My current research focuses on the influence of past experience (“operational heritage”) on the systemic operational behavior and tactical subcultures of historical military organizations. My dissertation project, “Soldiers from Experience: The Evolution of Sherman’s Fifteenth Army Corps, 1862-65,” explores how the operational- and tactical-level functioning of a Union corps d’armée evolved over the course of the American Civil War as its command network and component regiments were indelibly shaped by, and collectively made sense of, their particular experiences on and off the battlefield during each successive campaign.

In the past, my research has also engaged with nineteenth-century American history topics beyond the purview of military history. My master’s thesis, “Egyptian Darkness: Antebellum Reconstruction and Southern Illinois in the Republican Imagination, 1854-1861,” focused on early Republican (1854-1860) plans to “reconstruct” and “Northernize” the poor white inhabitants of southern Illinois (“Egypt”) before the Civil War – an intellectual prelude to many of the same efforts later directed toward poor whites of the postwar South. Prior to this project, my undergraduate honor’s thesis, “Decidedly Unmilitary: The Roots of Social Order in the Union Army” examined how the simultaneous coexistence of conflicting individual motivations for service exhibited by members of a volunteer regiment, as well as the natural ebb and flow of those motivations over time, necessitated an adaptive leadership style by junior leaders in order to secure the obedience of subordinates.

More coming soon…