Journal of a graduate student in military history and the American Civil War

the wars

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At the writing of this introduction, I am in the third week of a core course, “Studies in U.S. Military History” which I’m taking in the Spring 2008 term (see “The Courses here for more detail on this an other courses). Since the reading started with colonial America, I’ve been introduced to a number of new wars – most fought early in the country’s history. As has been my practice on wigwags, I’m creating this page to log information I want to collect for reference and be able to obtain quickly. I’ll begin with a chronicle of America’s wars. I will add to it as I discover and have time to post. I may also create sub-pages to dive into each war in more detail. I have a bit of catching up to do so won’t start “at the beginning” but rather where I am in my reading (War of 1812). If interested, please come back from time-to-time as I’ll hope to update regularly.

As my interest in the study of war has few bounds, I expect a branching out into wars of other countries as well.

America’s Wars

The Pequot War [1637-1638]

Pequot war

King Philip’s War [1675-1676]

The Colonial Wars [1689 – 1763]

King William’s War [1689 – 1697]

Queen Anne’s War [1701 – 1713]

Yamassee War [1715]

Began as a widespread revolt by the Creeks and Yamassees.

King George’s War [1744 – 1748]

French and Indian War aka the Great War for Empire [1756 – 1763]

The American Revolution [1763 – 1783]

Post-Revolutionary Era

Tripolitan War [1801 – 1805]

The Pasha of Tripoli threatened to unleash his pirates if he did not receive increased tribute which the United States had been paying since the 1780’s. The President (Thomas Jefferson) detested Barbary corsairs more than an expensive Navy, and in June 1801 he dispatched a small squadron under Commodore Rickard Dale with orders to “protect our commerce and chastise their insolence” if Tripoli declared war. Dale learned that the pasha had done so, but neither he nor Commodore Richard Morris, who arrived with a replacement squadron in 1802, was very aggressive, and they accomplishe dlettle. In 1803 Jefferson sent a third squadron under Commodore Edward Preble, who clamped a tight blockade on the city of Tripoli and subjected it to naval assaults that damaged the town, its fortifications, and enemy ships in the harbor. A forth squadron under Commodore Samuel Barron followed up Preble’s work with a combined land-naval expedition that forced the pasha to sign a peace treaty in June 1805. [FTCD,104-105]

War of 1812 [1812 – 1815]

President James Madison submitted a war message to Congress on June 1 and, after favorable votes of only 79-49 in the House and 19-13 in the Senate, signed it on June 18. [FTCD, 106]

The War of 1812 was fought on a number of fronts and definitely deserves a page of its own.
Battle between the frigates HMS Shannon and USS Chesapeake off Boston during the War of 1812; detail of a lithograph by J.C. Schetky.
Photo: Battle between the frigates HMS Shannon and USS Chesapeake off Boston during the War of 1812; detail of a lithograph by J.C. Schetky.

Creek War [1813-1814]

Andrew Jackson became a hero after winning this war, “a conflict in which he was virtually an independent warloard, often acting on his own authority and sometimes contrary to the secretary of war’s orders.” [FTCD, 116]
In 1813 a large portion of the Creek nation, seizing the opportunity presented by the Americans’ war with England, went on the warpath and killed more than 200 whites at Fort Mims, Alabama. With concertrated loathing the entire Southwest struck back. [FTCD, 116]

The Black Hawk War [ April – August, 1832]

Sac Indians, lead by aging chief Black Hawk, tried to return across the Mississippi to their lands from which they had been banished in Illinois believing they had support from the British and other Indians. When they discovered that they didn’t, they tried to surrender three times but were ignored. The “war” ended at the “Battle of Bad Axe,” with the slaughter of Indian men, women, and children. [FTCD, 142] Abraham Lincoln fought in this war.

The Second Seminole War [December, 1835 – August, 1842]

The American army’s longest and most costly Indian war, Seminole Indians settled in Florida fought with escaped slaves. A summer campaign led by Colonel William J. Worth kept the Indians from planting and harvesting crops and their population dwindled from 5000 to 250, leading to the war’s end. Over 10,000 regulars and 30000 citizen-soldiers served during the war suffering more than 1,500 deaths and costing $20 million. The goal of removal was not achieved.

The Mexican War [1846 – 1848]

“…The only American war to inform the generation of officers who fought the Civil War.” [Hagerman, 14]

Total Servicemembers……………………………….78,718
Battle Deaths……………………………………………1,733
Other Deaths in Service……………………………..11,550
Non-mortal Woundings………………………………..4,152

The American Civil War [1861 – 1865]

Total U.S. Servicemembers (Union)…………..2,213,363
Battle Deaths (Union)………………………………140,414
Other Deaths (In Theater) (Union)………………..224,097
Non-mortal Woundings (Union)…………………..281,881
Total Servicemembers (Conf.) (note 2) ………..1,050,000
Battle Deaths (Confederate) (note 3) ………………74,524
Other Deaths (In Theater) (Confed.) (note 3, 4)……59,297
Non-mortal Woundings (Confed.) ……………..Unknown

The Spanish American War [1898 – 1902]

World War I [1917 – 1918]

World War II [1941 – 1945]

Korean War [1950 – 1953]

Vietnam War [1964 – 1975]

Desert Shield/Desert Storm [1990 -1991]


[FTCD] Allan R. Millett and Peter Maslowski, For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America, (New York: The Free Press, 1994).Edward Hagerman, The American Civil War and the Origins of Modern Warfare: Ideas, Organization, and Field Command (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988).

Statistics from the Department of Veteran Affairs
DVA Notes:
1. Exact number is unknown. Posted figure is the median of estimated
range from 184,000 – 250,000.
2. Exact number is unknown. Posted figure is median of estimated
range from 600,000 – 1,500,000.
3. Death figures are based on incomplete returns.
4. Does not include 26,000 to 31,000 who died in Union prisons.
5. Estimate based upon new population projection methodology.
6. Covers the period 8/5/64 – 1/27/73 (date of cease fire)
7. Department of Defense estimate
8. Covers period 11/1/55 – 5/15/75
9. Excludes 150,332 not requiring hospital care
10.VA estimate does not include those still on active duty and may
include veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Written by Rene Tyree

May 3, 2008 at 5:33 pm

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