I think the impression of most people is still the formation of muskets, artillery and cavalry.

from the war of independence to the civil war, but also the whole west, not just the United States. This topic is a little big. It’s better to take out the technological progress during the civil war and give a brief introduction. During the civil war, the military of the west developed at a high speed like a bull. This war connected two times. In front of it was the line war of queuing and killing, and behind it was the modern war mode that lasted until World War I. During this period, there have been many breakthrough military technologies, many of which are enough to change the world.

individual weapons (extended reading: evolution history of war weapons – individual weapons) the civil war period was a stage of rapid development of individual weapons. Generally speaking, Follow the development of the following: Mercury loaded rifles / muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets > muskets >.

front loaded flint musket rifle is an infantry weapon widely used in the era of line war, but it has been less used at the beginning of the civil war. This is a typical front loaded smooth bore gun. Front loading means that the projectile (round lead bullet, do not swallow) and propellant must be loaded from the muzzle. Smooth bore means that there is no rifling, and the accuracy of medium and long distance cannot be guaranteed. For the relationship between line warfare and muskets, please refer to another answer: what is the significance of close range volley in gun warfare in the 18th century- Users of historical records answered




. In fact, people have long known that rifling firearms can make lead bullets spin at high speed and increase the stability and shooting accuracy in flight. However, since early firearms were filled with front bore, it is not so simple to insert lead bullets with tight caliber into rifled barrel. Musketeers even need a small hammer and an iron bar to hit the lead bullet into the bottom of the barrel bit by bit. Until then there was something called Minnie bomb. As shown in the figure, the mini bullet is a warhead with pits. Its caliber is slightly smaller than that of the barrel, so it can be loaded easily. When firing, the mini bullet will expand and deform due to shape and heat, which perfectly matches the caliber and rifling of the barrel. So far, it is only a matter of time for the wire bore gun to completely replace the smooth bore gun. In the era of muskets, infantry rarely fought more than 150 yards. In fact, more than 100 yards is basically equivalent to blind fighting. Infantry using rifles can shoot accurately at a distance of 200 yards, and the maximum combat distance extends to 300 or even 400 yards. The

Thunderbolt impactor was later invented. Previously, in addition to pouring propellant into the barrel, the flint rifle also poured some gunpowder at the medicine pot of the flint machine to ignite the propellant in the barrel. It is quite troublesome and prone to failure at the same time. The rifle using the thunderbolt machine, Basically, there has never been a case of not getting angry. However, the most important significance of the thunderbolt gun is that, It makes the independent component of “primer” become a concept, which is wrapped in the minds of military designers. People gradually began to think that if the paper shell fixed loading can make the propellant and warhead together, why can’t we also make the primer, so that we don’t have to manually install a thunderbolt at the gun machine every time we load?

So the fixed loading bomb appeared soon. Unlike the paper shell bomb, this kind of ammunition also made the primer into it. First, it was packed with linen, and then changed to metal shell, using Minni warhead.




followed by the rear loaded gun is a revolutionary breakthrough in individual weapons. It is the epitome of all the above development. With rifling, thunderbolt firing and fixed ammunition, it is ready, only due to the east wind. The meaning of rear loading gun is that it can be loaded at the back of the barrel, which leads to two results: first, soldiers no longer need to stand and load, looking for shelter and favorable terrain, so it becomes acceptable. Secondly, the average time for soldiers to load ammunition once has been reduced from 30 seconds to 8 seconds or less, which means that a soldier can shoot more than seven times per minute. At this point, the infantry fire began to go crazy.

rear loaded rifles laid the prototype of modern single shot rifles, but the firearms designers at that time still felt that they were not strong enough. They felt that it was not enough to fire one bullet at a time, so they began to study rapid fire weapons. The rifles and revolvers that appeared at the end of the civil war are infinitely close to modern firearms. The Spencer rifle shown above appeared in 1865. This rifle can shoot out seven bullets in the barrel in 15 seconds and refill all ammunition in 15 seconds. In contrast, the line infantry who used front loaded muskets around 1815 usually fired only 2-3 lead bullets per minute, and their range and accuracy were very different. All this happened in just 50 years – you know, in the 19th century, 50 years was a very slow process.

rifles, afterloading guns and shells (extended reading: evolution history of war weapons – artillery power) the emergence of rifles is a revolution in heavy fire support weapons. The difference between smooth bore gun and wire bore gun, as well as the difference in firing accuracy between them, has been mentioned in previous chapters, and this difference is particularly exaggerated in artillery. In the early days of the civil war, the 12 pound front loaded smooth bore gun used by people generally had a range of no more than 1000 yards, and the accuracy basically depended on Mongolia. The 12 pound wittworth rear loaded linear bore gun shown in the figure appeared on the battlefield in 1864 and was able to hit 10 shells at almost the same point at a distance of 1600 yards. The subsequent emergence of various types of linear bore guns increased the firing distance of artillery to 3000 or even 4000 yards at one go. The famous Armstrong rotary jet… No, it’s the Armstrong gun. Its original model was invented during this period。 In addition, the artillery in this period also gradually changed from the front chamber to the rear chamber, and the ammunition changed from sub loading to fixed loading.

