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Innovative Weapons Of The Civil War Era

2807 words - 11 pages

The Innovative Weapons of the Civil War EraThe visualization of war was drastically changed as the introduction of new technology inflicted astronomical casualties and a strong psychological burden upon the soldiers. The technology was drastically ahead of its time and fighting strategies were still being used from the revolutionary era of fighting. War strategies were to catch up later, after the realization that old ways of fighting couldn't accommodate the new technology. A few specific weapons advanced warfare technology to a new level. The "Minie Ball", Henry Repeating Rifle, and especially the infamous Gatling gun all were astounding advances in technology at the time. Before, firing a weapon involved little to no aiming due to the horrendous inaccuracy of the rifles at the time. The implementation of these new weapons caused far more deaths when the old strategies were paired with more accurate and deadly weapons. Historians generally agree that the reason for this was because this was a period of transition from the old style of fighting, to a new and more efficient method that better utilized the newer technology. Armies and Navies were still using tactics which required massing forces together in large formations in order to concentrate the greatest possible firepower to one point in the enemies' similar formation. At the same time, weapons were being developed which were greatly more accurate and lethal far beyond any arms of the previous skirmishes in American history. As a result of these improvements many more casualties were sustained and the Civil War thus became the bloodiest of all American wars.Previously, the round musket ball was considered the standard throughout the North and the South though it varied greatly in caliber and weight. A man named Claude Minié was the man to alter one of the fundamental pieces of warfare that had been in existence for nearly one hundred and fifty years; the bullet. Shoulder-fired ammunition up until the time had always been a round ball, approximately the size of a marble, fired from a fairly long barreled rifle. This combination ended with atrocious accuracy and a long period of time required between shots for reloading. Even the seasoned veteran could only get off about four shots per minute. In the heat of battle, the confusion and fear would add the reload time.Claude Minié published his technological findings in 1849 though he refused to have his new invention patented. He was offered many gifts and bribes from many countries asking to share and manufacture the Minié ball for their own armies, especially the Russians. Eventually the French government took notice of the interest in the idea and awarded him twenty-thousand francs for his invention. He was later appointed to the head administrator of the Vincennes School of Musketry. The French then distributed the Minié system to the elite marksman brigades for field testing. The testing dictated that even though...

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