Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 - Page 105

BOOK REVIEWS warned in August 1944 when he argued, “there must not be a large standing army subject to the behest of a group of schemers. The citizen-soldier is the guarantee against such a misuse of power.” The military professional, who paradoxically prospers and languishes from the all-volunteer force, will embrace some of Bacevich’s conclusions, while simultaneously angering at others. The military reader should not merely cherry-pick those elements of Bacevich’s argument that seem to elevate the soldier, but also appreciate their role in this Faustian bargain. We often believe what is good for the military is good for the nation (or what is good for our individual service is good for the nation). Although institutional parochialism is often unavoidable, we must remain cognizant that we are here to serve the national interest and not vice-versa. Finally, America’s agonistic system of checks and balances must be fueled by meaningful debate among disagreeing parties. For too long, we have equated non-support for policy as non-support for the troops. Although as military professionals we cannot make policymakers responsible or the population more engaged, it behooves us to remember that sometimes the war protestor is our biggest ally and the hawk our greatest threat. Maj. David P. Oakley, U.S. Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas CAVALRY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION Edited by Jim Piecuch, Westholme Publishing, LLC, Yardley, PA, 2012, 281 pages, $29.95 im Piecuch’s Cavalry of the American Revolution is a fascinating collection of nine essays that visits the introduction and development of the cavalry during the American Revolution. The first essay, Gregory J.W. Urwin’s “The Continental Light Dragoons, 1776-83,” sets the stage for the subsequent essays, providing the reader with a comprehensive overview of the evolution of light cavalry and dragoons during the Revolutionary War. The remaining essays cover key milestones in the implementation and use of light cavalry and dragoons to include the efforts and exploits of Brig. Gen. Casimir Pulaski, Light Horse Henry Lee, and Col. Antony White, as well as decisive MILITARY REVIEW  July-August 2014 battles and campaigns such as the Battle of Cowpens and the Philadelphia Campaign. Throughout the reading I found myself gripped by two themes. The first is the belated recognition of the tactical value of a mounted force and its slow development and often catastrophic employment. The second theme is the American combination and use of guerrilla tactics and mounted raids against static British outposts that disrupted Maj. Gen. Cornwallis’s southern campaign and set the conditions for the American decisive victories at the battles of Cowpens and Yorktown. Gen. Washington’s view of the creation of American light cavalry and dragoon formations was similar to the contemporary argument that armor and cavalry formations are too costly and not compatible with today’s operational environment. Initially, Washington did not pressure the Continental Congress to resource a mounted force, opting instead for artillery to support his infantry regiments. Washington assumed that the restrictive New England terrain—with its hills, rivers, and densely forested areas—would neutralize the maneuver of a mounted force. He also believed that the cost of feeding horses and equipping a mounted force was not sustainable and that the Continental Congress could simply not afford it. Most important, Washington did not believe the cavalry would be of much use keeping the British pinned in port cities of Boston and New York. This tactical oversight put Washington’s operational plans at risk. Only after being driven out of New Jersey and New York by British Gen. Howe, aided by his two regiments of light dragoons, did Washington recognize the tactical relevancy of having his own mounted force. He petitioned Congress to field a cavalry force when he recommended the establishment of one or more corps. Michael Scoggins’ “South Carolina’s Backcountry Rangers in the American Revolution” covers the little known but frequent and bloody skirmishes between Tory Loyalists led by the infamous Lt. Col. Tarleton and partisan patriot’s led by brigadier generals Daniel Morgan, Francis Marion, and Thomas Sumter. These skirmishes are described as a part of a brutal civil war pitting Loyalists and American communities against one another throughout the Carolina back country. The essay also describes the change of American tactics after the fall of 103