History in the Making

Document Type



The American Civil War (1861-1865) is one of the United States’ most defining moments. It remains the deadliest war ever fought by the United States and involved many new military technologies. This paper seeks to disprove the narrative that the Union and Confederate militaries failed to utilize these new technologies to their advantage. Many primary sources from officers and enlisted men prove they were aware of the significance of these technologies and used them effectively. Furthermore, this paper will draw upon a number of secondary sources to support this argument. Repeating weapons, breech-loaded weapons, and rifling were all used efficiently and rationally, and the more archaic tactics which persisted throughout the war, such as massed-infantry formations, were born of necessity, rather than ignorance of these new technologies.