Impact of the Civil War on Present Day Logistics

Impact of the Civil War on Present Day Logistics


The American Civil War might have been the most brutal battles that any nation has ever fought and the outcome of the war still negatively affects many people. Despite the shortcomings of the Civil War, there is some aspect of the war such as logistics that organizations can borrow today and implement in their operations to become successful.  In the American Civil War, logistics entailed the movement of weapons and supplies to the battlefields to ensure the troops had a sufficient amount to facilitate their fight and win. However, in the present days, logistics primarily involves the management of activities and products from their point of production until they reach the final consumer. Just like the leaders of the military the American Civil War employed the use of logistics for the successful outcome of military operations, this paper emphasizes on how the modern day organizations also apply logistics in their service to become successful and gain a competitive advantage.










Impact of the Civil War on Present Day Logistics

The American Civil War demonstrated the use of logistics in serving the military to be successful in the battlefields. The term logistics was most used in the battle field s as an art of war which involved the application of tactics and strategies by the military troops to ensure they win the battle. The concept developed as due to the rising need of the military supplies and weapon in the battlefield to facilitate their fight. Badea (2007) defines logistics by NATO as the science of planning and assuring the military that they will have an efficient flow of goods and services to the military forces. Logistics thus played a significant role in the success of military operations.

During the American Civil War, logistics did not only involve supplying the military with their requirements, but a lot of activities also took place. These activities are signing of contracts with the suppliers to get the right materials for the military, organizing for the sustenance of the military troop, availability of healthcare practitioners to treat wounded and sick military men, and arranging for the transport system to transport the products to the soldiers. The most modern organization also implements such activities in their operations thus serve as the most appropriate way of understanding how the impact of the Civil war on the present day logistics.

Some of the organization studies borrow a lot from the military organization. They share the organizational concept theory by using relevant examples from the decision-making behaviors in the military such as incorporating the military strategies and techniques to ensure the success of a specific organization (Augier, Knudsen& McNab, 2014). The field of organization studies applies the concepts and behavior used by military organizations to become successful on the battlefield. Students thus continue to learn how organization theories relate to military logistics and have a sufficient understanding of how modern-day organizations implement specific strategies to ensure the success of their operations.

Military organizations and organization studies are interdisciplinary, and they also have an overlapping role in educating individuals. The military organizations have affected the decision-making process of organization, and the behavior of individuals as well as opening new opportunities for research (Augier et al., 2014). Organizations that understand the history of the logistics as used in the American Civil War apply some of the concepts and organizational theories in their management purposes and also instill specific behavior such as goal-oriented employees who consider themselves as winning team. They are thus able to engage in a series of activities that promote efficiency in management. Institutions encourage learning of factors such as division of labor and hierarchical decision making that was common with the troops of the Western societies (Augier et al., 2014). It is necessary that individuals understand the possible benefits that could result from having each employee specialized to perform a specific task and how dividing the available functions to employees according to their areas of specialization promotes efficiency in the organizations.

Organizational theories incorporate most of the military strategies thus provide a framework for understanding the decision making process and behavior of different countries like the Soviet Union and its special allies. Moreover, the social sciences have also contributed to the understanding of the organizational issues that could have been relevant to the military during the American Civil War. Augier et al. (2014) mentions organizations such as the Research and Development Corporations (RAND) the discussions and research on the specific areas of organizational theories such as the military organizations. In as much as the concepts of strategic competition and organizational studies might have changed since the American Civil War, the main focus has transferred from public to private organizations. There is also very minimal direct intellectual communication that involves the military analysts and academic scholars, and the reason could be because it is difficult to find institutions like RAND. It is, therefore, necessary to inspire organizational researches into considering the use of the available resources to explore the possibility of new topics.

Ancient Greece had soldiers who were responsible for the military supplies and financial issues as well as ensuring that the transport system was efficient and the soldiers had necessary items at the right time. The army leaders used several models of the logistic system to facilitate the transport of war materials to avail them in a battlefield at the correct time
(Badea, 2007). Almost all operations in organizations involve supplies of raw materials to the manufacturing sites and quantity of finished products to consumers. It is thus essential for organizations that wish to become successful to apply the strategies used by the military officials.

