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The US Civil War: The Impact of Technology Lsn 11.

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Presentation on theme: "The US Civil War: The Impact of Technology Lsn 11."— Presentation transcript:

1 The US Civil War: The Impact of Technology Lsn 11

2 ID & SIG: breastworks, ironclads, Minie Ball, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, frontal attack, interior lines, railroads, telegraph, First Manassas, Chattanooga, steamships, Port Royal

3 Technology Rifled Muskets Railroads Steam-powered ships Rifled Artillery Ironclads Submarines Mines Telegraph Balloons

4 Technology: Rifled Muskets Most American units in the Mexican War had smoothbore muskets and the lessons of the rifle in the Crimean War escaped most observers By the time of the Civil War, the rifled musket and the Minie ball caused a change in military tactics The smoothbore musket had a range of 100 to 200 yards The new rifle was effective from 400 to 600 yards

5 Technology: Rifled Muskets The defense gained strength relative to the offense Artillery lost its ability to safely advance close to the enemy and breach holes in defenses Close-order formations became dangerously vulnerable

6 Technology: Rifled Muskets Consequently, frontal assaults proved disastrous –Fredericksburg, Picketts Charge, Kennesaw Mountain Most significant artillery engagements were defensive –Malvern Hill Armies became expert at building breastworks –Spotsylvania Courthouse Federal breastworks at Gettysburg

7 Technology: Railroads Seeking to gain the benefits of interior lines, commanders will make the Civil War the first great railroad war Interior Lines Exterior Lines

8 Technology: Railroads Although geography would seem to favor the Confederate ability to gain interior lines, superior Federal railroads in many cases gave the Federals the advantage

9 Railroads: First Manassas While P. G. T. Beauregard faced the main Federal force at Centreville and Manassas, Joseph Johnston commanded 12,000 additional Confederates at Winchester Johnston was to defend the Shenandoah Valley and support Beauregard if necessary Among Johnstons brigade commanders was Thomas Jackson Federal commander Irvin McDowell considered it imperative that Robert Patterson hold Johnstons army in the Shenandoah Valley while McDowell attacked Beauregard

10 Railroads: First Manassas On July 16, McDowell began to move to Centreville to attack Beauregard there Beauregard was alerted of McDowells movements and requested reinforcements McDowells lead division finally reached Centreville at 11:00 on July 18 and a brief clash with Confederates occurred

11 Railroads: First Manassas At around noon, Johnston marched out of Winchester to help support Beauregard Johnstons men boarded trains at Piedmont Station (now Delaplane), a stop on the Manassas Gap Railroad, and departed for Manassas Junction

12 Railroads: First Manassas They reached the Bull Run positions on the afternoon of July 21 Among the reinforcements was Jacksons 2,600-man brigade that arrived on Henry Hill around noon There Jackson made his famous stand that helped win the battle for the Confederates

13 Railroads: First Manassas The Confederate use of the railroads to tactically reinforce Beauregard represented the importance railroads would play in troop movements throughout the war Victory Rode the Rails: Jackson at Piedmont Station, July 19, 1861 by Mort Kunstler

14 Railroads: Chickamauga On Sept 9, Confederate Lieutenant General Braxton Bragg abandoned Chattanooga, Tennessee without a fight The loss of this important city spurred the Confederate high command into action and Bragg was reinforced by troops from General Joe Johnstons command in Mississippi James Longstreet also brought two divisions by rail from Robert E. Lees Army of Northern Virginia James Longstreet

15 Railroads: Chickamauga On Sept 19 Bragg attacked Federal Major General William Rosecrans near West Chickamauga Creek about 12 miles south of Chattanooga and won a great victory Longstreets reinforcements had given Bragg 66,000 men vs 56,000 for Rosecrans and were critical to the victory

16 Railroads: Chickamauga Rosecrans came under severe criticism for his conduct and Lincoln put Ulysses Grant in charge of all the western theater and Grant then replaced Rosecrans with George Thomas The Federals also sent two corps totaling 20,000 men from Meades Army of the Potomac by rail to reinforce the troops at Chattanooga

