Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Civil War Facts
By Paisley Kirkpatrick With all the Civil War re-enactments over the years, I thought it would be fun to check out these facts: The first aircraft carrier was a boat designed especially for hauling hot air balloons. The first flares for marksmen shooting at night were calcium lights developed by a Major Edge, of Berdan’s Sharpshooters, a famous Federal regiment. The first economic warfare was used by the North in massive counterfeiting of Confederate currency. Union printers flooded the South with this bogus money, its only defect being its superiority to the genuine article. Printers went so far as to duplicate five-cent notes of Confederate towns and business enterprises, as a spur to inflation. Despite the modern developments spawned by the war, thousands of men went into the early fighting in body armor, assured by newspaper advertisements that iron breastplates would shield them from death. Heavy casualties attested to the tragic inefficiency of the gear. Many of the inventions pouring into the warring capitals bordered on lunacy, but some forecast the future. A federal balloonist went aloft with grenades and bombs, with the bottom of his wicker carriage shielded against ground fire by an iron plate. And one inventor tried in vain to interest the US in a rocket-driven torpedo which behaved like a guided missile in its tests. Both Union and Confederate inventors turned out weird forked-barrel cannons, designed to fire two shots simultaneously, joined by chains, so that enemy troops would be mowed down if they stood in a convenient place.