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Research Papers on Military Innovations of the Civil War

Research papers on military innovations during the Civil War can feature many of the ballistic innovations that occurred. Paper Masters has done research projects like the one you see here on the innovation of warships during the Civil War. Get a research paper on any innovation you would like explored from the expert American History or Military Strategy writers at Paper Masters.

Military Innovations of the Civil War term papers state that the two greatest military innovations of the Civil War occurred, not on land, but on the sea.  The well-known story of the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack on March 9, 1862 introduced armor plating to naval warfare and made every other navy on the planet obsolete overnight.  On February 17, 1864, the CSS Hunley became the first submarine to sink a surface vessel.  Both developments merit closer study.

Civil War Innovations in Military Arsenal include:

  • The CSS Hunley - the first submarine to sink a surface vessel
  • The Gosport Navel Yard
  • The USS Merimack
  • The CSS Virginia

The Merrimack as an Example of a Civil War Innovation

Military Innovations of the Civil War

On February 21, 1861, the Confederacy created a Navy Department under the Secretaryship of Stephen R. Mallory.  It was a navy without any ships.  However, after the fall of Fort Sumter on April 12, and Virginia’s secession, the Confederacy seized the Gosport Naval Yard in Norfolk.  On April 20, Union forces abandoned the yard, setting fire to nine ships and scuttling four, including the 3200-ton screw steamer the USS Merrimack. On April 26, Mallory wrote: “I propose to adopt a class of vessels hitherto unknown to naval service.  The perfection of a warship would doubtless be a combination of the greatest known ocean speed with the greatest known floating battery and power of resistance.”  He had already been encouraged to either purchase or build ironclad vessels, but the initial investigations into doing so were disappointing.  In May and June, 1861, he was unsuccessful in attempting to purchase such vessels in Europe, since none existed.  On June 24, two of his subordinates, Lt. Brooke and chief engineer Williamson traveled to Norfolk in search of machinery for the ironclad that Mallory proposed.  Williamson suggested that they examine the engines of the Merrimack, raised from the sea floor and lying in dry-dock.  “It was probably during this examination that the chief engineer advocated converting the frigate into an armor-clad.”  On July 11, Mallory ordered Commodore French Forrest to begin converting the Merrimack.

Military Innovations and the Confederate Congress

Work began on July 18.  Mallory was able to get funding by telling the Confederate Congress that it would cost $450,000 to rebuild the Merrimack, but only $172,523 to convert it to an ironclad.  Congress approved the lower figure, and Mallory contracted with Joseph R. Anderson, president of the Tredegar Iron Works, to provide rolling iron plates, one inch thick, eight feet long, and of various widths.  However, after tests, it was decided to go with two layers of two-inch thick plate, as opposed to the single one-inch.  Between October 1861 and February 1862, the Tredegar works concentrated on producing the armor for the re-christened CSS Virginia.

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