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28

The sights on the Springfield Model 1861 had settings for three distances: 100, 300, and 500 yards. In the civil war, however, many battles were fought at much closer range. According to Battle Tactics of the Civil War (Paddy Griffith) many were fought inside of 100 yards. At this shorter range, the bullet didn't drop as much as the sights were calibrated ...


25

After President Lincoln's election on the 6th of November 1860, the eleven Confederate states did not secede immediately. South Carolina, and then the remaining six states of the lower south (Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas) seceded from the Union between the 20th of November and 1st of February 1861, leaving Arkansas, Tennessee, ...


22

The fundamental cause of southern secession (and ultimately the Civil War) was the US's inability to solve slavery at the national level. The Civil War was not fundamentally about "states rights". Asserting a state's right to secede doesn't speak to why the state wants to secede. Steven's citation of reasons in his answer only serve to underline this. When ...


20

As far as Union states go, this table seems to provide accurate information. However, the info on Confederate army is very incomplete. You can find statements that North Carolina supplied the most soldiers (125,000) to the Confederate army all over the Internet. The original source seems to be a speech from 1904 by Hon. Theodore F. Davidson in Raleigh: ...


14

I believe this is referring to the gag rule (aka: Pickney Resolution 3) of the US House, adopted in 1836. It read: Resolved, That all petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions, or papers, relating in any way or to any extent whatever to the subject of slavery, or the abolition of slavery, shall, without being either printed or referred, be ...


12

The most persuasive answer to this that I have read recently can be found in "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America" by Colin Woodard. It has been a few years since I read it, but if I remember correctly, he posits that different cultural patterns that were set in the first few generations of settlement got ...


11

Gettysburg was pretty much a last ditch effort by Lee and Jefferson Davis to save the Confederacy or at least give it some credibility. There were different objectives that led to the attack in the first place. For one thing, the war in the West was going against the Confederates, and if the West fell, and more importantly access to the Mississippi River, ...


11

Besides the battle losses, the period around the battle of Gettysburg had two important strategic effects. 1) It established the winner, George G. Meade, as the General of the army of the Potomac. 2) More to the point, it established U.S. Grant, who captured Vicksburg at about the same time as Meade's boss. The Army of the Potomac began the 1864 campaign ...


11

It's unclear what you mean by "good enough reason to use them"? If you mean "won't lead to strategically affecting resource losses", then it depends entirely on resources your country/army has. If you mean "won't lead to strategically affecting morale", then I'd say this depends in large part on the circumstances surrounding the war. Morale is affected by ...


11

First off, the Civil War went a lot deeper than slavery. Ever since the foundation of the United States of America, there was enmity between the North and the South. The two regions had radically different cultures, which made it hard for them to get along. The South had a much smaller population, fewer large cities, and was overall rural. The North was full ...


10

In 1861, the US issued an announcement that they were looking for designers to submit plans for an ironclad ship. They did this in response to information they were obtaining indicating that the South had already begun building their own ironclad ships. Realizing that there was no way they could defeat an ironclad navy with their own wooden ships, the US ...


10

This was an ongoing problem with musket armed soldiery; in the Peninsular and Napoleonic wars, in-experienced infantry often shot high, and given that Brown Bess was the standard musket for the British Army from 1722, presumably an issue at least since then. As such I am doubtful whether the sights of Springfield rifles are a key factor in this problem! At ...


9

The ends justify the means. I'm sure we've all heard that statement before, but it's never more true than in a war of attrition. As long as your goals are met, then the tactics are justified. If Grant had failed to break the Confedrates, then he would have been just one more Union general who proved to be inept, and his tactics would have been questioned ...


9

I think this may be a(nother) case of alleged American exceptionalism :) Is there any known intrinsic reason as to why American Civil War generals might have led their troops into multi-day battles as a result of new invention in warfare, or is it perhaps simply the case that this war consisted of a long string of battles, hence also of relatively many ...


8

Unlike the Army, where a disproportionate number of officers came from the South, the U.S. navy was pretty much dominated by the North. One evidence of this was the fact that the fleet in Norfolk, Virginia, was scuttled by its sailors to prevent in from falling into the hands of the South. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Monitor A major reason that the ...


