Robert E. Lee

The military of the United States has long studied and taught leadership to its officers and non commissioned officers.

It recognized that some soldiers instinctively have good leadership traits, but most others need schooling to develop traits and techniques of leadership.

Even the “born Leader” needs schooling to sharpen and develop his skills.

A web search recently on “Leadership, principles” returned 7,330,000 hits.

That’s a good bit more than we can go into today, so distilling the ideas to their essence will give us some strong medicine indeed.


The Army lists eleven principles;

  1. Be tactically and technically proficient
  2. Know yourself and seek self improvement
  3. Know your soldiers and look after their welfare
  4. Keep your soldiers informed
  5. Ensure a task is understood, supervised and accomplished
  6. Train your soldiers as a team
  7. Make sound and timely decisions
  8. Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates
  9. Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities
  10. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions
  11. Set the example.

Ulysses S. Grant

It is not hard to convert the military language into civilian words, so there is no point in rewriting them. Let’s see what they are doing with this line up.

I personally think this is a sort of mish mash, it combines exhortation with tasks. In the first one we are exhorted to be all we can be by learning the basic knowledge required by our job.

The next two tell you to get about doing number one, and while  you are at it, you need to get to know who you work with and you need to treat them right.

I am not sure Number four is not already a par to number three.  Then there is more about how to do your job right down to the end.

Perhaps we can work with this a bit to come up with an easily remembered formulation. Let’s start out with this:

  1. Master the body of knowledge intrinsic to your profession by continued study and application
  2. Teach your subordinates everything you learn
  3. Demand that they employ the knowledge gained in their performance of duty
  4. Demand perfection in the performance of duty and use each needed correction to teach the principal behind the practice
  5. Accept responsibility for your own actions and those of your subordinates.
  6. Be fair, honest, just and impartial in your dealings and judgments of superiors, and subordinates.
  7. Be loyal to superiors and subordinates.
  8. Show respect for every person.
  9. Master fear
  10. Constantly evaluate and re-evaluate the situation your organization is in and adjust performance to new requirements.
  11. Be decisive but not hasty
  12. Meet your responsibilities to your superiors, your organization, and your subordinates.
  13. Love what you do and teach others to love it by doing it well.

In summary the last one sums it all up; Love what you do and who you do it with enough to do it well. Love your men enough to care for them and teach them so they can attain the standard of excellence necessary to bring everyone home, and in doing so each man who is with you is proud to say so.

Donald C. Bowman has published articles in service journals and contributed to Infantry Magazine. Miss Mary’s Honor Guard is his first novel. LTC (R) Donald C. Bowman was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame (RHOF) on July 27, 2011. He is also a participant in the Witness to War which preserves the oral histories of combat veterans.



Morgan’s Cavalry operated in a mixed environment. The population of Kentucky and Tennessee was mixed in its politics, with many supporting the Confederacy and others strong Union men. As his large command moved through the countryside civilians overheard conversations between soldiers talking among themselves and officers giving instructions or speculating about routes and objectives.

If any Union supporters were present, it was a foregone conclusion that they would pass on the information overheard to Federal units. Morgan was sensible enough to understand and to counter this threat.

He deliberately staged conversations between officers in the presence of civilians to plant false information with the listeners. He reckoned that officer provided information would be valued more highly than the rumors and scuttlebutt from troops in the ranks. He was right.

He also used Lightning Ellsworth, his expert telegrapher to cut into lines, and imitating the fist (the distinctive tempo and style of a telegrapher) of an operator on that circuit, to send false information.

"Lightning" Ellsworth

As soon as the transmission was complete, the line would be cut so the message could not be corrected by the person imitated until later when the line was repaired. Ellsworth also simply listened, some times, to pick up information about Union movements in response to Morgan’s own maneuvers. The operators never knew they had been eavesdropped on.

To further the deception, Morgan detached small parties to act as scouts near the false destinations. The scouts were always careful to be identified as Morgan’s men.

The triple presence of telegraph messages, scouts and field intelligence information from overheard conversations were considered strong indications that a particular place was a true objective for Morgan’s attack, when his real target was many miles away.

Hurrah for Dixie!

Donald C. Bowman has published articles in service journals and contributed to Infantry Magazine. Miss Mary’s Honor Guard is his first novel.  LTC (R) Donald C. Bowman was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame (RHOF) on July 27, 2011. He is also a participant in the Witness to War which preserves the oral histories of combat veterans.





Cavalry On The March

"Morgan's Raiders" led by Gen. John Hunt Morgan

Contrary to Hollywood, Cavalry on the march in the Civil War did not march in a tight packed column with the commander about ten yards out front; at least not the units commanded by men who lived a very long time. The formation spelled out in the tactics manual of the time could well have been written yesterday for our Army and Marines. It was necessary to provide security and early warning to prevent ambush, a surprise meeting with a large force or, when possible, observation by hostile scouts and patrols.

