Every so often I like to delve into the pile of magazines that accumulate here at Government Book Talk world headquarters. It strikes me that some of them would be right at home in the periodicals rack of one of the big chain bookstores. Take the latest issue of Army History, for example. The folks at the Center of Military History do a fine job of producing a military history magazine that combines first-rate design and production values with well-researched yet readable articles on the Army’s history.
The lead article in the spring 2011 issue is “Foraging and Combat Operations at Valley Forge.” The author, Ricardo A. Herrera points out the mythos of Valley Forge – martyred Continental soldiers virtuously starving while the sinful Brits feast and frolic in Philadelphia, and George Washington broods magnificently – has obscured the ongoing combat and reconnaissance patrols and foraging expeditions that kept that same army from disintegrating under the impact of adverse weather and supply conditions. His account of the great Forage of 1778, in which General Nathanael Greene commanded a force of almost 1,500 regulars and additional militia forces on a wide-ranging effort to corral any available supplies from the farms of Pennsylvania and new Jersey and destroy what could not be hauled away – both actions to deprive the British foragers of those same supplies – made me look at the year of Valley Forge in a whole new way.
I was particularly interested in the New Jersey segment of the Great Forage, led by General Anthony Wayne. Far from being “Mad Anthony,” Wayne led a relatively successful effort to seize supplies and spar with enemy forces while keeping a really rash cavalry officer – Casimir Pulaski – from getting himself and his men killed through impetuous charges. Some of the action occurred in a part of the state we drive through every summer on the way to the Jersey shore – the next time I’m in the Evesham/Mount Laurel area, I’ll have to inquire about this campaign.
There’s much more in this issue – an account of the repression of Filipino revolutionaries inSamar during the Philippine Insurrection, as well as several book reviews. At least one of the reviews, on the post-World War II war crimes trial of the German general Albert “Smiling Albert” Kesselring almost had me reaching for my credit card on the spot.
You can read this issue here, get a subscription here, or find issues in a library. Trust me, if you’re a military history scholar or buff, you’ll find something of interest in every issue – I sure do.