By Perry D. Jamieson
Guns stronger quickly after the Civil battle, elevating tough questions about the conflict strategies hired via the U.S. military. the main primary challenge was once the dominance of the tactical shielding, while defenders secure by way of fieldworks may perhaps bring lethal fireplace from rifles and artillery opposed to attackers advancing in close-ordered traces. The vulnerability of those offensive forces as they crossed the so-called "deadly floor" in entrance of shielding positions used to be even higher with the development of armaments after the Civil conflict.
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Additional resources for Crossing the deadly ground: United States Army tactics, 1865-1899
An implied corollary was that shock tactics, the use of close-ordered lines or heavy columns to overpower a defender with a sudden bayonet charge, would become increasingly dangerous. In 1874 George B. McClellan, who was an unsuccessful field general but an astute observer of military affairs, warned that these traditional formations could not survive the long-range, rapid, and accurate fire delivered by the latest weapons. 21 Given the dominance of firepower over shock, some officers concluded that the bayonet had lost most of its value.
Upton pointed to the wartime successes won by dismounted Union cavalrymen armed with seven-shot Spencer rifles, examples that he believed proved "that one rank of men so armed is nearly, if not quite, equal in offensive or defensive power to two ranks armed with the Springfield musket. " Many years after Upton's single-rank tactics were adopted, one infantry officer reflected that with the advent of breechloaders and Gatling and Hotchkiss guns, footsoldiers deployed in the two-line formations of the Civil War became "simply food for gunpowder.
27 Wesley Merritt, a highly regarded veteran of the Union cavalry, recommended in 1879 that the cavalry keep its carbines and, "above all," its sabers. One of the army's most conscientious students of weapons and tactics, Colonel John C. 28 Some horse soldiers concluded that the fault was not the weapon itself but its maintenance: the troopers must keep their sabers well honed. Generals David S. Stanley and William W. Averell believed that sharp blades had raised the morale of their soldiers during the Civil War.