Friday, November 29, 2013

"Old Fuss and Feathers"

Good article about Winfield Scott: The War Hero New York Forgot by Steven Malanga, City Journal Autumn 2013

Easy to look at that nickname and see him as some kind of overly-excitable, white-glove-inspection martinet, but his insistence on discipline, on developing the US Military Academy at West Point into an institution to develop professional officers, and his writing of the General Regulations for the United States Army published in 1821 were critical in the US Army's ability to evolve into a professional force that could explore and survey a continent, and go from a small,wide-spread frontier constabulary to a large modern industrialized Army in a relatively short time. (Not that there were no teething troubles there...)

One of the things worth noting about General Scott is that, a son of the South, he stood with the Union during the War Between The States; in fact, he commanded the Army during it (the position we today call the Chief of Staff), and devised the strategy that eventually led to the defeat of the South, the "Anaconda Plan." As for that "Fuss and Feathers" nickname, well, General Patton, too, was known to be a bit strict when it came to shaves and haircuts and polished boots and things, but no one ever considered him to be a wuss when it came to fighting battles.

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