Civil war tactics and technology

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civil war tactics and technology

Battle Tactics of the Civil War by Paddy Griffith

Actually the version I just finished was a paperback printed by Yale.

Paddy Griffith wrote this book nigh on 25 years ago as a revisionist history of the tactics employed in the American Civil War. The orthodoxy at the time held that the Civil War the first of the modern/20th Century Wars, rather than the last of the 18th Century ones. This was said to be due to the increased range of the rifled musket, amongst other causes.

Mr Griffith demonstrated that no mater how theoretically effective, the actual usage of the rifled musket was little changed from the smoothbore. All in all, a very imgainative book for its time. And the predecessor to books like Nostworthys as well as many others. (See my read list for two later and more in depth books.)

However, Mr Griffith does show his European biases. He argues that both sides lacked adequate cavalry in general, and shock/heavy cavalry in particular. Although he notes the difficulty in supplying and maintaining them. He poo-poos the idea that the distances, terrain, and lack of cities, roads, and supply depots made campaigning more difficult in the US. And, despite his denials, this reader got the feeling that he in the end does suscribe to Helmuth von Moltkes alleged statement the U.S. Civil War was an affair in which two armed mobs chased each other around the country and from which no lessons could be learned.

Definitely worth the read. And a good example of how yesterdays revisionism is todays orthodoxy.
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Published 11.01.2019

Civil War Weapons and Tactics

American Civil War

The Civil War was a time of great social and political upheaval. It was also a time of great technological change. Inventors and military men devised new types of weapons, such as the repeating rifle and the submarine, that forever changed the way that wars were fought. Even more important were the technologies that did not specifically have to do with the war, like the railroad and the telegraph. Innovations like these did not just change the way people fought wars—they also changed the way people lived. Before the Civil War , infantry soldiers typically carried muskets that held just one bullet at a time. The range of these muskets was about yards.

Technologies ranged from hot air balloons to submarines. New weapons such as rifles allowed soldiers to fire accurately at long distances. The use of Photography meant that the war was the first conflict to be recorded on a large scale with actual photographs instead of paintings. Commanders in the Civil War also made great use of the telegraph on a massive scale. Never before in warfare had communication been made so easy and instantly. The telegraph allowed generals to relay information in real time with each other. The use of railroads on both sides became critically important in transporting troops and supplies.

Battle Tactics of the Civil War. By Paddy Griffith. New Haven: Yale University Press, c. Situated directly between the classical Napoleonic Wars and the more modern warfare of World War I, the Civil War owns a reputation for being central to the transition between differing styles. In his book, Battle Tactics of the Civil War , Paddy Griffith examines the tactics and technology that were pervasive during the War, and comes to a different conclusion. Using primary source material such as battle recollections of soldiers and tactical training manuals of the day, Griffith attempts to reconstruct the Civil War battle and examine its many component parts.

The infantry in the American Civil War comprised foot-soldiers who fought primarily with small arms , and carried the brunt of the fighting on battlefields across the United States. Historians have long debated whether the evolution of tactics between and marked a seminal point in the evolution of warfare. Presumably, the greater accuracy and range of the rifle musket rendered that approach obsolete, and the Civil War armies' transition to longer battles in is taken by numerous scholars as proof of the new technology's transformative impact.
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New Kinds of Weapons

Submarines were not the only innovation to come out of the Civil War, which some call the first "modern" war. During the war, 15, miles of telegraph cable was laid purely for military purposes. Mobile telegraph wagons reported and received communications from just behind the frontline.

Show your pride in battlefield preservation by shopping in our store. Every purchase supports the mission. Skip to main content. Civil War. Infantry Tactics During the Civil War. Video: In4 Minutes. American Battlefield Trust.

4 thoughts on “Battle Tactics of the Civil War by Paddy Griffith

  1. Kids learn about the weapons and technology during the Civil War including rifles, including the tactics used on the battlefield and the way wars were fought .

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