Gatling machine gun (extended reading: evolution history of war weapons – machine gun) Gatling machine gun was invented during the civil war and can be called the earliest machine gun in the world. Although it was not mature in terms of reliability and use at that time, it still showed the great lethality of rapid fire firearms. This machine gun has multiple barrels, and the rear of each barrel has its own firing device, which uses a straight magazine filled with fixed ammunition to supply ammunition. When the user rotates the handle, the ammunition will complete a series of actions at each barrel in turn, such as extraction, loading, ready to fire, firing, shell extraction, exit, and repeat the cycle to achieve automatic shooting. The firepower and accuracy of a Gatling machine gun are almost equal to that of an infantry platoon, but in actual combat, its reliability makes its overall evaluation not positive.

armored ships

armored ships were not invented during the civil war. However, during the civil war, the duel between the southern Virginia (above right) and the northern Monet (above left) at the Hampton anchorage was the first direct confrontation between armored ships, among which, Virginia still adopts the side row gun arrangement, while Monet arranges a rotatable armored turret on the central axis in advance. In addition, both adopt the low freeboard design, both use steam power for propulsion, and both adopt armored protection. The latter two belong to the advanced design when they were still in the sail age. The actual combat results showed that the sail warship could not compete with the armored ship at all. The southern Virginia had previously hit several northern sail warships unharmed, and the latter far exceeded the former in terms of tonnage, personnel and artillery. The northern army reluctantly lowered the Monet against it. The two sides fought for four hours at the Hampton anchorage, basically without injury, and then went home. The onlookers on the shore asked for a refund, which fully demonstrated the protective ability of the armored ship. It is hard to say what role this battle played in the development of armored ships. However, after that, armored ships and steam power began to replace traditional sail warships at a faster speed. The era of armored ships undoubtedly began with these two strange things. This era ended in the Dadonggou naval battle, but that’s another story.

firepower enhancement, fortifications, the impact of the scattered line

during the civil war, with the firepower enhancement brought about by technological progress, more and more people began to realize the importance of fortifications. In the field, the situation of face-to-face shooting at each other began to decrease, and the line-up tactics of queuing and killing gradually came to an end. At the end of and after the civil war, evil light weapons such as rear loaded guns, continuous firing guns and revolvers gradually stepped onto the stage, and the scene of waiting in line to kill gradually disappeared. Instead, the soldiers scattered their actions and launched an attack with the help of shelters and favorable terrain.


the civil war was also the first war in which both sides used railways on a large scale for supply transportation and troop mobilization. Using railways, both sides have carried out large-scale and rapid troop mobilization. Before that, no force has been able to attack a position or block an enemy force over a distance of hundreds of kilometers in a few days or even hours. In addition to troop mobilization, railway transportation can also greatly improve the supply handling capacity. As we all know, the supply line is the core of war. Being able to transport more supplies means being able to support a larger army on the front line. Armed armored trains can also well control the areas along the railway from being disturbed by the enemy’s mobile forces. In the civil war, many important battles were carried out along the railway. In fact, as early as the Crimean War, the war ability of the railway was obvious to all, and the Yankees in the civil war were ready-made. Until today, the railway is still an important component of the national strategy. Where the railway is built, the influence extends to where.


just like all the inventions of this era, the telegraph was used to transmit important information at the beginning of its invention, and the most important information in the world is military intelligence. Before there was no telegram, the means of information transmission were nothing more than flag language, howling, carrier pigeon and hand delivery. The scope of the first two transmission was limited, and the latter two were either extremely unreliable or took a long time, so that the time of information delivery was often too late until the emergence of telegram. During the civil war, Telegraph has been widely used in high-level communication and the transmission of important information. The final result of the combination of Telegraph and railway transportation is that the reaction speed and mobility of the troops have reached an unprecedented level. It was totally unimaginable that a team of tens of thousands of people could accept orders from thousands of miles away in a few hours and quickly rush to any place with the help of railways, or even complete combat deployment before the other party.

aerial reconnaissance

the first cases of putting hot-air balloons into investigation and attack were all in the European continent, but the large-scale use of hot-air balloons for investigation was during the civil war. Both sides almost habitually ran around with hot-air balloons and took off to observe anything. The observation advantage brought by altitude is extremely significant. As long as a hot-air balloon can monitor a large area. Other countries in the same period followed suit one after another. Until the early stage of World War I, hot-air balloons were still performing the duty of air reconnaissance, and then replaced by better aircraft that could invade the enemy’s airspace for observation.

all these military developments mentioned above were quickly applied by other countries (especially European countries) and summarized into their respective military systems. However, another military development born in the Civil War – the greatest and most destructiveSexual – but not valued by these countries. This is the shadow of the overall war. For the first time, the Civil War showed the mobilization ability and war potential of modern industrialized countries. It foreshadowed such a future: as long as such countries are willing or forced to do so, they can do their best to bet all their bets on a war. This kind of war will no longer be the confrontation between the army and the army, but the final confrontation between the overall industrial strength and the war potential. At that time, there will be no distinction between North and south, people will not be old or young, and once the war machine is started, all citizens will become its fuel. The cases in the civil war implied people’s future vision again and again. Unfortunately, the European powers didn’t think so until the first World War.

if the biggest military progress in the western world during this period is anything, there is no doubt that it is the overall War born during the civil war.