Confederate States of America. Army. Artillery



Artillery, also known as cannons, are weapons that fire projectiles for longer ranges than small arms carried by infantry soldiers. The term artillery is also used to describe units, or the branch of service within the army, that operate cannons. During the Civil War, the most common artillery pieces were mounted on wheels and were capable of being transported by horses for deployment in battle. Called “field artillery,” these relatively small cannons were intended to inflict damage on enemy troops and light defensive positions. When mobility was not necessary, such as with fixed fortifications, artillery units used much heavier cannons with greater range and destructive power. Coastal defenses especially relied upon large artillery pieces to guard against heavily armed naval vessels.

Because the Confederacy did not have the same quantity and quality of manufacturing capabilities as northern states, the Confederate army heavily relied upon captured Union cannons and ammunition to outfit its artillery units. A shortage of guns meant that Confederate artillery batteries (the smallest individual artillery unit) typically consisted of four cannons, often of mixed calibers. This differed from Union batteries which fielded six guns of the same caliber. Shortages also limited Confederate artillery training, leading many people—even in the South—to believe that Confederate artillery capabilities were inferior to those of the Union army.

Initially, Confederate artillery batteries were individually attached to infantry brigades. However, during the latter half of the war, military officials created artillery battalions of three or four batteries each to better combine artillery firepower for infantry divisions. Nevertheless, Confederate artillery officers, such as the chief of artillery for the Army of Northern Virginia Brigadier General William N. Pendleton, found it exceedingly difficult to draw together battalions for mass artillery fire during fast moving and broad battle fronts. (Wikipedia)

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