Battle Tactics of the Civil War

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Yale University Press, 1989 - History - 239 pages
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The Civil War - which was fought with a new generation of weapons and trench systems similar to those of World War I - has traditionally been portrayed as the first modern war. Now Paddy Griffith argues that these innovations did not have a significant effect on the outcome or the conduct of the war, and that the conditions of combat were actually little changed from those of earlier times. Far from being the birthplace of modern battlefield tactics, says Griffith, the Civil War was in reality the last Napoleonic-style war. Reappraising the events, the weapons used, the men of the novice armies, their leaders, and the strategies employed, Griffith shows that despite the 'rifle revolution,' attacks still turned into protracted firefights at close range. Moreover, he demonstrates that the indecisive outcomes of so many Civil War battles - usually associated with modern warfare - had less to do with the mutual deterrence of massive firepower than with other factors such as terrain, doctrine, and command decisions. Rich in description and analysis, Griffith’s book will be of interest both to military historians and to Civil War buffs.

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User Review  - OzarkOrc - LibraryThing

Don't bother with the other recent books on American Civil War Tactis until you have absorbed this one. They all derive part of their basic research from this book, which is written in a lively and readable style. Read full review


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About the author (1989)

Paddy Griffith is a freelance military historian based in Manchester. His groundbreaking books on low-level tactics include "Forward Into Battle" (1981 and 1990), "Battle Tactics of the Civil War" (1986) and "Battle Tactics of the Western Front "(1994). He has also written extensively on wargames, and is currently active in the South Manchester Tactical Society and in the Battlefields Trust. The author lives in Manchester, UK.

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