New Technologies during the Civil War

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No wonder that the civilized world regards our civil war, as history will yet proclaim it, the most remarkable conflict in human annals.
The Civil War was a drastically brutal war, with most of the brutality being caused because of the new and deadlier technologies. It consisted of many various new technologies that made the brutality rate of the war that much higher. There was new weapons created that had huge impacts on the outcomes of the battles and the entire war overall. Weapons were not the only new technologies that contributed to making the war that much more brutal. Railroads, telegraphs, and horseshoes even played huge roles during the war. The brutality and outcome of the Civil War was definitely shaped by new technology.

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One of the major weapons used during the Civil War was the rifle. Before the Civil War the inaccurate musket was used, so when the rifle was created and distributed it was certain the brutality of the war itself would increase significantly. The rifles accuracy and range was much higher than that of the muskets. The rifle had a high quality bullet called the minie ball, this bullet gripped more superiorly making the accuracy stronger, thus, intensifying the brutality of the war. There was also different types of rifles that would make it easier to load and unload while being carried on horseback. These easier held weapons were called carbines, but since they were hand held they had a shorter barrel making the accuracy and range much shorter than that of the original rifles. Because of the significant accuracy change with the new weapon, the aim and kill aspect of war strengthened. The war certainly became bloodier and deadlier with the newly constructed rifle around.

Another influential technology advancement of the Civil War was the cannon. There were many different types of cannons, but used more than the others were the rifled cannons. These cannons could fire farther distances and were the most accurate. Cannons were often used to destroy large targets such as the opponents artillery bases, but other cannons were made to fire at incoming armys on the battlefield. Many of the cannons could end up harming many people if not placed properly. Some are also more prone to explosions if they were to be struck my enemy fire, for they have a black explosive powder added to them. The cannons were very loud and were often times striking near civilizations. A woman by the name of Dolly Sumner Lunt kept a journal in the time of the civil war and she said we have heard the loud booming of cannon all day. These people were so close to the battle fields and had to be ready at all times to move in order to survive or else they would be struck by cannons, leaving more people dead from the war. The cannon was mainly used and perfected by the Union on the battle grounds, making the Confederates more of the cannon targets during the war . The cannon was certainly a very destructive and dangerous weapon enhancing the brutality overall of the war.

Additionally, railroads also played a huge role in making the war that much easier to make it that much more brutal. Railroads made it possible to move huge groups of the troops to one battle or camp to another way faster than on horseback. Railroads didnt always carry people on them, often times they had supplies and weapons on them to deliver to troops to use in battle. Medical supplies were carried on the railroads to be transported to the the hospitals that were treating the wounded from the war. Many of the railroads were in the North during the war, for they were more infrastructural. With the easier supply delivery and troop movements, the war certainly became more livid.

Even though they now had railroads, horses were still a very vital part of the war. Horses were used to move and carry heavy objects to and from destinations. They were put through very harsh, tough circumstances throughout the war. Over one million horses were killed within battle or because of the amount of stress that was forced on them over time. Many of the horses were used in battle, for the troops would ride on them making the approach on the enemy faster and the work of the rider easier. In order for horses to be able to withstand all this force and pressure they needed horseshoes to protect their hooves. The inventor of these magnificent horseshoes was Henry Burden. Henrys corporate empire was called Henry Burden & Sons where he was able to manufacture 50,000 shoes per day. Horseshoes became an imperative part of the war and no horse would go without them. The soldiers would carry extra horseshoes with them in case the old ones were worn down or would break on the battle field. Horseshoes contributed to the war tremendously, because without them it is likely many more horses would have died and they wouldnt have been as strong and powerful without these challenge conquering shoes. Horses themselves added to the brutality in such a way as the soldiers just being able to be at the battle field, and with these horseshoes on them they were able to withstand harsh ground and live longer allowing the death rate of the enemy to increase rather than the horses.

In addition to all the other new technologies of the Civil War is the steamboat. These boats helped move supplies and men to and from different areas through the war. Steamboats were mainly used when there was a shortage of railroads in the area. The boats were used for mostly the same purposes as the railroads. There was another type of boat used during the war called a gunboat. These boats were not used for transporting supplies and men, but for invading the enemy by water instead of by land. These boats were heavily armed with many guns and cannons. A lot of the times these boats were also used to fire at other oncoming enemy boats or enemy boats with their artillery on them, destroying the boats leaving nothing but ash. The steamboats worked until blockades began to be introduced which stopped the access of the boats to the enemies side, but until then they were very victorious. Steamboats and gunboats both made the brutality of the war increase because of the damage the gunboats were able to cause on the opposing side and the amount of people and supplies transported by the steamboats. Without these two new technologies the war would have only taken place on land and not by sea, so this added a whole new war strategy and new opportunities to defeat the enemy.

Telegraphs were another important technology of the Civil War. The telegraph was the messenger throughout the war. It would send electric signals across an electric wire that was between the locations of where they were communicating. One of its uses was to help direct where and when the armies should be at certain locations. It allowed them to know better about what was ahead of them from past experiences of allies that have been in a certain location. The commanders during the war were able to communicate strategies easily with their troops making it a lot easier to battle during the Civil War. The telegraphs were also a safe way to communicate with each other, for it made it hard for the enemies to find out strategies and plans of attack on the opponent. Without telegraphs the war would have been a completely different game. The strategies of both sides would have been different and the amount of people killed much higher, since the amount of blind attacks and unpreparedness would be increased. With the telegraphs they were able to strategically plan out and be ready for whatever was to come their way through the communicative system, and they were also able to plan out attacks on the opposing team killing and defeating them easily.

At the present time many technologies are also used during war. The technologies used today are advanced technologies of the earlier era. Today troops are able to battle from the air not only with combat planes, but with drones. With these drones you dont have to have a passenger aboard, meaning less people will die from and during air combat. Instead of the telegraph, today there are many different electronic ways of communicating. All these new commutative ways were all started and built off the invention of the telegraph during the Civil War. Powerful tanks are a huge staple in the wars of today. These large, heavily equipped machines are what are use instead of horses to battle. As shown many of the present day technologies used during war are just advancements of the Civil War technology. All of the technologies present and past will always be huge contributors to the brutality of the wars.

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New Technologies During The Civil War. (2019, May 08). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from

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