RailBased System
The Coastal Shipping System
Wagon Trains
Pack Trains Cattle Herds and Foot Power
Troop Transfers
Targeting Steamboats
Targeting Railroads Coastal Vessels and Wagon Trains
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Copyright

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About the author (2017)

Earl J. Hess, Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History at Lincoln Memorial University, is the author of more than twenty books on the Civil War, including Civil War Infantry Tactics, winner of the 2016 Tom Watson Brown Book Award from the Society of Civil War Historians.

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