Technology and the American Civil War

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Technology as it was applied to the Civil War — in weapons, equipment, medicine, military operations, communications, and transport — will be the focus of the symposium. New or newly improved weapons affected the conduct of war at all levels. But that was only part of the story. Technological changes remote from the battlefield also shaped the conduct of war. Agricultural mechanization permitted larger armies to be fed; growing industries provided them not only with arms but with other supplies as well; steam-powered transport helped deploy and sustain them. In addition, new techniques of food preservation and medical care conditioned the outcome of the war. Finally photography, telegraphy, new signal devices, and aerial observation from fixed balloons improved communications, both military and civilian.

Nevertheless, this was a period of transition to the full-fledged industrialized warfare of World War I: horses still mattered more than steam engines in the nineteenth century and more soldiers still died from disease in the Civil War than from wounds sustained. This Symposium will take the measure of technological innovation's impact on warfare at a point when the Industrial Revolution had been underway for a century.

Agenda (for full details, visit related link below):

  • Session 1: Field Operations & Communications
  • Session 2: Medical Technologies & Treatments
  • Panel Discussion: Artifacts of the Industrial Revolution — Curating Civil War Technology


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Vince Pedicino
  • Created:03/27/2014
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:04/13/2017