The standard formation for the head of the column was a two man point well out front. These two riders were followed at a distance by the rest of their platoon of about twenty men, The Advanced Party, who were positioned in easy supporting distance to rescue the point if they got into trouble, or to overwhelm a road block or party of the enemy discovered to be in the way.

The remainder of the lead company, The Advanced Guard, followed them in easy supporting distance, but far enough back to not be pinned down by an ambush or hostile force the point might run into. The ability of the Advanced Guard to maneuver and strike at the flanks of any smaller force in their way provided a measure of safety to the lonely men far ahead of the main body. They could also delay a hostile force making an immediate attack long enough for the whole column to deploy and brig its force to bear on the attacker.

Behind these men, along the sides of the column stretched along the road, each unit put out flanking parties to guard the column from a surprise from the flank. At the rear, a rear guard arranged in reverse, just like the point, advance party and advance guard protected the command from surprise attack from that quarter, and picked off anyone shadowing the column.

General John Hunt Morgan

To give an idea of how long such a column might be, and to understand the reasons for security pushed well out to the front and rear, allow ten feet of road space, front to rear, for each trooper and his horse. (This is a fairly tight and compact column. Many would take more space on a long march.) March the column in two files (two men abreast) on the relatively narrow roads of the time, and Morgan’s command on the way to Indiana at 2200 men would be 1100 ranks x 10 feet distance = a column 11,000 feet long. Add ten percent to the total column length for the distance between the regiments, battalions, and companies, plus artillery pieces and ammunition wagons, and you have a column 12,100 feet or about two and a quarter miles long.

If the column moved at a brisk walk of 4 miles per hour, it would take about an hour for the rear of the column to pass the same point the Advanced Guard had long since gone by. Or put another way, the rear Guard would arrive at camp an hour after the Advanced Guard had dismounted and watered their horses. A deployment for a fight at 10 or 12 miles per hour would take about ten to fifteen minutes. The early warning of strong enemy presence would be crucial to applying all of your power at once against an enemy, particularly against an enemy already deployed for battle, who was taking the head of your column under fire.

Hurrah for Dixie!

Donald C. Bowman has published articles in service journals and contributed to Infantry Magazine. Miss Mary’s Honor Guard is his first novel.  LTC (R) Donald C. Bowman was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame (RHOF) on July 27, 2011. He is also a participant in the Witness to War which preserves the oral histories of combat veterans.

LTC (R) Donald C. Bowman was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame (RHOF) on July 27, 2011. The ceremony took place at the Bill Heard Theater in Columbus, Georgia. He was one of twelve distinguished inductees for 2011.His first book, a novel set during the  Civil War era is entitled Miss Mary’s Honor Guard and was published in December of 2010 by Wheatmark.

The Ranger Hall of Fame was formed to honor and preserve the spirit and contributions of America’s most extraordinary Rangers. The members of the Ranger Hall of Fame Selection Board take particular care to ensure that only the most extraordinary Rangers are inducted, a difficult mission given the high caliber of all nominees. Their precepts are impartiality, fairness, and scrutiny. Inductees were selected impartially from Ranger units and associations representing each era or Ranger history. Each nominee was subjected to the scrutiny of the Selection Board to ensure the most extraordinary contributions are acknowledged.

The selection criterion is as unique as our Ranger history. To be eligible for selection to the Hall of Fame, a person must be deceased or have been separated, or retired from active military service for at least three years at the time of nomination. He must have served in a Ranger unit in combat or be a successful graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School. A Ranger unit is defined as those Army units recognized in Ranger lineage or history. Achievement or service may be considered for individuals in a position in state or national government after the Ranger has departed the Armed Forces.

Honorary induction may be conferred on individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Ranger units, the Ranger foundation, or the Ranger community in general, but who do not meet the normal criteria of combat service with a Ranger unit or graduation from the U.S. Army Ranger School.

Each inductee is presented with an engraved, specially cast bronze Ranger Hall of Fame medallion (shown above), suspended from a red, white and blue ribbon. The medal signifies selfless service, excellence and remarkable accomplishment in the defense of the nation and to the highest ideals of service.


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The Ranger Creed is the official mission statement of the United States Army Rangers, and is also adopted by Rangers in other armed forces around the world. It was initiated by then-LTC Leuer and his Command Sergeant Major Neal R. Gentry. It was re-drafted by the battalion XO, Major “Rock” Hudson and finalized at Ft Stewart, Georgia in 1974 when the original cadre deployed there on 1 July 1974. The last word in the first stanza is a result of the Battalions re-organization to Regimental.


Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment.

Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move farther, faster and fight harder than any other soldier.

Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be. One-hundred-percent and then some.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.

Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.

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