Cover image for Battle tactics of the Civil War
Battle tactics of the Civil War
Griffith, Paddy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven, [Conn.] : Yale University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
239 pages : illustrations, maps ; 20 cm.
General Note:
Originally published: Rally Once Again. United Kingdom: Crowood Press, 1987.

First U.S. edition copyright, 1989.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E470 .G82 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Military expert Paddy Griffith argues that despite the use of new weapons and of trench warfare techniques, the Civil War was in reality the last Napoleonic-style war. Illustrations.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A British writer and military historian who is a U.S. Civil War buff offers a unique perspective on that great national conflagration. Griffith examines the conflict between the Union and the Confederacy as an example of combat at its most elemental level, focusing on the individual soldier's role and training. The author reappraises both tactics and weaponry, contending that the war, far from being the first of truly modern conflicts, was actually the last of the old-style Napoleonic era. While the topic might seem to be rather academic and technical, Griffith's approach and style lend a thoroughly accessible element to his study. Recommended not just for students of military history but also for interested general readers. Notes, bibliography; index. --John Brosnahan

Choice Review

Griffith combines a thorough knowledge of weaponry and tactics with Civil War memoirs to write an important study of Civil War battles. Many of his arguments are convincing, e.g., his conclusion that the artillery and cavalry played a more significant role in battle than they are usually given credit for, especially when the cavalry fought as mounted infantry. But Griffith's book is more than a fresh examination of Civil War tactics: it also attempts to prove that the American Civil War was "The Last Napoleonic War," not the first modern conflict. Griffith asserts that previous historians have overemphasized the significance of the Minie ball. He concludes that "the arrival of the rifled musket actually made very little practical difference--whatever may have been its theoretical potential to revolutionize the battlefield." Griffith correctly argues that "the range of firing has much more to do with the range of visibility, the intentions of the firer, and the general climate of morale in the army." But it is also true that more accurate firepower from rifled muskets had increased the depth of the battlefield and made offensive movements more deadly over a larger field for a longer time. Griffith not only overstates his conclusion, but he does so with limited and, in his own words, "admittedly somwhat random" research. His bibliography lists fewer than 50 memoirs and no unpublished collections. Although his book is an impressive look at how Civil War battles were fought, Griffith makes too much of his tautology that the Civil War marked the end of Napoleonic tactics, rather than the rise of modern warfare. -E. K. Eckert, St. Bonaventure University