According to Badea (2007), the present day logistics cover areas such as budget planning of the materials, ensuring the development of the plan, purchasing of the items, storing them for several uses and transporting the supplies. It also entails human transport, providing medical and health services and building and maintaining the business facilities while creating a safe environment for the employees. The flexibility of incorporating military logistics into the operations of modern organizations enhances the possibility of fulfilling the demand requirements sufficiently at reduced production cost.  Moreover, organizations also apply the military logistics of the Romanian in management, quality assurance, and marketing as well as the information technology as a strategy to enhance the performance of the specific operation.

Logistics has become a competitive strategy for most businesses as its application enables the organizations to meet the demand f their customers. Logistics allows the supply chain team in an organization to integrate the supply chain in the most efficient way possible. It also helps in incorporating the materials, financial and information flow between organizations thus the use of logistics as a benchmarking strategy for becoming successful in a competitive business environment. Besides (Farahani Rezapour & Kardar, 2011) states that logistics is significant in every country, and that is why nations invest tremendous amount of money in logistics activities , 2011). Logistic operations cost 8.5% of America’s GDP in 2003, and it cost an estimated $ 1054 billion out of the total GDP of $12,400 billion (Farahani et al., 2011).

Moreover, the Greek and Roman empires had military officials known as logistics. They were very responsible for the distribution of the necessary resources and services thus played a significant role in the success of the war (Farahani et al., 2011). Modern organizations also have the management whose function is to plan and allocate revenue efficiently to different activities in an organization. The administration also uses good historical behaviors as a foundation for instilling excellent attitude among the employees that they will be successful for the organization. Logistics might have evolved as art and science but the modern day management performs logistics duties by applying their skills, knowledge and the experience.   The application of such elements in daily activities indicate s that even the most competent manager will make decisions for the benefit of the organization and use the most appropriate and logistics system that is almost similar to what the leader used.

Also, the use of logistics strategic decisions has become common in organizations as they seek to create a logistical system like the network design, outsourcing of human resources and activities s and the integration of the supply chain model.  The management faces various challenges within the organization; thus their decision-making process will not really on one concept hut on different decision-making techniques including logistics; hence they can reduce the stress level in the competitive market environment. Organizations also use tactical and operational issues to identify if there is any need to correct a given aspect that might hinder their success. For example, transport is an essential aspect of the movement of goods and services from the point of manufacturing to the end users. The management will ensure that the provided means of transport is in excellent condition to avoid delay of raw materials as well as the delay of the final product to the customers.

The troops in the American Civil War received their supplies through railroad transport. The good infrastructures and coordination of activities led to the success of the military soldiers in winning their battle (Welter, 2015).  Railroads were of significant value as the supplies could move faster in the battlefields. In modern organizations, transport is one of the crucial factors that organizations must address to enhance their performance in a competitive market. Welter (2015) also acknowledges the importance of the railroad during the American Civil war. The supplies could reach the military on time and still maintains its quality. Most organizations thus prefer to use the safest mode of transportation and at the same time considering the cost-effectiveness of the proposed method of transportation. If the railroads were not available at that time, then the Union military could not have won the war. The resources, materials, and men were only available in the North and shipping them across could have just been through railroads.

In the American Civil War, it was essential to find the most reliable means of transportation to facilitate the movement of supplies and troops on the battlefield. The railroads helped the North in winning the battle as they had sufficient resources (Welter, 2015). However, the Civil War changed how the building and organization of the railroads hence passive participant the battle. In the present day, transportation is also essential, and companies continue to use railroads for transporting both raw materials and finished products. The continued use of the railroad spurs its development as the advancements have led to modern electric railways a goods reach their destination within the shortest time possible.

Generally, the American Civil War has been of great significance to modern day logistics. Despite the challenges that might have been experienced by military troops, the leaders and the American citizens, lessons on logistics and how it facilitated the winning of the battle in several ways such as ensuring sufficient supply of troops and essential items to the battlefields through the use of railroads. The modern-day organization can borrow a lot of strategies used during the American Civil War to facilitate business operations and become successful in the most competitive business environment.



Augier, M., Knudsen, T., & McNab, R. M. (2014). Advancing the field of organizations through the study of military organizations. Industrial and Corporate Change23(6), 1417-1444.

Badea, L. J. T. D (2007). Military Logistics–The Forerunner of Merchandise Logistics. Army Academy.

Farahani, R., Rezapour, S., & Kardar, L. (Eds.). (2011). Logistics operations and management: concepts and models. Elsevier.

Welter F.W (2015). The American Civil War: A War of Logistics.