Weaponry

Overview

The American Civil War has been referred to as the last of the ancient wars and the first of the modern wars. When the Civil War was first begun, weaponry of all types was in short supply. Many soldiers were issued antiquated, imported, and nearly obsolete weapons. However, by the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, a few quality types were obtained in large numbers and became standard issue to the soldiers of both armies.

Although more innovative and experimental weaponry was introduced during the Civil War all other previous wars combined, the military units relied on traditional Napoleonic-style tactics. Infantry fought in closely-knit formations of two rows, each man standing side by side. This formation was devised when the smoothbore musket was the normal weapon on the battlefield and the close ranks were a necessity due to the muskets limitations. Even with the advance of the rifle musket, which included grooves in the barrel allowing much greater range and accuracy, officers believed the old-fashioned drill formations were useful. Unfortunately, this slow change resulted in a higher rate of casualties on the battlefield.