The need for military police has been evident to American military commanders since the struggle for national independence. Whenever the United States engaged in warfare, some form of police element emerged to assist its leaders in maintaining various aspects of discipline. Surfacing when necessity dictated, the Military Police Corps evolved through several phases, each meeting the needs of a particular period in American history. Assuming increased responsibilities, military police established their place as combat soldiers who have the professional knowledge and flexibility needed to perform a variety of missions in war and peace. .
In order to gain an understanding of the current functions and responsibilities of the modern Provost Marshal, it is necessary to review the past and to trace the foreign roots of the Military Police Corps.
The Provost Marshal.
The modern Provost Marshal can trace his humble beginnings back to Europe and the Middle Ages where the marshal was first a horse servant and usually placed in charge of a corral of twelve horses. As cavalry grew in importance as a military force, so did the position of the marshal. He soon became the commander of the cavalry troops and the highest-ranking officer within the king's court. .
The position of marshal in the European countries then evolved into two separate offices. One marshal had charge of the administration of the emperor or king's court and issued proper protocol and arranged meetings and celebrations. The other was the land marshal, who was the leading member of any assemblage or subordinate states or districts, always working directly for the emperor. Regardless of the duties performed, the man bearing the title of marshal would be one of the most trusted servants of the emperor or king, and his tasks would be among the most important in the realm. (RMP, Unk).
During his reign, the French emperor Charlemagne (742-814) assigned the marshal the responsibility of transporting stores to the battle sites to be utilized in siege operations.