Civil War Technology.

Essay by simonc383University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2003

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Many technological advancements were implemented during the Civil War. Some of these include the introduction of the ironclad to naval warfare. The use of the railroad to speed armies and supplies around the country, high speed communication via the telegraph, the use of rifles that would change tactical warfare forever and the introduction of new medical practices and ambulance corps.

One of the major technological advancements brought on by the Civil War was the introduction of the Ironclad into battle. These new craft were mainly made by encasing wooden vessels with thick plates of steel. These new ships could repel enemy fire as well as ram inferior wooden ship into pieces. One such ship built by the confederates was the Virginia, "The Ironclad carried ten guns and an iron ram on her prow; she moved slowly and awkwardly, powered by the two old engines of the Merimack, and it took half an hour to turn her around.

In the harbor of the Hampton Roads, the Virginia, on her first day at war, attacked five Union ships" (McFreely, 17) "Five Union ships containing 219 guns guarded the mouth of the James River at Hampton Roads but the fighting this day would make them obsolescent. What day-the worst in the eighty-six year history of the U.S. Navy. The Virginia sank two proud ships." (McPherson, 375,376)

The Confederates were not alone in the building of ironclad although not everyone shared in the enthusiasm of theses new ship" Secretary of navy Welles did not at first want to experiment with new fangled notions. But rumors of rebel activities caused Congress to force his hand with a law of August 3, 1861, directing the construction of three prototype ironclads." (McPherson, 374) several designs were submitted but John Ericssons was the one the Navy department accepted.