Army without Doctrine: The Evolution of US Army Tactics in the Absence of Doctrine, 1779 to 1847   [open pdf - 629KB]

"This thesis examines how the United States (US) Army conducted operations and adapted their tactics during the Indian wars of 1779, through the Second Seminole War, and ending in 1847. During this period, the US Army lacked a comprehensive written doctrine that captured how the Army fought its wars, so those skills and techniques could be passed down for subsequent conflicts against Native Americans. This caused the US Army to rely on the experiences gathered from past Indian conflicts as well as the existing texts and publications from contemporary military theorists, such as Henri Jomini and Dennis Hart Mahan. The thesis examines three periods to prove the thesis: the colonial period from 1620 through 1794, the establishment of Indian policies from 1794 through 1831, and the Second Seminole War, which lasted from 1835 to1842. The scope of the thesis concludes with Dennis Hart Mahan's publication of An Elementary Treatise on Advanced Guard, Out-Post, and Detachment Service of Troops With the Essential Principles of Strategy and Grand Tactics. Mahan's textbook became de facto doctrine due to its combination of military theory, inclusion of past US Army experiences in Indian warfare and its acceptance as a training text for US Army officers at the US Military Academy at West Point. This text is the end result of over one-hundred years of American military experience and evolution under fire, proving that the US Army can, and did, succeed against its enemies without formal doctrine."

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