17 Railroads: Chickamauga The Federal reinforcements had a longer route to travel than Longstreets reinforcements had earlier, but because of the superior Federal railroads, they both arrived in 12 days The reinforcements helped the Federals win at Chattanooga

18 Steam Ships: Hatteras Inlet The Federals left Hampton Roads on August 26 and arrived off Hatteras Inlet, a break in the barrier islands off the NC coast that provided access to Pamlico Sound, on the 28 th That morning the Federals landed some 300 men north of the Confederate forts but the Army would play an inconsequential role in the attack It would be almost a completely naval affair

19 Steam Ships: Hatteras Inlet Federal Flag Officer Silas Stringham took advantage of his superior ordnance and began shelling Fort Clark while remaining outside the range of the Confederate guns The Confederates abandoned Fort Clark and withdrew to Fort Hatteras –The Federals took possession of the vacated Fort Clark BOMBARDMENT OF FORTS HATTTERAS AND CLARK BY THE UNITED STATES FLEET, UNDER FLAG-OFFICER STRINGHAM, U.S.N.

20 Steam Ships: Hatteras Inlet The next morning Stringham began shelling Fort Hatteras –Steam power made it possible for ships to fire while moving without being dependent on winds and currents –Stringham took advantage of this ability to run past the fort, firing as he went, and then come around again on a different course, making it hard for the Confederate gunners to get their range

21 Steam Ships: Hatteras Inlet Previously coastal forts had been considered superior to ships –One gun on land was considered equal to four on the water Stringham showed that with steam power and improved ordnance this was no longer the case This was bad news for the Confederacy which had inherited a coastal defense system based on the assumption of the superiority of the fort

22 Steam Ships: Port Royal Sound On November 7, a Federal fleet commanded by Admiral Samuel Du Pont attacked Port Royal Sound, South Carolina which was defended by two Confederate forts, Walker and Beauregard, which were less than three miles apart However, the forts guns were so inferior that DuPonts ships could move between them and stay out of range of both Fort Beauregard

23 Steam Ships: Port Royal Sound Du Pont used steam power to move his ships in an elliptical pattern to keep the two forts under continuous fire The Federal squadron advanced on the Fort Beauregard side and then turned left and returned on the Fort Walker side With each pass Du Pont widened the course to bring his guns closer to the target The changes in speed, range, and deflection made it difficult for the Confederates to range the fleet

24 Technology: Rifled Artillery Prior to the Civil War, there had not been a single instance in which cannon and mortar had breached heavy masonry walls at ranges beyond 1,000 yards After the War of 1812, General Simon Bernard began devising a plan for a system of 26 forts from which to defend the American coastline The Bernard system was built on the assumption that masonry forts could absorb a pounding The advent of rifled artillery would change that assumption

25 Rifled Artillery: Fort Pulaski Fort Pulaski sat on Cockspur Island where it defended the mouth of the Savannah River It had brick walls which were seven and a half feet thick and 35 feet high Federal forces occupied Tybee Island, over a mile away from Fort Pulaski General Robert E. Lee advised the Confederate commander the Federals could make it pretty warm for you here with shells, but they cannot breach your walls at that distance.

26 Rifled Artillery: Fort Pulaski On Apr 10, 1862 Federal Captain Quincy Gillmore began bombarding Fort Pulaski with batteries that included nine rifled cannons During a 30 hour bombardment Gillmore breached Fort Pulaskis walls and compelled the Confederates to surrender

27 Rifled Artillery: Fort Pulaski Gillmore noted that his success represented the first example, in actual warfare, of the breaching power of rifled ordnance at long range The implications were disastrous for the Confederacy whose coastal defense system was built around forts such as Fort Pulaski First, Hatteras Inlet had demonstrated that steam power had reversed the historic balance between ship and fort Now, Fort Pulaski had shown the vulnerability of masonry to rifled artillery One observer concluded, An entire defense system, which had taken nearly fifty years to perfect, was made obsolete in less than two days

28 Technology: Ironclads Ironclads had been introduced in the Crimean War, but, at the time of the Civil War, the US had none Early in the war, the Confederacy began to build an ironclad from the partially scuttled USS Merrimack The Federals soon followed with the Monitor

