Hardee's ''Book of Tactics''

  • Tactic
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Perhaps no one volume of written Rules governing Military Tactics and Maneuvering, made such an impact at the start of America’s War Between The States, than an innocuous Manuel written by an enterprising American Infantry Officer by the name of William Hardee. His Book would go on to become the standard Infantry Training Manual for The United States Army from 1855 until American involvement in World War I in 1917. It is still considered “required” reading at The United States Military Academy (West Point). William Hardee was a West Point Graduate and served in both The 2nd Seminole War (Florida) and Mexican-American War. His abilities at organization and training of Small Units did not go unnoticed and he secured a Post as Tactics Instructor at The United States Military Academy at West Point (New York). So impressed with the overall change in Officer development, Secretary of War  (and later President of The Confederate States of America), Jefferson Davis asked Hardee to formally put down his observations and applied theories in Manual "form" in 1855. This would become “Hardee’s Light Infantry Tactics”.  With the start of hostilities which would become The American Civil War, Hardee (who was Southern), cast his lot with The Confederacy. Promoted to General, Hardee was assigned to The Army of The West. His Divisions fought in the majority of Western engagements between The North and South. His Book now doubt served it purpose, for The Western Confederate Armies were unstoppable during the early years of The Conflict.  Unlike China’s “The Art of War” or Ancient Rome’s “De Re Militari”, Hardee’s “Manual of Tactics” was more “to the point” with regards to the changing “face” of late 19th Century Small Unit Tactics. A fact that even had Hardee’s Book make it across The Atlantic into European Armies, as well. Even with more advanced technology which defines the parameters of “Modern” 21st Century battlefields, “Hardee’s Tactics” still resounds true after 152 years.