Jomini at the Point

20 07 2010

The other day I posted an observation on Facebook.  It didn’t generate much conversation, so I thought I’d see what it attracts here:

I was watching Dr. Carol Reardon on PCN [Gettysburg College Civil War Institute talks from Summer 2010 Conference] talk about West Point in 1860. Glad to see her confirm what I’ve long suspected – that Jomini was not as respected or preferred at the Academy as we have been led to believe. After I finished his book [The Art of War used as a textbook] all I could think was “What’s the rumpus?”

The faculty at West Point had problems with Jomini. In fact, one of the reasons they used his textbook was that they already had it, and getting a different one was not in the budget.

Another interesting point raised in the 1860 study conducted by Jefferson Davis’ War Dept was that that cadets rarely continued study of military theory after graduation – almost never, actually.  So, were grads – like Lee – who were not students when Jomini was being studied very familiar with him?

 I feel like historians spend way too much time considering the influence of Jomini and far too little considering the writings/teachings of Halleck and Mahan. But what do I know?