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Have you ever wondered what weapons were used in the Civil War? What aspects made people think of the Civil War as, “One of America’s Bloodiest Wars”. What caused so many deaths that would still be remembered today? Well, one of the answers to those questions is weapons. All different types of weapons caused the Civil War to be a brutal, bloodshed, and savage war that would be one to remember. These weapons took the Civil War by storm with their effectiveness, accuracy, and damage that they caused. Weapons impacted the Civil War because they changed the way soldiers fought, influenced the future of weapons, and drove the way for the future of America and its wars.
One of the main weapons that took the Civil War by storm, was the Minie Ball. This small, but mighty bullet, had tremendous impacts not only on the battlefield but also off. The bullet named after its inventor Claude-E’tienne Minié was adopted by the US Army in 1855. It was partly common because it could be mass-produced cheaply. The Minié was small in diameter and could be easily loaded because it was slightly smaller than the diameter of the gun bore. Spinning tightly and gripping the spiral rifling, tremendously improved the accuracy and caused it to travel on a straighter path. Its effective range was anywhere from 240 to 350 yards. When fired, it expanded, and as it hit its target, the soft lead caused it to flatten out. The thing that made this weapon extremely dangerous and effective was that it could shatter bones and destroy tissue. In addition, it would carry any foreign material it picked up from the uniform, as it passed through the body, greatly increasing the risk of infection. Most enemies that were shot by the minié, had to have an amputation. The Minié Ball certainly had many impacts on the Civil War, but its effectiveness, range, and accuracy made this weapon one to fear.
Firearms were not the only weapons that impacted the Civil War in tremendous ways, field artillery was also weapons that changed the ways and tactics of the Civil War. This weapon, named by its inventor, Louis Napoleon was also known as the “12 pounders”. It was first cast in America in 1857. The cannon was hitched to a two-wheel limber and had 3 projectiles; solid shot, case shot, canister. The solid shot had a wide range of ammunition and long-range. This projectile was used to break through covers and could destroy trees. The case shot was a hollow sphere filled with musket balls. The friction of the shell ignites a fuse and explodes, spreading the musket balls and showering shell fragments all over the target. The canister was tin cans filled with round balls stacked on top of each other. This was the most powerful, being able to wipe out entire ranks or lines of men. The cannon\’s effective range was around 400 yards. Napoleon Cannon’s lightweight maneuverability, but almighty power made it a very dominant weapon.
Both of these weapons hugely impacted the Civil War, both in many different ways. On the field and off the field, both of these weapons changed the future of technology, weapons and, wars. The impacts that the Minié Ball had on the Civil War were monumental compared to other weapons. This weapon clearly focused on quality over quantity because the ball was more focused on the damage it did to the target, rather than the number of men it killed. The Minié Ball was most effective in thin, long lines of soldiers. The effects of the Minié Ball were not only intense on the field, but they also caused a lot of trouble off the field. Because of this, this weapon did not only improve military technology, it also improved Civil War hospitals, medicine, amputations, and how skilled the doctors were because of the adaptation needed from the effects of this weapon. The ball was responsible for 3 out of 4 amputations/operations/injuries done in Civil War hospitals. During the Civil War though, the north had a slight technological advancement over the south because of its advancement in production and manufacturing of goods. This caused them to be able to equip their men on the front lines faster and more efficiently. The Napoleon Cannon, on the other hand, was a very influential and powerful weapon but had very different impacts. It focused more on the bigger impact of forts and lines of soldiers rather than a single target. This cannon could destroy forts a ½ mile away and blow through trees but was very lightweight and easily moved. In the Second Battle of Bull Run in August 1862, during the early Civil War, six Napoleons covered the Federal Army, forcing the Confederates to keep their distance. Overall, this cannon had a huge impact on the improvement of modern warfare and technology during the first modern war and the Industrial Revolution.
The Civil War was impacted by weapons because they changed the way soldiers fought, influenced the future of weapons, and drove the way for the future of America and its wars. All around, both of these weapons tremendously impacted the Civil War. The Minié Ball tearing through human tissue and shattering bones and the Napoleon Cannon ripping down trees and exploding on rows of troops. Both of these greatly impacted the Civil War because of the effects they had and how they forever changed the future of America and the wars ahead.
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