That's what came through to him as reported in his post "Jomini at the Point" and I would say that's what has come through to her marketing department. The text of her book (With a Sword in One Hand) is somewhat more circumspect.
Harry and his commenters were wondering about the basis of the belief in Jomini's influence. I have touched on that ever so briefly in a previous post, recapping Reardon's mentions of T. Harry Williams, Weigley and others. However, Reardon owed us a complete review of the relevant literature and failed to deliver. The literature runs very deep and is too big for the scope of this post.
Carol Reardon may be aware that a certain James McPherson had made a statement in his never updated Battle Cry of Freedom:
There is little evidence that Jomini's writings influenced Civil War strategy in a direct or tangible way; the most successful strategist of the war, Grant, confessed to having never read Jomini.In any normal work of history, this would earn a footnote naming some studies to support the assertion. As it is, he left the matter to others (now Reardon), and she, taking his assertion to heart, has produced her flawed book years later.
At the heart of this influence issue is D.H. Mahan, his coursework at West Point, and his Napoleon Club seminar. Mahan was Jominian. Again, this calls for a separate post of some length, but let me briefly quote from a Department of Defense syllabus:
Lesson 5, Naval Theory: Mahan and CorbettMahan the elder's Jominianism is a given that is taught to students today. Another quote from the same source:
Mahan—a pillar of the new Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and an Admiral—was the son of Dennis Hart Mahan, a well-known teacher at West Point. Like his father, Mahan was ardently Jominian: [the younger] Mahan’s books applied Jominian principles to naval warfare.
Lesson 3, Classical Theorists: Clausewitz and Jomini, covers the theories of these two officers (Baron Antoine Henri Jomini and General Carl von Clausewitz) who had a tremendous impact on the conduct of war in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Military thought throughout the 19th century and into the early 20th century was dominated by their writings.That was just for fun.
The engines of D.H. Mahan's influence were his courses and his off-hours seminar, The Napoleon Club. I want to quote from the memoirs of Dabney H. Maury on this club to illustrate a broader point. Here is the first part, which you have seen before:
... best of all was the Napoleon Club. Professor Mahan was president of this, and gave out the Napoleon campaigns to be discussed by each member. Six weeks' time was allowed to prepare the paper. We had ample authorities, both French and English, at our disposal in the library, and worked diligently on our papers. The campaign of Waterloo, by Lieutenant B.S. Alexander, was considered one of the best discussions ever made of that notable defeat of Bonaparte. The campaign of Russia, by G.W. Smith and of Wagram, by McClellan, showed marked ability.
(Someday, some publisher will print the Napoleon Club papers written by Civil War generals but that day will likely come only after the first-ever McDowell biography is published and after we finally see a book about McClellan's extensive employment of Lincoln on Illinois Central legal business.)
Meanwhile, note that the papers are compiled under the influences of "authorities." Jomini is fungible! The neo-Jominians added to the original equal various "authorities" ... except that at West Point, the greatest authority is the Jominian Mahan himself. Here is another quote from Maury:
Years afterward he [Mahan] made up for it [a slight] one night in the Napoleon Club, of which I have said he was president. He came cordially up to me after I had finished reading my paper on the Italian campaign of 1796, grasped my hand with real pleasure and said, "I congratulate you Maury. You have discussed your subject in the very spirit of that Italian campaign."Maury goes away thinking he, Smith, McClellan, et al, have got a real line on Napoleon.
The absence of Jomini in this passage is important. Mahan's approach was to was to teach Napoleon, not Jomini. He did not distinguish between Jomini and Napoleon - Jomini's interpretation was Napoleon. He did not insert himself. the kids were not learning Mahan, either. Students learning Napoleon thought they were learning Napoleon.
Jomini himself did not deal in any kind of Jominianism, he was a seeker of universal truths and presented his insights as universal to the art of war based on the experience of the Napoleonic era (and updated throughout his life).
To bring the point closer to home, the general reader of McPherson has not bargained for some kind of McPhersonism but expects universal truths about the Civil War. This is why publishers have had such trouble building support for McPherson's lesser, recent works. McPherson's fans do not expect an idiosyncratically McPhersonesque view of this or that ACW matter. They paid for the big book, they read it, they're done. See ya.
If I tell them here or socially that they are McPhersonites (or Centennialists), indignation is the natural response. They did not pay money and spend hours reading in order to become members of some school of thought.
By the same token, readers of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc., are not investing time to become advocates of a particular economic theory, political viewpoint, or the latest goofy science fad - they become advocates of these through the accident of paying for general information and receiving something else.
So, if you met a McPherson fan at a party and talked ACW, he would not say, "McPherson says so and so as opposed to Archer Jones who maintains thus and such." He would say, "This is the deal, here's how it happened" and "I know," because that is what he paid an authority to give him. Note that this would put a burden on you and I as hearers to trace the content back to McPherson to "prove" McPhersonist content in the conversation.
So it is with Jomini and his ACW readers. They did not read Jomini to affiliate with some brand styled "Jomini," they did not posit Jomini's points of difference against other thinkers, they read Jomini to reach universal, general understanding about military theory. They themselves made statements about war, the principles of war, theories of war, without reference to any authority and these statements tend to be Jominian.
Over time, as authors influenced by Jomini published their own works, there could be a Jominian core in their messages with admixtures of whatnot. This leads to the kind of problem bedevilling Reardon's book. "Officers als read so and so." A literature review requires the elements in "so and so" to be separated to tag content as primary or derivative.
For example, I saw a writer on the Web actually say that, so and so read not only Jomini but also Denis Hart Mahan's book. (Its title, I give in full: AN ELEMENTARY TREATISE ON ADVANCED-GUARD, OUT-POST, AND DETACHMENT SERVICE OF TROOPS, AND THE MANNER OF POSTING AND HANDLING THEM IN PRESENCE OF AN ENEMY WITH A HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF TACTICS, &c. &c. INTENDED AS A SUPPLEMENT TO THE SYSTEM OF TACTICS ADOPTED FOR THE MILITARY SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ESPECIALLY FOR THE USE OF OFFICERS OF MILITIA AND VOLUNTEERS.)
This is remarkably naive, for "Much of Outpost is rooted in Antoine Henri Jomini’s interpretation of Napoleon." The best we can say in favor of this apparently ignorant comment is that no one seems to have done the research to deparate Mahan per se from Jomini.
And here's a lick on me. I always assumed that Halleck's Elements of Military Art and Science were hackwork rehashes of Jomini. The book is actually a stew of attributed military quotes from various sources. However, Halleck exercised his own discretion and framework in choosing the quotes. Hello influence. He says, "All the above [sources] are works of merit; but none are more valuable to the military man than the military histories of Jomini and Kausler..."
Jomini content is worth indexing in these old general military works.
Meanwhile, we may see more Jomini scepticism while we congratulate each other per Maury's misunderstanding: "You have discussed your subject in the very spirit of that [universal value]!"
CORRECTION (5/24/12): In an earlier version of this post, I had referred to Reardon as a student of James McPherson. This has been excised. The only known published graduate students of McPherson identified to date in this blog are Catherine Clinton and Tom Carhart.