It was not a mere sneer that described Napoleon
as “only an artillery officer.”
His method of massing great guns was almost unknown in America
when the Civil War
opened; the Confederates
, to their cost, let two years go by before organizing so as to allow of quick artillery concentration; yet what else could have won Gettysburg
for the Federals
Proper defense against cannon was even less understood until the Civil War
If Louis Xiv's military engineer Vauban
had come to life during any battle or siege that followed his death up to 1861, he could easily have directed the operations of the most advanced army engineers — whose fortifications, indeed, he would have found constructed on conventional lines according to his own text-books.
Thus the gunner in Blue or Gray
, and his comrade the engineer, were forced not only to fight and dig but to evolve new theories and practices.
No single work existed to inform the editors of this History systematically concerning that fighting and digging.
No single work described Federals and Confederates alike, and readably told the story of the great events with the guns and behind the ramparts from 1861 to 1865.
That gap it is hoped this volume will fill.
American resourcefulness here became epochal.
For siege work great guns were devised and perfected which rendered useless, for all time, most of the immense brick and stone and mortar fortifications existing in the world.
of rifled guns worked as great a revolution in warfare on land as that of the ironclad vessel on the sea.
The photographs in this volume follow the artillery in the field, both Federal and Confederate.
They comprehensively illustrate the precaution taken by the Federal
engineers to protect the Northern
capital from capture.
They supplement graphically the technical information in regard to the fabrication of guns and making of ammunition.
A dramatic series of views follows the gradual reduction of the Confederate
forts and batteries on Morris Island
by the Federal
besiegers, and the latter's attempts against Sumter
The photographs in the latter part of the volume reflect the ingenuity of the American
soldier in protecting himself on the battlefield; the bridging of broad rivers in the space of an hour by the Engineer Corps; the expert railroading under difficulties of the United States Military Railroad Construction Corps; the Confederate
defenses along the James
which baffled the Federal
army, and preserved Richmond
so long free though beleaguered.