The rifle musket in Civil War combat: reality and myth

Front Cover
University Press of Kansas, 2008 - History - 288 pages
1 Review
"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." "Hess contends that its impact was much more 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 shortrange 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, reenactors, and gun enthusiasts alike."--BOOK JACKET.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth

User Review  - Nick - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

Contents

The First Rifle War
35
The Gun Culture of Civil War Soldiers
61
The Rifle Musket in Battle
85
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Earl J. Hess is Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. He is author or editor of nine other books, including "Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War: The Eastern Campaigns, 1861-1864" (from the University of North Carolina Press).