Cannons.

Joined
Sep 4, 2008
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Location
Buffalo, MN
#41
Wow, for someone new (obviously) I am a poet seeking in depth knowledge about this conflict for purposes related to a manuscript not exclusively about the CW and you guys from ole to 67th to ME to johan and all the others are an invaluable source for people like me that don't exactly know where to start.

Thank you very much.

If I can ask one broad question, how much would you say the artillery mattered compared to the infantry and such?

I am not asking for kill ratios I would just like to know how much these fairly complex groups of artillery changed the war.

Thanks.
 

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North Durham, England
#42
Very few, if any, land battles were won exclusively by artillery. The only exception I can think of would be the final Union attack at Spotsylvannia. The attack was stopped in its tracks by Confederate artillery. Confederate infantry were said after the battle to have gone up to the guns and patted or even kissed them. There may be other examples, I have no doubt someone will provide a few!
Artillery batteries often became the centre of very hot engagements. To capture enemy guns was a great prize for an infantry regiment. What may be described as unnecessary risks were taken to capture guns. You will probably find examples of this in most major battles.
The situation where artillery was sometimes king of the battlefield can be found in engagements with gunboats. A good example here to look at would be 1862 Drurys Bluff. Union gunboats, including the Monitor, attempted to force a passage of the James River. After a fierce exchange of fire, the gunboats were forced to abandon their advance. Of course, you will also find examples where a passage was forced against forts. New Orleans would be a good example.
Good battles to study artillery in action would be Antietam Creek, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2008
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Buffalo, MN
#44
Thanks a lot. I have recently been studying Antietam. What an extraordinary time that mo0st americans know nothing about, sadly.

This board will keep me busy for some time.

I also must say that everyone here appears to be fairly competent and rewarding to talk to unlike many message boards.

Almost like the strange politeness of all the old letters of the war.

To think they were 'so' barbaric and yet they write and speak more sophisticated than we do today!
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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#45
I believe Blockaderunner to be very much correct: there were few, if any, battles won exclusively by artillery. However, it was military suicide to embark on a campaign or battle without your artillery. Grant paid a heavy price in the Wilderness for not having adequate artillery support; as did Hood at Franklin. Much of the failure of "Pickett's Charge" was in the Confederate artillery's inability to drive the Union Artillery from the field.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
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#46
Arty can be thought to have been decisive at several battles. But it was infantry that did most of the fighting and dieing. Battles such as Malvern Hill, Shiloh, Fredricksburg, Spotsylvania etc. all were battles heavily influenced by arty.

US Arty usually being thought to be the better... largely because of more ammo for training and far more better trained gunners. It is understandable why Lee used the terrain as he did in the Overland campaign, he was carefull never to place his Army in a position where the superior weight and quality of US arty could be brought to bear upon his army.

Sherman believed one gun was worth a thousand infantrymen. Not so much in killing power but in morale both as a booster and a detriment if firing at you. Though its killing power was not to be scoffed at. I think such sentiments are correct.

The accuracy of the CW cannon is often misundrstood or pooh poohed. The reality is that a good gunner could put a 3" ordnance bolt through an open door at 1000 yards. I've know of a modern 3" Rifle crew that knocked the bum hole out of a 55 gallon oil drum at 750 yards... not once but twice w/ just three shots and all three shots hit the various drums. That is deadly accurate shooting. Modern gun crews have been able to consistantly hit man sized targets at ranges of well over 1000 yards. And these are not guys who spend day after day in practice or in deadly earnest.

At the same time against a determined attacker, such as at Missionary Ridge, overconfidence because of cannon could be seriously detrimental.

But all it takes is one graphic period letter describing the killing power of cannon to understand why the soldier of the day had so much respect for them. Reading of seeing men in fornt of a gun turned into bloody mist after a Napolean fired double canister at forty yards... or of watching a column disintigrate when a 3" rifle fired cannister into them. There are literallly hosts of such details telling of the brutal capability of cannon at close range. And at long range... General Lee lost a horse and had an aide killed by accurate long range fire. One CS general was disembowled by such fire.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2008
Messages
34
Location
Buffalo, MN
#47
As a sensitive person that is mindblowing.

I can empathize with people, to the point where I want to be there because their pain was so great, and their courage so true.

Something I hope for in the future, which, some people may not agree with, is a videogame of the civi war.

We have call of duty and waaaaaaay too many world war shooters but exactly no realistic civil war games.

I know it would put things into perspective.

I have watched the movies but they are very technical and quite tame as for graphic realism.

I cannot quite imagine a cannon barreling into my chest but you made me think.
 

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