29 Peninsula Campaign: Ironclads After the Confederates converted the old USS Merrimack into an ironclad, they rechristened it the CSS Virginia –The casemate walls contained 24 inches of oak and pine timbers which were then covered with four inches of armor plating

30 Peninsula Campaign: Ironclads The presence of the Virginia posed a serious threat to the Federal fleet On March 8, the Virginia made its trial run and wreaked havoc among the five Federal blockade ships anchored in Hampton Roads As the tide ebbed, the Virginia withdrew to deeper waters, intending to finish her work the next day

31 Peninsula Campaign: Ironclads By then however, the Federal ironclad, the Monitor, had arrived on the scene The two fought to a tactical draw, but again the Virginia had to withdraw to deeper waters giving the Monitor a strategic victory The Virginia remained a threat, but fears that she would single-handedly destroy the Federal fleet were now abated

32 Technology: Ironclads Eventually the South would build 21 ironclads while the North built 58 Ironclads made wooden ships extremely vulnerable and caused a revolution in naval warfare Ironclads were crucial in running past the Vicksburg batteries but were unable to single-handedly defeat the tough Confederate defenses at Charleston

33 Technology: Submarines The Confederacy experimented with several submarines The most famous was the H. L. Hunley, a 40 foot long, 3.5 foot wide, and 4 foot deep cigar- shaped submarine Designed for a crew of nine –One man to steer and the other eight to power the vessel by hand- turning a crankshaft that moved the propeller In spite of sinking twice and drowning 13 men including its builder Horace L. Hunley, the Hunley received a third crew of volunteers

34 Submarines: Charleston On the night of February 17, 1864, the Hunley approached the 1,934-ton screw sloop Housatonic off the coast of Charleston The Housatonic spotted the Hunley and engaged her with small arms and tried to escape, but it was too late The Hunley exploded its 130-pound spar torpedo, and the Housatonic became the first ship in the history of naval warfare to be sunk by a submarine The blast however likely damaged the Hunley as well and she sunk while returning to shore

35 Technology: Mines In the Confederate withdrawal up the Virginia Peninsula in 1862, Brigadier General Gabriel Rains placed several primed artillery shells in abatis to slow the Federal pursuit This initiation of the use of land mines touched off several ethical debates Many Federals and Confederates considered such tactics barbaric Accordingly, Rains was assigned to develop the new technology for river and coastal defenses where it was considered more ethical

36 Mines: Mobile Bay To help narrow the channel at Mobile Bay the Confederates emplaced 180 torpedoes, submerged mines fitted with percussion caps or fulminate of mercury fuses that were rigged to detonate upon contact with a ships hull After his lead ship struck a mine, Federal Admiral David Farragut took charge saying, I shall lead, he said. Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead. Torpedoes were essential to Confederate coastal and river defenses where the Federal Navy had a clear advantage

37 Mines: USS Cairo The Confederates made extensive use of mines in defending Vicksburg On Dec 12, 1862 the USS Cairo became the first vessel sunk by an electronically detonated torpedo

38 Mines: USS Cairo In 1964 the Cairo was recovered from the Yazoo River and is now on display at the Vicksburg National Military Park

39 Technology: Telegraph The telegraph allowed both operational and strategic communications Operators could hook insulated wire into existing trunk lines to reach into the civilian telegraph network, and extend communications from the battlefield to the rear areas The telegraph allowed the administrations and War Departments in Washington and Richmond to communicate directly with their commanders in the field

40 Technology: Balloons Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe beat out several competitors to become the head of the US Balloon Corps On June 18, 1861 he sent President Lincoln the first telegraph message from the air during a demonstration flight Lowe eventually got seven balloons into service, sometimes flew off of an old coal barge as an aircraft carrier, and developed field generators to provide his hydrogen

41 Balloons: Peninsula Campaign During the Peninsula Campaign, Lowe ascended above the battlefield in a balloon and used the telegraph to relay his observations to eagerly awaiting Federal commanders like George McClellan Lowe ascending in the Intrepid to observe the battle of Fair Oaks

42 Next Student Presentations The US Civil War: Moves Toward Total War


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