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By Brevet Maj. Gen. EMORY UPTON, United States Army.
In preparing General Upton's manuscript for publication the editors have found it necessary to eliminate certain portions extraneous to the author's subject as well as the numerous repetitions which an unrevised manuscript is almost certain to contain. It is particularly unfortunate that the author's untimely death in the midst of his literary work should have prevented the completion of his treatise on the Nation's military policy to include the entire Rebellion, as well as to give the chapters already written the benefit of his personal revision.
A chapter on the military laws of Virginia, another on Confederate military appropriations, and a third on the military policy of Rome, have been omitted entire, but nothing has been excluded or eliminated from the published work which, in the judgment of the editors, would not have been cheerfully sanctioned by the distinguished author could he have been consulted in the matter.
In an address delivered at the laying of the corner stone of the Army War College building in Washington, on the 21st of February, 1903, the Secretary of War said:
No better illustration of the necessity of such an institution as this, and of a General Staff to make its work effective, can be found than in the fate which befell the work of a soldier to whose memory I wish to pay honor to-day-Brevet Maj. Gen. Emory Upton, Colonel of the Fourth Artillery. Graduated from West Point in the year 1860, he became while almost a boy one of the most distinguished officers of the civil war.
He commanded successively a battery of artillery, a regiment of infantry, a brigade of infantry, a brigade of artillery, and a division of cavalry. Constantly in the field, he exhibited in camp and march and in scores of battles dauntless and brilliant courage, strict and successful discipline, and the highest qualities of command. Professor Michie, revered authority, said of him:
“No one can read the story of his brilliant career without concluding that he had a real genius for war, together with all the theoretical and practical knowledge which any one could acquire in regard to it. He was the equal, if not the superior, of Hoche, Desaix, or Skobeleff in all the military accomplishments and virtues, and up to the time when he was disabled by the disease which caused his death he was, all things considered, the most accomplished soldier in our service. His life was pure and upright, his bearing chivalric and commanding, his conduct modest and unassuming, and his character absolutely without blemish. History can not furnish a brighter example of unselfish patriotism, or of ambition unsullied by an ignoble thought or an unworthy deed."
After the close of the civil war he addressed himself to the task of interpreting the lessons of that war to his countrymen for the improvement of our military system. Of his own motion he devised a new system of tactics, which being capable of adoption by a simple military order, was adopted, and revolutionized the tactics of the Army. On the recommendation of General Sherman he was sent around the world with two associate officers to study the armies of Europe and Asia, and upon his return he made a report which gave the results of all his accumulated experience and observation. He recommended the three-battalion formation in cavalry and in fantry regiments. He recommended interchangeable service in staff and line as against the permanent staff departments. He recommended examination as a condition to promotion. He recommended the establishment of a General Staff, and he recommended the general and systematic extension of military education.
His recommendations had behind them all the prestige of his brilliant military career. They had the advocacy and support of the great soldier who then commanded the American armies, General Sherman. They embodied the practical lessons of the civil war and the results of military science throughout the world. Yet his voice was as the voice of one crying in the wilderness. The Government did not even print his report, but with those of his associates it was filed in manuscript and forgotten among the millions of documents in the archives of the War Department, a General Upton subsequently printed the report himself for the benefit of the public through a private publisher: A copy may now and then be found at a second-hand bookstore.
a The report of Captain (now General) Sanger on the organization, administration, and material of the artillery of Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, China, and Persia was submitted to the Adjutant-General of the Army January 20, 1879.
General Sherman sent it to the Secretary of War with a letter of transmittal, in which he remarked: “I have not had sufficient time at my disposal to admit of my reading the manuscript in detail, but from what I have been able to gather from a hasty inspection of it, I am led to the belief that it contains matter of such importance to the military service that it ought to be published. The matter of the report is