By Mr. Richard Winship Stewart, Center of Military History (U.S. Army)
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Extra info for American Military History: The United States Army and the Forging of a Nation, 1775-1917
National armies composed of professional soldiers came once again to resemble the imperial forces that had served Alexander the Great and the Roman emperors. In the destructive Thirty Years' War in Germany (1618-48), religious passions finally ran their course. European warfare would henceforth be a matter of clashes of dynastic and national rather than local or religious interests. htm (4 of 27) [2/20/2001 11:24:37 AM] Chapter 2 21 After the chaos and destruction that had attended the religious wars, rulers and ruling classes in all countries sought stability and order.
This tradition took on new vitality in America at the same time that it was declining in England where, after Oliver Cromwell's time, England's wars were fought on the sea and in foreign lands. The British Government came to rely on its Regular Army and Navy just as other European states did, despite a continuing tradition of opposition to a standing army. Each of the thirteen colonies, except for Pennsylvania where Quaker influence was dominant, enacted laws providing for a compulsory militia organization, generally based on the principle of the Saxon fyrd that every able-bodied free male from sixteen to sixty should render military service.
Loading, firing, and bayonet charge were all performed at command in a drill involving many separate motions. Firing, insofar as officers were able to maintain rigid discipline, was entirely by volley, the purpose being to achieve the greatest mass of firepower over a given area. htm (8 of 27) [2/20/2001 11:24:37 AM] Chapter 2 Individual, aimed fire, given the characteristics of the flintlock musket, was deemed to be of little value. Artillery was deployed in the line with the infantry, cavalry on the flanks or in the rear.