History of the Organizational Development of the Continental Artillery during the American Revolution




The thesis of this study is that the Continental artillery in the American Revolution, despite its ad hoc beginning and wartime challenges, gradually developed into a professional organization by the end of the war. Rather than operational history of the organization, its focus is on the growth of the organization over time, in terms of its cultural beginnings, its doctrinal development, and the leadership and career paths of some of its middle ranking leaders. The first chapter lays out the structural framework and statutory authorizations for the organization. The second chapter describes its early cultural shift from its pre-war legacy of provincialism to a trajectory toward professionalism. This chapter uses a cultural analysis to argue that Washingtons decision to replace the aged Richard Gridley with Henry Knox as the commander of the Continental artillery ushered in a cultural shift away from an older provincial organizational culture to one that sought professionalism. The third chapter portrays the development of a battlefield tactical doctrine described in books that gradually took hold in informal ways. It takes a comparative theory and practice approach to argue that the kernel of an emerging doctrine existed in available European books and from those kernels, a consistent and effective doctrine developed over time. The fourth chapter uses a collective biographical approach to show organizational development in the careers of its middle ranking leaders. The concluding chapter summarizes findings and ties the professionalization of the corps of artillery to the military establishments of the new republic.



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