The American Civil War: The First Modern War? Term Paper by Master Researcher

The American Civil War: The First Modern War?
Looks at the impact of modern warfare on the outcome of the American Civil War.
# 39166 | 1,025 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Oct 04, 2003 in History (U.S. Before 1865) , History (U.S. Civil War 1860-1865)

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This paper examines the impact of the machine gun during the American Civil War and discusses the invention of the first machine gun, the 'Gatling Gun'. The paper shows how while there were innovations in modern weaponry, the men running the war often fell back on old-fashioned tactics. The paper describes how the combination of the old and new on the battleground caused disastrous results.

From the Paper:

"The problem was that this new technology was not always used , or was used in partnership with more antiquated methods of fighting. There was, as John Ellis comments, a "contempt for technology" among many of the officers, most of whom were from the land-owning classes. A number of them had seen their fortunes dwindle due to the Industrialization of society and so their animosity towards the new weaponry might be seen as personal. Their experience of war was also based on tactical warfare, in which man was prima inter pares, and this included the use of cavalry and infantry. It is not hard to imagine these romantics being blind to the devastating destructiveness of these new weapons. The army was, and is, a conservative institution and that was certainly the case in the Civil War.
"A sense of the horrifying cost of this willful ignorance may be seen in a battle aptly called the Wilderness in Virginia at the beginning of Grant's final sweep towards victory. Thousands of men faced each other across a field that was entirely unsuited to a military battle, a gently sloping countryside covered with thick underbrush and second-growth timber. Tracts of swamp made it impossibly muddy and the mosquitoes plagued the men."

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