The Wandering Army: The Campaigns that Transformed the British Way of War
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
6:30 P.M. ET
Anderson House | Free Admission
In 1774, Gen. Henry Clinton embarked on a “martial grand tour,” visiting the battlefields of Europe with his friend, the military theorist Henry Lloyd. What the two observed on their travels would change the British approach to the war that broke out in North America the following year. From his practical and theoretical study of military history Clinton had concluded that battles should only be fought when decisive political objectives could be achieved, but he instead realized that armies should be used to maneuver their adversaries into positions of disadvantage. For his beliefs, Clinton found himself in direct conflict with his superiors during the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, but when he assumed command in 1778, he found himself bereft of the resources needed to execute such complex campaigns of maneuver. The resulting strategic defeats and the loss of the American colonies appeared to prove Clinton’s approach wrong, but in the years following the Revolutionary War, the British learned much from their experiences which caused gradual and distinct changes in the British way of war. Drawn from his research using archival sources housed in the Society of the Cincinnati’s library collections as one of our 2019 fellows, historian Huw Davies challenges the existing consensus that the eighteenth-century British army was an amateur and unprofessional organization while demonstrating that its officers and soldiers took the profession of arms seriously.
This talk will be held in-person at Anderson House and will last approximately 45 minutes. Registration is requested. Virtual options are available.