The Civil War

Civil War Weapons

Civil War Weapons
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.94

     challenging words:    bowie, breech, carbine, cartridge, fire-power, mortars, pikes, rifling, telescopic, killing, rifled, bridging, proposition, greatly, multiple, notorious
     content words:    Civil War

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Civil War Weapons
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     Do you ever wonder what it might have been like to take part in the Civil War? Even as the war began, weapons were changing. As they changed, the whole method of fighting would have to change with it.
2     The Civil War is often referred to as the first modern war. The use of newer, more efficient means of killing-- coupled with poor hygiene and worse nutrition-- brought about huge losses of lives. Approximately 620,000 men died-- with disease killing two-thirds of them.
3     When the war began, they still used the old form of fighting with armies. They would form up in masses across from one another to keep fire-power concentrated. This was necessary because smooth bore rifles and pistols did not have a long range, and they were also inaccurate.
4     When rifled weapons were introduced, the speed and distance a bullet could go was greatly increased, as was the accuracy of the weapon. Rifling is the name of the shallow spiral channel on the inside of the rifle barrel. It caused the bullet to spin as it was forced through the barrel. The spinning caused it to go faster without wobbling. Suddenly, being in a massed formation was a much deadlier proposition. Instead of concentrating fire-power, it concentrated on the human targets. After that, the armies were less likely to be massed together. Instead, they moved in narrow lines, often utilizing what cover was available.

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