Symbols In The Civil War

1460 Words 6 Pages
The Civil War was a time of terrible social turmoil and bloodshed for the American people. However, it was also a time of great innovation and creation by both the Union and the Confederacy. As the intellectuals of the two sides invented better and more efficient ways to hasten the slaughter of their countrymen, the leadership of the Union and Confederacy lost no time in their application of these new arsenals. The Civil War is the war that has seen the greatest loss of American men, and the primary reason behind this is the creation of new weapons. Among the innovations responsible for the massive loss of life was the long range rifle, the Minie ball, railroads, the telegraph, and aerial reconnaissance. Invented just before the advent of …show more content…
Before the Minie ball, every rifle that was to be reloaded had to have bullets the same diameter as the musket in addition to having to be jammed down the rifle itself. In fact, gunpowder left in the barrel would often jam the rifles (Fadala 135). Such unreliability and inconvenience of muzzle-loading rifles led to their disuse in combat; that is, until the Minie ball (Fadala 136). The Minie ball enabled easy loading and firing of rifles while maintaining a rifle’s accuracy. The Minie ball accomplished this by having a diameter smaller than the rifle’s barrel and expanding when fired, gripping the grooves inside the rifle and spinning for accuracy (Fadala 137). Soldiers on both sides experienced the effects of the Minie ball: flesh was ripped away and bone shattered on impact with the deadly combination of rifle and bullet. Together, the Minie ball and long range rifle warped the battlefield and induced enormous casualties; the Minie ball being in part responsible for at least 600,000 deaths (Fadala …show more content…
The Civil War had casualty counts that remain the highest ever seen in American history. In comparison to the wars preceding it, such as the Mexican-American War with only around 18,000 total casualties, the Civil War had at least an unbelievable 640,000 combined casualties (United States 1). The Civil War had the awful, coincidental timing of beginning in the dawn of a new age of combat. Officers trained in the strategies of the past lined up their men at close range for their slaughter by the new rifles and ammunition developed. Bayonet charges became obsolete but were still continuously used throughout the Civil War, resulting in the destruction of entire regiments by concentrated rifle and cannon fire (as seen in Pickett’s Charge) (Griffith 96). However, in the end, the main perpetrator and culprit behind the huge casualties seen in the Civil War was the technological developments utilized in the war. Historians, such as Drew Gilpin Faust (the President of Harvard and noted Civil War author) and Dr. J David Hacker (an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota specializing in the Civil War) agree that casualties in the Civil War could potentially be even higher than currently estimated, and that Americans were largely responsible for this (Faust 65), largely due to their

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