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America at War

Explore the rich history of our past through the lens of our military institutions. From the settlement of North America to the present, this podcast not only encompasses traditional military history and goes the extra step to address the evolution of ideas and institutions. Join us!
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Now displaying: Category: American Military History
Dec 14, 2019

In this episode, we continue the narrative dealing with Winfield Scott's campaign to capture Mexico City. In the previous episode, we focused on  the capture of a base of operations at Vera Cruz, on the Gulf Coast. After securing the city, Scott began his advance through the highlands of eastern Mexico. General Santa Anna chose a place called Cerro Gordo to stop the American advance. Faced with a strong defensive position, in a bold flanking march, Scott unhinged the position, making an assault on Mexico City inevitable.

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

Dec 1, 2019

General Winfield Scott's march on Mexico City was the crowning moment of the entire war with Mexico. Unable to compel the Mexican government to the negotiation table, President Polk approved Scott's plan to advance on Mexico's capital. It was a bold move, but fraught with risk. Nevertheless, after meticulous planning, Scott's forces besieged the city of Veracruz, capturing it at the end of March, 1847. Once this base was secure, Scott made preparations to march west, into the highlands and, ultimately, Mexico City. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

Nov 20, 2019

In the aftermath of Zachary Taylor's capture of the city of Monterrey, Taylor's force became an army of occupation. Taking advantage of the lull, Santa Anna raised an army and at the beginning of 1847 attacked. The battle of Buena Vista was the only time the Mexican Army took the offensive. In spite of being outnumbered, Taylor prevailed. Unable to bring Mexican officials to the negotiation table, President Polk turned his eyes south. Enlisting General Winfield Scott, Polk began planning for a march on Mexico City. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

Nov 6, 2019

As Zachary Taylor advanced across the Rio Grande river and fought the Mexicans at Palo Alto and Reseca de la Palma, other American columns advanced into what would become New Mexico and California. Stephen Kearny led a column from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to San Diego, an impressive feat. Kearny, in cooperation with the US navy, was able to defeat a rebellion and consolidate the American hold along the Pacific coast. Take a listen! 

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

 

Oct 14, 2019

We began our series on the Mexican-American War in our last episode, speaking to the origins of the conflict. In this episode we speak to the opening moves by Zachary Taylor in Texas. Mexican forces endeavored to push Taylor back by cutting his supply line; Taylor wanted to establish a bridge head on the Rio Grande. They clashed. The battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma ensued. Taylor won the day, triggering the formal declaration of war against Mexico and the mobilization of volunteers for service in Mexico. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

 

Oct 2, 2019

Until the opening of the Civil War, the United States' war with Mexico dominated the middle of the nineteenth century. President James Polk agitated for land concessions from not only Mexico in Texas, but from Great Britain in the Pacific Northwest. Not willing to fight a two front war, cooler heads prevailed in adjudicating the occupation of the northwest. Not so in Mexico. Polk's adoption of a bellicose and antagonistic policy toward Texas, made war nearly inevitable. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

Sep 7, 2019

I have a special relationship with Davy Crockett. This short, bonus episode relates how my Grandfather, Thomas Wakefield Blackburn, created a cultural phenomenon.

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

Sep 7, 2019

As we turn to the war with Mexico, it seems appropriate to set the stage with Texas' war of independence. After centuries of Spanish rule, Mexico won its independence. Struggling in the aftermath to create a civil culture, rather than provide a degree of autonomy to Texas, the country would instead be governed by central rule. Texas, led by Euro-American settlers, rebelled. While at first successful, the leader of Mexico, General Santa Anna thought otherwise. Various attempts to repulse the Mexican advance were defeated with disastrous results. Regardless, the Texans prevailed, setting up the circumstances for a clash with the United States. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

Aug 12, 2019

One of the most infamous incidents of the pre-Civil War antebellum period was the removal of the Cherokees and other southeastern tribes to 'Indian Country' in present day Oklahoma. President Andrew Jackson wanted to free the trans-Mississippi west for the United States. Pandering to the southern states as well as exercising his executive authority, he was able to secure legislation that enabled the removal of the Cherokees from their homeland. While Jackson was stymied by the Seminoles in Florida, he largely got his way, creating a precedent that would continue until the end of the century. Please take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

 

Jul 25, 2019

In this episode we move away from reform to the Army's chief duty - policing the frontier. We speak to the Creek and Seminole clashes in the southeast and the so-called Black Hawk War in the upper reaches of the old northwest. The army's role as a police force would last for most of the nineteenth century and would define its role in the twentieth century. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

Jun 17, 2019

In this episode we take a brief look at what the U.S. Navy. Propelled by its successes against British ships, the navy grew in the aftermath of the War of 1812. While this ardor for a larger navy was tempered by time, the officers and ships had established a solid reputation for professionalism and fighting spirit as the nineteenth century unfolded. The navy served American foreign policy by showing the flag around the world and aggressively pursuing American interests. In Central and South America, naval officers intervened when the circumstances called for gunboat diplomacy. The navy also struggled with the challenges of building a professional officers corps and the evolution of steam technology. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 271-8135. Thanks for listening!

