The modern technology of the industrial change applied to the science of killing made the Civil battle a transforming point between the minimal combat the professional militaries of the 1700s and the "total" mobilization of civilization Wars I and II.

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Muzzle-loading firearms and also communication through drum, flag, and also bugle were holdovers native the past, but rifled weapons boosted the variety of firearms, and also telegraphy permitted distant armies to communicate and also coordinate. Railroads moved militaries faster than before, and iron ships, floor mines, hand grenades, and also torpedoes made their debut. Together reconnaissance balloons took battle to the skies, plenty of of the essential elements of contemporary warfare to be in place by 1865.

Text Messaging

For many of human history, the rate of communication was minimal by the swiftness the the pet carrying the messenger. Occurred in the 1830s, the electrical telegraph inaugurated the an initial communication revolution. Using electrical signals sent through wire, the telegraph enabled instantaneous interaction by making use of combinations that dots and also dashes to stand for letters. Electromagnetic relays, prefer this one, were offered to prolong the useful variety of the telegraph.

Not only did this allow distant military leaders to communicate and coordinate more effectively, yet newspaper reporters can send news come the residence front instantaneously as well. V this expanding media coverage, the army took on the added responsibility of controlling information and their armies.

Military Balloons

Although European armies experimented v aerial balloons as early as 1783, it was not till the Civil battle that they were supplied in America. Their presence compelled enemy leaders continually to conceal the placement and movement of their armies.

Following a demonstration because that President Lincoln in July 1861, Professor Thaddeus Lowe was granted permission come construct and operate balloons because that the Union army. The earliest flights arisen near Washington, D.C., where, because that the an initial time in armed forces history, airborne observers that s right directed pho fire. The Union balloon corps to be plagued through financial and personnel problems and disbanded in august 1863.

The Confederates emerged a balloon corps that made that Virginia debut at Yorktown in April 1862 but soon disbanded once its just balloon to be captured.

On April 9, 1862, Pvt. Robert Knox Sneden that the 40th brand-new York Infantry wrote that " balloon walk up for the very first time this forenoon. . . . They can see, of course, the inside of the enemy"s works, map out the outlines the parapets, and also count the guns already mounted, and note their bearings. Native this, the draughtsman can make the maps and plans i beg your pardon they are waiting for."

Revolution in ~ Sea

On march 8, 1862, the world"s first ironclad ship, CSS Virginia, damaged two wooden-hulled U.S. Warships in ~ Hampton Roads. A Virginia-born seafarer on the USS Cumberland observed, "None of our shots did appear to have actually an impact on her." This battle revolutionized naval warfare by proving that wood vessels to be obsolete versus ironclads.

The following day the Union’s an initial ironclad—the USS Monitor—arrived and fought the Virginia to a draw, ensuring the safety of the Union blockade fleet. A Union sailor from Staunton remarked that "John Bull will have actually to build a new navy." in ~ weeks, great Britain—the world’s leading naval power—canceled building and construction of wooden ships.

Constructed ~ above the salvaged hull of the captured USS Merrimack, the very first Confederate ironclad was rechristened the CSS Virginia. Artist Xanthus Smith and also the north press, however, rejected that name in donate of the alliteration the Monitor and also Merrimack.

War Rides the Rails

For countless years, every military that walk into battle did so by the power of men and also animals carrying it throughout the countryside. Through 1860, however, 30,626 mile of railroad monitor spread throughout the unified States—1,771 of this in Virginia.

Locomotives traveled 5 times as quick as mule-drawn wagons, transported soldiers close to the step of fight without tiring them, and allowed armies to operate farther from your bases of supply.

The strategic prominence of railroads had tendency to channel offensive operations along the courses of rail lines. Rail centers—such as Grafton, Manassas, Petersburg, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and also Wytheville—became necessary military objectives.

Throughout the war, Confederate forces in Virginia slowed joined States troop activities by damaging wooden bridges that covered Virginia’s countless rivers and streams. The artist, Alfred Wordsworth Thompson, noted: “The damage of Locomotives on the Baltimore & Ohio R. Road has been terrible; no much less than 50 of the best kind having actually been burned or broken up, at Martinsburg & various other points top top the Road."


, 1931, VHS accession number: 1994.121)" />Photography was just two years old once the Civil battle began. Acquisition a photograph was a slow process and battlefields were too chaotic and dangerous because that photographers. Wartime photographs, therefore, contained individual and also group portraits, camp scenes, and the grisly aftermath of battle.

On the joined States side, most photographs to be made through entrepreneurs. The only photographer hired by the armed forces who left a an extensive body of work was Capt. Andrew J. Russell. Russell offered as a photographer because that the U.S. Army Railroad and the Quartermaster Corps. His images capture the technology, infrastructure, and also transportation systems supplied to move and also supply Union armies.

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The album of 132 photographs is among only several bound volumes compiled by Russell that endure in their initial form.