In 1855, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis dispatched Maj. Richard Delafield, Maj. Alfred Mordecai, and Capt. George B. McClellan to the battlefields of Crimea to observe the European military in action. American military commanders had studied European armies before, but the Delafield Commission was the most ambitious military observation mission up to that time, and the first to observe an on-going war. Although historically underrated, the commission and the members' reports constituted an important step in the development of U.S. military professionalism. In The Delafield Commission and the American Military Profession, Matthew Moten is the first to explore in detail this connection between the commission and military professionalization. Moten begins with an overview of the definition of military professionalism and what other scholars have said about when and why American military professionalism developed. Part One examines the U.S. Military Academy, the development of the army officer corps, and the influence of the West Point "system and habit of thought" on the antebellum army. The second section follows the actions of the Delafield Commission and places the commission in the context of the military profession of the 1850s. The final section analyzes the commission's reports and their effects on the American military profession. Here, Moten assesses what the commissioners saw and wrote, as well as what they did not see and write.
The Delafield Commission and the American Military Profession provides in-depth analysis to military historians and other readers interested in the development of the professional army in antebellum America.
Matthew Moten, a U.S. Army lieutenant, received his Ph.D. in history from Rice University. A graduate from West Point, he has served in armor and armored cavalry units in Europe and the United States, taught history at the Military Academy, been a military advisor in Kuwait, and served as a congressional strategist for the army. He is currently a speechwriter for the Chief of Staff, Army.