Impact of technological innovations on the civil war both on and off the battlefield
Civil war is a battle between organized groups within the same country or republic. American civil war lasted from the year 1861 to 1865; it was between the Union States and the Southern States or Confederate States. The conflict was brought about by the opposing views on slavery.
Technological innovations had an impact on the war. The civil war initiated industrial wars. They used railroads, telegraphs and steamships. There was the mobilization of civilian banks, mines, and mass production of weapons and food supplies. The railroad was an innovation when civil war started in America. The railroad was able to supply a huge number of armies making it possible for army men to be in the battle field all year. Another success was that it enabled transportation of food supplies and heavy ammunitions. The North railroads provided the union army to outlast the south who often ran low on supplies. The North had standardized gauge that allowed for transferring of vehicles instead of unloading and reloading freight. The south did not have a standard gauge.
There was much progress in medicine. President Lincoln banned exporting of medicine from the north to the south earlier. The north developed extensive network of hospitals all the way through the Northern states and close behind the battle lines, using the railroad to transport injured soldiers. The first use of modern anesthetics and chloroform was in the Northern armies. The south, particularly Virginia, had large hospitals but hospital care given was not as modern as the South’s. The south had neither hospital supplies nor the ability to transport wounded soldiers.
Infantry soldiers carried muskets that carried only one bullet before the civil war. The muskets were approximately 250 yards; one had to get close to their target to aim and shoot since the muskets’ effective shooting range was 80 yards. The armies fought battles at a relatively close range. Rifles had a greater shooting range could shoot up to 1000 yards and were more accurate than the muskets, though, they took longer to load such that, at times, they had to pound the bullet with a mallet into the barrel. Continued technology brought the ‘Minie balls’ a cone shaped lead bullet with a smaller diameter than the rifle barrel. Soldiers could load the Minie balls faster since they did not need use of mallets; this made them deadlier and more accurate which changed the way the infantries fought. Troops far from the first line protected themselves by building trenches and fortifications. The ‘Minie bullets’ were easy and quicker to load, but the soldiers had to pause and reload after each shot, this proved to be inefficient and dangerous. The repeating rifles was the next option where they could fire more than one bullet before reloading that could fire seven shots in 30 seconds. These weapons again were majorly available to northern troops not the southern who lacked the information on how to make them.
President Lincoln communicated on the spot with his officers on the battlefield using the telegraph. It enabled him to monitor battlefields reports, direct real time strategies and deliver to his men. The confederate army lacked industrial knowledge and technology to conduct information on a large scale. The Union Army trained its army to operate the telegraph thus messages to and from the battlefield were sent. The media helped the public stay updated on the war. The press still makes people aware of ongoing wars.
Both sides used the submarines that were manually operated to fire targets. There is a debate if the union and confederates offset their costs through advantages gained. Many submarines sunk during trial runs thus played a small part during the war, but they have had a significant role in navy warfare long after civil war. Today’s submarines are complex, powerful and reliable in times of attack.
The many technological innovations of the Union States in medicine, communication, transport system contributed to their success.