The innovative weapons of the civil war era

Weapons of the Civil War By Matthew Kent, North Carolina State University, War is a driving force behind innovation and invention, and every change or advancement in weapons technology impacts the tactics and the style of warfare utilized at the time.

The innovative weapons of the civil war era

Three Centuries of American Wars Civil War Weapons Inthe belligerents were about to enter the modern era of weaponized warfare on land, sea and air. The changes altered age old tactics and severely reduced the rate of survival. On land, accuracy and increased range of small and large guns emerged.

On the sea, iron ships made wooden navies obsolete. In the air, telegraphy brought the front lines to the commanders in the rear. Civil War Weapons Civil War Weapons Inventors were encouraged to file patents with fresh ideas that would increase the lethality of weapons.

Some in his cabinet, and many generals in the field, were opposed to any change. They argued that a new idea was too costly, and would require retraining troops.

Reportedly, Lincoln expended personal funds to purchase some breech loading weapons. Despite the president's lack of military expertise to counteract the "old soldiers" resistance to change, the tide occasioned by scientific discovery and civilian industrialization washed onto the battlefields.

In order to supply two very active armies, both the Union forces and the Confederates had organizational problems. Each had to supply a war machine with the most basic need, primarily it was production of ordnance.

This meant producing ammunition with calibers that were universal for similar weapons supplied to the armies. It is at this point, that difficulties for the south were more pronounced.

The North had an extensive manufacturing system that included cannon foundries, federally funded armories and arsenals as well experimental laboratories. The South, essentially an agrarian society, had to build new weapons and munitions facilities, rely on the few that already existed, convert cotton mills to the war effort, depend upon buying agents in Mexico and Europe, and protect the existing resources from constant attack by Union forces.

A welcomed addition to the arsenal of the rebel forces. Civil War Weapons InConfederate arsenals held a total ofsmall arms to support an army that would grow fromto 1, men. It is estimated that black Americans responding to the call to arms in the north comprised aboutThe ex slave, Frederick Douglass, called upon his brothers to fight for their freedom with these words: Slavery can be abolished by white men, but liberty so won for the black manwhile it may leave him an object of pity, can never make him an object of respect".

Both the north and south raced to augment the supply of arms. The Confederate government wisely sought the expertise of Pennsylvania born, West Point trained, Josiah Gorgas, who fortuitously was married to an Alabama lady. His patriotism resided where his heart found a home.

He rapidly turned a Macon Georgia laboratory into the most successful rebel supply depot. Gorgas obtained the services of a British chemist, James H.

Burton, newly arrived from England with manufacturing experience and plans for the production of the. This was the most commonly used musket by north and south. These improvements ultimately discouraged infantry assaults over large, open fields leading to fire fights from behind defensive redoubts temporary fortifications.

The weapon was first introduced to British infantry in their Crimean war. It still required that the powder propellant and bullet ball be rammed down from the muzzle end. It had an adjustable rear sight and a fixed end sight and bayonet mounting.

The technology had improved radically since the universal use of the " Brown Bess " smooth bore musket in the Revolutionary War. Civil War Weapons The Minie ball, named for its French inventor, was now bullet shaped cylindrical and capable of piercing four inches of solid wood and could drop a man on contact as well as any one standing behind him.

Its effective explosive power was excellent up to yards; some yards greater than its predecessor. Civil War Weapons The Springfield rifle was American manufactured and along with the Enfield long gun was commonly used by the infantry of north and south.

Here is where standardization paid off.

The innovative weapons of the civil war era

The Minie ball was compatible to both rifles. At the beginning of the war, the smooth bore musket was quickly being replaced with rifled bore weapons. Production in the Massachusetts armory was augmented by private manufacturers.The Weapons of the Civil War Artillery 6-pounder smoothbore This popular workhorse of the Mexican War era was regarded as superseded by the Union artillery.

May 08,  · Home Forums > War of the Rebellion Forums > Civil War Weapons and Ammunition > Unique and Innovative Weapons of the Civil War. Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by jagcannon, Aug 11, Well as far as unique and innovative goes: Metal cased cartridges, barb wire, telegraph and hot gas balloons to mention a few.

These 5 innovative Civil War weapons changed combat forever The American Civil War was a bloody affair, where many battles were fought with infantry tactics that had been around for years. But some weapons designers pushed the envelope of technology during the violent conflict and developed arms that would revolutionize the way militaries fight for centuries.

The Civil War was the first major war that involved ironclad ships. These were ships that were protected by steel or iron armor plates.

Weapon Innovations during the Civil War | Fort Knox

They were nearly impossible to sink with conventional weapons and forever changed the way ships were used in battle. The Civil War was by far the most deadly war in American history. The bloody four-year conflict between the northern and southern states of .

The Civil War was America's bloodiest and most divisive conflict, pitting the Union Army against the Confederate States of America.

Civil War Innovations | History Detectives | PBS