Senior leaders participate in Williamsburg staff ride
September 24, 2010
Senior Leaders Take Williamsburg Staff Ride
Approximately 25 senior leaders from the Army Contracting Command and Expeditionary Contract Command participated in a staff ride to Williamsburg, VA, Sept. 9-10.
Jeff Parsons, Army Contracting Command, executive director, and Brig. Gen. Joe Bass, Expeditionary Contracting Command, commanding general, led the team building visit to the Revolutionary War battlefield of Yorktown, Va., and the colonial town of Williamsburg. The Army staff ride combines studying a battle or campaign from history by travelling to the site where it took place and examining how the decisions and outcomes of that battle affect today's operations. This trip provided the group a first-hand opportunity to understand and appreciate the birth of American wartime contracting and the role it played in the battle that sealed the victory over British forces.
Although Gen. George Washington's soldiers suffered numerous military setbacks during the six and one-half year war of independence, they persevered and were able, with the help of the French army and navy, to trap and defeat a British force on the Yorktown peninsula. On Oct. 17, 1781, Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered his army to a combined force of Americans and French, led by Washington and French Gen. Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau. As a result, the British Parliament forced King George to end the war.
The American victory at Yorktown would not have been possible without the purchase and pre-positioning of food, horses and services essential to sustain the 600 mile southern movement of the combined American and French army marching from New York to the Virginia battlefield. Beginning in August 1781, these allied forces marched day and night to reach their objective. Continental Army contracting officers and appointed civilian officials secured the necessary supplies ahead of the marching armies from citizen merchants, farmers and livestock owners. Many providers were paid with special war certificates or promissory notes that would not be redeemed for years by the new American government.
Timothy Orr, Ph.D., Old Dominion University, provided an evening presentation for the group adding a lesson on state politics during the Civil War. Orr provided an insight into the interaction of Pennsylvania troops and the Pennsylvania state gubernatorial campaigns of 1862 and 1864. His presentation focused on the disenfranchisement of the Pennsylvania soldiers and their attempts to influence the campaigns through letters to friends and family and "regimental resolutions" printed in newspapers voicing their dislike of Copperhead candidates. Orr presented a Civil War topic seldom discussed. He offered an important lesson enlightening the development of the Army, federal and state governments, and the rights of the deployed soldier.