Industrial Technology and the Civil War:
The Evolution of Modern Warfare


"It was the first great war to be fought in the era of the Industrial Revolution and so it showed the effects of the technological advances in industry and agriculture which were to revolutionize warfare.  It showed also the growing importance of economic factors in modern warfare, in that in a struggle between two different types of economy, agrarian and industrial, the ultimate result was a victory for the power that was stronger industrially and financially."
Richard Preston and Sydney Wise, Men in Arms: A History of Warfare and Its Interrelationships with Western Society (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979), 247.
 

"Many historians have termed the American Civil War the last of the old and the first of the modern wars.  This does not overstate the case; in this war occurred the revolution in weaponry and tactics which, although not perceived by European soldiers, was to come to bloody fruition in 1914."
Trevor Dupuy, The Evolution of Weapons and Warfare (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1980), 196.
 

"The American Civil War was the first modern war.  It represents a transition from the leisurely, limited warfare of the eighteenth century to the violent, total warfare of the twentieth century....The conflict was modern in that it was a contest of conflicting ideas and hence, of unlimited objectives."
Charles C. Fennell, Jr., "The Civil War: The First Modern War" in The American Military Tradition: From Colonial Times to the Present, edited by John M. Carroll and Colin F. Baxter (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1993), 65.
 

"The Civil War ushered in a new modern era -- an era dominated by large, united, industrial nations practicing total war characterized by the utmost violence and destruction."
Charles C. Fennell, Jr., "The Civil War: The First Modern War" in The American Military Tradition: From Colonial Times to the Present, edited by John M. Carroll and Colin F. Baxter (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1993),  91.
 

"The American Civil War ranks as the most important conflict of the nineteenth century because, for the first time, opposing governments harnessed the popular enthusiasm of the French Revolution to the industrial technology that was sweeping the west."
Geoffrey Parker, editor, The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare: The Triumph of the West (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 220.
 

"The American Civil War stands out as the first truly modern conflict, and like subsequent wars of this nature, its course was to be primarily determined by factors of production and, more specifically, weapons technology."
Robert L. O'Connell, Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 197.
 


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Last update:  May 12, 2000