Every war, though happens for a reason and bring a better change, is often gruesome. The Civil War broke America in two groups and, at the time, was the war with the most casualties and injured men. As the fight to preserve the Union progressed, so did a number of other areas, such as weaponry and artillery. The advanced technology produced through the Civil War assisted in increasing number of casualties. The North was more fortuitous than the South in multitudinous ways.
One of which includes the fact that their industrial society allowed them to produce a larger amount of weapons of a higher quality. One of the major reasons the Union triumphantly defeated the Confederate army was because of their more superior types of weapons.A popular weapon used by both sides was the rifle. Rifles were invented before the Civil War and were greatly used in the War of 1812. However, more types were built and a larger amount was used during the Civil War. Rifles added a spin to bullets for a greater accuracy at longer ranges. Using this weapon, soldiers could fire 400 yards away, as opposed to the average 80 yards (Robertson 50). Rifles were the fastest and hardest weapon of the time.
Rifles allowed their bullets to be shot harder and faster towards its target. New inventions, used by the Union more than the Confederate, included Parrott rifles. They were composed of iron. Robert Parker Parrott, an American soldier and inventor, created these weapons, hence the name Parrott rifles. Despite its name, the Parrott rifle was actually a cannon. Its size ranged from 10 to 300 pounders. It was not favored by most because it was considered unsafe (“Civil War Artillery”). Because of its bulkiness and heaviness, it seldom led soldiers to inaccurately shoot their targets and it was unsuitable for the cavalry to carry when in battle.
Luckily, since the North was industrial, the Union was able to produce a large quantity of other weapons. Unfortunately, the South had a large disadvantage in this area. The Confederacy was dependent on stolen weapons to fight in the war (Morgan).
Although the South advanced in agriculture, this did not assist them in producing a high quality and quantity of weaponry and artillery.Artillery caused a greater commotion than weaponry amongst people. It was better at targeting and accurately shooting targets. The Parrott rifle, as previously mentioned, was used frequently yet was unpopular amongst the soldiers. As a solution, the 3-inch Ordnance replaced the Parrott rifle. This cannon was more accurate and had a longer range, up to about 2,300 yards. It was a hundred pounds lighter than the Parrott.
The Union army produced about a thousand Ordnances. Lacking the technology, the Confederates did not and could not produce them. However, the Ordnance was unnecessary during most battles since the shooter had to see his target in order to shoot with any accuracy (Morgan). The Ordnance, though not necessary, was a commonly used weapon. In order to solve the flaws of the Ordnance, the Napoleon was created. “It is believed that the Napoleon was the cause of more artillery casualties than all the other models combined during the Civil War. It could fire as far as 1700 yards, but was deadly accurate within a range of 300 yards. The Napoleon was a favorite amongst some Northern artillerists because of its firepower and reliability” (Heiser).
The Napoleon was one of the highlights of the Civil War. It held great power and popularity, compared to all of the artillery. On land, these artilleries came to great use for both soldiers and the cavalries.Along with the artillery created, both the Union and the Confederacy had strong naval fleets. The Union had impeccable wooden fleets. In order to match up to the Union’s great wooden fleets, the Confederate built their first ironclad battleship.
It was named CSS Virginia, after its birthplace, Norfolk, Virginia (Robertson 89). This competition of fleets encouraged each side to build better fleets for naval battle. The Union was also creating an ironclad battleship. The USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia fought against one another until the sinking of the Monitor on the last day of 1862. It was clear, by March of 1862, that wooden battleships would not be used as often as they were (Robertson 90). The generation of iron was taking its place within society as well as the Civil War. The Confederacy also created the torpedo boat, another new weapon. A lengthy beam extending from the bow, or front, of the ship carried a torpedo which, when its target was struck, exploded.
However, the South was unable to build more torpedo boats, and, therefore, did not pose a greater threat to the Union (Robertson 92). The Confederacy’s environment had not helped them with building stronger and better artillery. This proves that the Union was strong, sturdy, and sufficient in terms of both land and sea.Not only did the two sides battle on sea, but they had also fought on horses. Cavalries had their own preference for weapons. Cavalries carried sabers, or swords, which, when found in the hands of one, marked a “trained trooper” as dangerous.
Volunteers, however, had difficulty to control the saber (Morgan). The saber was strictly reserved for cavalries. Cavalries weren’t of much use in the beginning stages of the war. However, they were crucial towards the middle and the latter part of the Civil War. The Union cavalry preferred to use the Ordnance rifle (Morgan) because it was lightweight, mobile, and caused a lot of destruction. “The typical Union soldier carried a saber, pistols, and a multi shot breech-loading carbine. The most common carbine the Union troopers carried was the Spencer repeating rifle. This rifle could hold seven rounds of ammunition…The Union army brought along a herd of horses so finding a replacement for Union cavalrymen was generally pretty easy.
For Rebel cavalrymen (the Confederate army) it was a bit more difficult. Southern soldiers brought their own horses so when a horse was lost it was far more difficult to replace them” (“Civil War Cavalry”). No matter the high scale of the Southerners’ attempts, they were inferior to the North in almost every area in the Civil War. The Confederate’s cavalry, also known as the Rebel cavalrymen, traveled lighter. They did not have the weapons of the same quality as that of the Union. The southern troops also opted not to use sabers and instead used extra pistols attacking when near one another. In the end, the Confederate cavalry was “out gunned, overwhelmed and ran out of horses” (“Civil War Cavalry”). The Southern cavalry lacked the appropriate weapons and amount of horses in order to win against the Union.
The Rebel cavalrymen were not even acknowledged as a threat to the Union cavalrymen. Once again, the South’s inability to create neither the same weapons nor a large amount of weapons when compared to the North led their cavalries to a gradual collapse.Throughout the Civil War, countless battles have taken place. One major battle was the Battle of Gettysburg. It lasted three days, from July 1 to July 3, 1863, near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Confederate Commander was Robert E. Lee and the Union Commander was George G. Meade.
In total, this battle concluded with 51,112 casualties. There were six main weapons used which were the Napoleon, the Ordnance, the Parrott rifle, the Howitzer, the James rifle, and the Whitworth rifle (Heiser). These weapons proved to be the extremely useful. The Howitzer was excellent for shooting close targets with much power. The James rifle, similar to the Ordnance, fired a 14-pound elongated shell and was accurate up to 1,700 yards. It was not used as much as the other weapons were during this battle. The Whitworth rifle was imported from England, fired a 12 pound shell, and could hit a target 2,800 yards away.
However, the Ordnance was favored over both the Howitzer and the Whitworth (Heiser). It was reliable and light weight. The intense number of casualties was due to the high powered machines.The Confederate army lacked the stronger and larger amounts of artillery which the Union had, one of the reasons which caused the downfall of the Confederacy.
The Confederacy also did not attain the proper supplies to create the exact weapons of the Union. This was because of their lifestyle. Since the North was more industrial, they were able to produce an abundance of weapons that were made of better material, such as iron, than the South. Despite this fact, “No war in history produced more new ideas, weapons, and techniques than did the Civil War” (Roberto 67). The constant violence between brethrens improved America because of the overwhelming amounts and kinds of technology, weaponry, and artillery. The development of more efficient weapons was inspired from the fighting.
Although the Civil War was horrid and repulsive, it brought forth new discoveries, unintentionally modernizing America.