8

Sherman's "March to the Sea" hurt the CSA's economy and helped to end the war. An estimate of the damage in dollars, made by Sherman stated that the campaign had inflicted about 100 million dollars worth of damage. To put that into context, the CSA, in 1863, had only 700 million dollars worth of bonds, (money in those days did not work as it does today) and ...


8

The American Civil war in fact had many innovations. The most well-known was the first naval battle between iron warships. It was also the first war where the Gatling gun (forerunner of the modern machine gun) was used. By the end of the war many soldiers were using proper automatic personal weapons (Spencer and Henry repeating rifles). Getting a bit more ...


8

It is a mistake to think of the Battle of the Wilderness as a Confederate Victory. While it is true that Union losses exceeded Confederate losses, Grant could replenish his and Lee couldn't. Lee had to destroy the Union army to win, and Grant just had to wear Lee down. Further, though Grant vacated the battlefield following the battle, he advanced rather ...


7

The first battle occurred at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861. After its seccession, South Carolina demanded that the US withdraw its military presence from Charleston, but instead the Army commander relocated his forces to the island fortress at the mouth of Charleston Harbor. This led to a standoff, and when the fort's supplies grew thin ...


7

George McClellan was a "whiz kid" promoted to commander of the Army of the Potomac at the young age of 34. He was superbly trained (at West Point) and trained his men well, but lacked the confidence for serious fighting that comes with experience. http://legacy.bishopireton.org/faculty/jaspere/McClellan.htm He himself admitted, “It would have been better ...


7

As a resident of Loudoun County, Virginia, and the owner of two houses that changed hands multiple times during the war, I find it far more reasonable to tie the variation not to climate, but rather to the crops grown in said climate. (John Monroe’s house is less than 3 miles from my own, and I live on Bull Run Mountain — yes, that Bull Run.) Virginia gets ...


7

Actually, no... the first submarines used in warfare appeared in the Revolutionary War, and two more were deployed (unsuccessfully) by the US in the War of 1812. 1) No, because they weren't very practical or successful until John Phillip Holland and Electric Boat perfected the battle submarine at the turn of the century. 2) The first modern military ...


6

I do not think that there exists evidence to show that the founding fathers anticipated a civil war would break out over the issue of slavery. The founding fathers were largely against the institution of slavery, but the southern delegates (where the economy was completely dependent upon slavery) were for the institution. There were some steps taken to ...


6

There are lengthy discussions on the topic of factions and mitigating the risks of insurrection in the Federalist Papers and in the responses written by anti-Federalists. The most notable paper on this subject was Federalist No. 10.


6

Ironclad (and iron-hulled) warships were just beginning to be built when the American civil war broke out. There was no established design for them, and none had been tested in actual battle. This was the beginning of a period of rapid evolution of designs, which culminated 40 years later in the a somewhat standardized form, the dreadnought or battleship. ...


6

The Confederates had 644 troops under the command of Colonel William Oates, compared to the 358 Union soldiers under the command of Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. At the end of the day, Oates reported that only 223 enlisted men and 19 officers responded to roll call, which means he lost nearly half of his men. The 20th Maine under Chamberlain reported having ...


6

Sectionalism was in fact a major element of the civil war. At the risk of oversimplifying, the strongest conflict was between the Northeastern industrial states (New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey), and the "South,"( basically the 11 states that made up the Confederacy). In addition, there were two other sections: the Midwest, and border ...


5

I highly recommend Charles Dew's Apostles of Disunion which lets the words of the secession commisioners speak for themselves. In late 1860 and early 1861, state-appointed commissioners traveled the length and breadth of the slave South carrying a fervent message in pursuit of a clear goal: to persuade the political leadership and the citizenry ...


5

In June 1864, as General (later President) Ulysses S. Grant was leading the Army of the Potomac against Richmond, Lee DID order an offensive by one of his better remaining subordinates, General Jubal Early. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubal_Early Early debouched from the Shenandoah Valley, cut a swath across Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, and ...


5

There's nothing in the Constitution specifically allowing it. The closest any part really comes to addressing seccession is the following (from Article 4, Section 3): Section. 3.New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by ...



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