The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth

The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat Reality and Myth The Civil War s single shot muzzle loading musket revolutionized warfare or so we ve been told for years Noted historian Earl J Hess forcefully challenges that claim offering a new clear eyed and

  • Title: The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth
  • Author: Earl J. Hess
  • ISBN: 9780700616077
  • Page: 124
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Civil War s single shot, muzzle loading musket revolutionized warfare or so we ve been told for years Noted historian Earl J Hess forcefully challenges that claim, offering a new, clear eyed, and convincing assessment of the rifle musket s actual performance on the battlefield and its impact on the course of the Civil War.Many contemporaries were impressed with the nThe Civil War s single shot, muzzle loading musket revolutionized warfare or so we ve been told for years Noted historian Earl J Hess forcefully challenges that claim, offering a new, clear eyed, and convincing assessment of the rifle musket s actual performance on the battlefield and its impact on the course of the Civil War.Many contemporaries were impressed with the new weapon s increased range of 500 yards, compared to the smoothbore musket s range of 100 yards, and assumed that the rifle was a major factor in prolonging the Civil War Historians have also assumed that the weapon dramatically increased casualty rates, made decisive victories rare, and relegated cavalry and artillery to far lesser roles than they played in smoothbore battles.Hess presents a completely new assessment of the rifle musket, contending that its impact was much limited than previously supposed and was confined primarily to marginal operations such as skirmishing and sniping He argues further that its potential to alter battle line operations was virtually nullified by inadequate training, soldiers preference for short range firing, and the difficulty of seeing the enemy at a distance He notes that bullets fired from the new musket followed a parabolic trajectory unlike those fired from smoothbores at mid range, those rifle balls flew well above the enemy, creating two killing zones between which troops could operate untouched He also presents the most complete discussion to date of the development of skirmishing and sniping in the Civil War.Drawing upon the observations and reflections of the soldiers themselves, Hess offers the most compelling argument yet made regarding the actual use of the rifle musket and its influence on Civil War combat Engagingly written and meticulously researched, his book will be of special interest to Civil War scholars, buffs, re enactors, and gun enthusiasts alike.

    392 Comment

    • Clarke Wood says:

      Until about ten years ago, the standard interpretation of civil war combat was that the rifled musket and field fortifications revolutionized war and the US civil war was a precursor to the First World War. The high casualty rates in the war are attributed to the rifle, along with outdated tactics and the myopia of many military leaders. A number of scholars have challenged this interpretation, and Mr. Hess wrote a whole book about this. To summarize, while the rifled musket influenced skirmishi [...]

    • Nick says:

      The author set himself the very difficult task of proving a negative. His premise was that most other authors on the subject of Civil War weaponry were wrong, and that the technology of rifling did NOT have a major influence on combat.Several facts he presented were very enlightening, such as the fact that a rifled musket actually has a lower velocity for the bullet as it leaves the barrel than a smoothbore. On the other hand, he didn't seem to mention the more rapid drop-off of velocity, and hi [...]

    • Chuck says:

      A fairly comprehensive book on the rifle-musket and the civil war. The author wrote well and I enjoyed the book. It was well researched and highly informative. But the book seemed fairly technical and dispassionate. I did not get the feeling that he was out there with muzzle-loading/black powder groups shooting every weekend. Clearly to write a book on this subject requires a lot of love for the subject. But the author's voice in the writing did not convey that to me as a reader.I highly recomme [...]

    • Danielle says:

      I absolutely loved this book! Chapter 1 was a little rough because I didn't understand all the parts of the gun, but once I found a diagram of a Cvil War musket I was good to go. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

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