Jun 2, 2019

In this episode, we continue and conclude our discussion on the professionalization of the U.S. Army. As the nineteenth century progressed, we continue to see the development of a professional officers corps and the maturation of the U.S. military academy at West Point. By the beginning of the Civil War, the officers corps had, for the most part, a common identity. While the rise of Jacksonian democracy attacked the notion of a professional officers corps, it nonetheless survived. We also touch on the rise of the volunteer militia and a taste of what it was like to serve in the army during this time period. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

May 10, 2019

One of the key developments of the nineteenth century was the rise of the professional soldier. While the United States ha d a tradition of using citizen soldiers, the first decades of the nineteen century saw the rise of officers who could be recognized as professional soldiers. Educated at the military academy at West Point, the officers who started their careers in the decades after the War of 1812 exhibited all of the characteristics of a professional. In this episode, we explore this trend. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

Apr 18, 2019

Of the many developments that occurred in the post-1812 Army was the growth of a domestic arms industry. With the founding of the Republic in 1787, government arsenals in Springfield, MA and Harper's Ferry, VA, were established, providing the Army with a set of dedicated manufacturing facilities devoted to small arms. Entrepreneur and inventor Eli Whitney was able to introduce and refine his production system which manufactured small arms with machine tools, allowing for the standardization of parts and processes. It was an important time. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

Apr 2, 2019

John C. Calhoun wanted change. He not only advocated for an expansable army, but made initiated significant reforms in how the Army would be commanded in the field as well as its supply and administration. The office of the commanding general was created as well as various bureaus that managed the supply of the army in the field and its administration. While these reforms were critical in professionalizing the Army, they were less than perfect and, in some minds, would create more problems than solve. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

Feb 25, 2019

One of the key missions of the U.S. Army in the nineteenth century was garrisoning the coastal defenses along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. John C. Calhoun initiated what today we know as the Third System of fortifications. This brief episode provides a broad overview of this critical mission, exploring the comprehensive planning required to protect the important commercial and population centers along the country's coastline. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

Feb 20, 2019

In the aftermath of the War of 1812, John C. Calhoun was appointed Secretary of War. He took a close look at the performance of the U.S. Army during the War of 1812 and absorbed its lessons. He reorganized the staff in his office to make the administrative functions more efficient. Moreover, he advocated for a plan to allow the army to expand and contract in its manpower during emergency. While the plan was not enabled by Congress, his ideas continued to resonate throughout the nineteenth century. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

Feb 7, 2019

The War of 1812 is done. In this episode we summarize the war and its legacy.  In a sense, it solved nothing. The end of the war in Europe had a greater effect than American arms in persuading the British to end their onerous policies. It also marks a jumping off point for the rest of the nineteenth century up to the beginning of the Civil War. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

Feb 1, 2019

The last year of the war, 1815, saw some success and failures for both the British and the Americans. The Americans had some success on the northern border, fighting some of the bloodiest battles of the entire war. While they fought the British to a stalemate, it showed how far the Americans had come. In spite of these successes, British naval power allowed them to land in the Chesapeake and attack the nation's capital, burning many of the public buildings to the ground. In contrast, the British attack on Baltimore failed. In the end, it is fair to say that after several years of war, they fought themselves to a draw. Peace negotiations, in the meantime, had advanced to the point of a agreeing to a provisional treaty, but not before the final British attack took place at New Orleans. A busy year. A useless war? You decide.

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

 

Jan 14, 2019

1814 would prove to be the last full year of the war. In spite of the British being able to devote more resources to North America with the defeat (albeit temporary) of Napoleon, the war continued to drag on. On the northern front, Americans saw success early in the year, but were pushed back by the British. By the fall of 1814, the campaign could best be described as a draw. To the south, given British mastery of the sea, British forces were able to successfully raid the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., but they were repulsed in Baltimore. Please take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

 

Jan 1, 2019

Happy New Year dear listeners! A short summary of what happened in 2018 and what to expect in 2019!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

Dec 29, 2018

1813 started out well for the United States. With a resounding victory on Lake Erie, the campaigns on Lake Ontario, while starting well, ended in disaster. Due to poor planning and incompetent leadership, the initial gains on the Canadian side of the border opposite of Detroit were lost. Similarly, on the high seas, the United States Navy could not replicate the successes it had had the previous year. The only success, at least from the Army's perspective, was against the native peoples of the Ohio Valley and along the border with Florida. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

Dec 8, 2018

If 1812 was characterized as a year of American disappointments, 1813 was a year of victories and opportunities. The Americans were able to defeat Tecumseh and his British allies at the Battle of the River Thames and Oliver H. Perry decisively defeated the British squadron at the Battle of Lake Erie. We will also take some time to finish up our discussion on the naval war of 1812, switching gears and talking about the iron men who crewed these wooden ships. Enjoy!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

Nov 18, 2018

1812 was not a kind year for the United States. All of the campaigns in the border regions between the United States and British Canada had failed. The only bright spot was the war at sea. Britannia may have ruled the waves, but the frigates of the United States Navy gave the Admiralty pause. The USS Constitution in particular made a name for herself in the fall of 1812, defeating two British frigates over the course of several months. While these victories did not spell doom for the royal navy's sovereignty over the seven seas, it did plant some seeds of doubt. Join us in understanding the importance of these victories in 1812.

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

Oct 30, 2018

After war was declared, Canada beckoned. The Americans, decided for a multi-pronged approach to the campaign of 1812. Henry Dearborn decided that an attack against Montreal, British fortifications across from Detroit and the Niagara River would compel the British back to the negotiation table. Unfortunately, rather than a quick victory, the Americans were repulsed at every turn, symptomatic of the lack of realistic planning and an uneven mobilization. Take a listen!

Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/americaatwarpodcast/. Leave your questions on voicemail at (253) 642-6535. Thanks for listening!

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