• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Modern Warfare: Military Technology in the Civil War

Extracts from this document...


Benjamin Scott May 3, 2004 Modern Warfare: Military Technology in the Civil War The American Civil War is considered by many historians to be the first modern war. It was the first war in which mechanized and electrified devices were used. Such technologies include photography, mines, submarines, torpedoes, rapid-fire guns, rifles, and the telegraph. Some of these innovations helped make the civil war one of the deadliest wars in history. Over 620,000 people died in the war; more casualties than all other wars involving Americans combined. Practical photography technology was not developed until the early 19th century. Although the military did not have much interest in photography in the beginning of the war, there were several photographers who captured many disturbing images. One of the most famous photographers was Mathew Brady. He and his twenty assistants made a complete record of all of the events of the civil war. Each assistant had his own traveling darkroom so that plates could be processed on the spot. In 1862, Brady shocked the country by displaying his photographs of corpses after the battle of Antietam. This was the first time the general public had seen images of the bloodshed of war. ...read more.


The Hunley also sank, due to unknown reasons. The sinking of the Hunley ended sub experimentation for the remainder of the Civil War. After the war, sub development eventually resumed. Self-propelled torpedoes were developed in about 1868 (Morris). Invented in 1862 Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling, the Gatling gun was the first successful rapid-fire gun used in war. It was used only a few times in the Civil War, and if it had been used more, there definitely would have been many more casualties. Apparently, Gatling "set out to create a weapon so devastating that it would make the idea of war so horrible that war would become unthinkable thus ending all wars" (Weapons). Unfortunately, the weapon was very efficient at killing people and eventually became popular, especially in the Spanish-American war. This 2,000 pound (900kg) gun was operated by a hand-crank, with six barrels revolving around a central shaft. Each barrel could fire over 100 rounds per minute, resulting in a weapon capable of firing over 600 rounds per minute! While the gun fired standard .58-caliber ammunition, it had so many mechanical problems that the US government was not interested in purchasing the weapon. ...read more.


Issued in 1863, this rifle was a great advantage for the North. Additionally, the South could not even use captured Spencers because of a lack of ammunition (Beck). The telegraph was a relatively new invention at the time of the Civil War. Invented in 1844 by Samuel F.B. Morse, by the time of the war, there were telegraph lines all over the eastern U.S. and even some lines across the country. By the end of the war, more than 15,000 miles of lines had been built for military purposes. When the war began, it quickly became the best means to communicate military intelligence, and soon became target for counter-operations. One Union commander captured two Confederate supply trains by intercepting messages and replacing them with disinformation. Both armies developed mobile telegraph units that traveled wherever the army went. The U.S. Government opened its own telegraph office, where President Lincoln often received information on the war (Telegraph). With all these modern technological developments, the Civil War was certainly the deadliest of the time. The overall consequence of these advances was the rapid application of new weapons and other technologies of war to the battlefield at a pace never seen before in history, with the corresponding result that weapons became more lethal than ever. Even today, the Civil War is still considered one of the bloodiest wars of all time. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Forrest Gump; the Modern Day Fairytale

    It is only when he comes to terms with his disability that he recognises Forrest as his equal. "Don't cal him stupid" Lt. Dan knows what it is like to be constricted and defined by a one-word boundary, he is called a spastic, he defends Forrest thus releasing him of blame.

  2. American Civil War (1861-1865).

    Militarily, the battle of Gettysburg was the high-water mark of the Confederacy; it is also significant because it ended the Confederates hopes of formal recognition of foreign governments. On November 19, President Lincoln dedicated a portion of the Gettysburg battlefield as a national cemetery and delivered his memorable "Gettysburg Address."

  1. American History.

    In return for sacrifices equality of opportunity would prevail, eventually creating a merit-based "natural aristocracy." Another was held by other members of the elite and some skilled craftsman? [ex. Alexander Hamilton] and was more about economics, drawing on Adam Smith's theories about individual self-interest leading for the best for the community.

  2. The Spanish Civil War

    Franco became supreme leader of the Nationalists chiefly because he was the only person suitable for the job left after Sanjurjo was killed in a plane crash. This weakened the Carlists as Sanjurjo had been a prominent supporter of them.

  1. ‘In origins andoutcome, the Spanish Civil War was a Spanish and not a European ...

    In terms of strategic advantages, Hitler was interested in a German friendly Spain in case of conflicts with France. At the beginning he provided transport planes to the Nationalists, in order to transfer troops and material from Morocco to Spain.

  2. War Photography

    This may be one occasion where the photographer has asked after taking the image. How many other photographers even make the effort to ask? Not many. Instead, they sometimes go against the subject's request and carry on with the image.

  1. Why were there so many civil wars in the 20th century?

    government in which all goods are shared equally, and they could be regarded as "revolutionists". Second, a religious conflict between two groups of people within one country in which each group wanted to establish their beliefs in controlling the government (Ireland, Bosnia).

  2. Outline the various stages in the development of warfare since the middle of the ...

    The introduction of the motorcar in the beginning of the 20th century also helped the mobility of warfare, with army trucks being used in most of the wars since then; in addition, the invention of tanks and submarines combined strong defence with the ability to attack, therefore causing more damage with fewer home casualties.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work