Thursday, October 02, 2008

Deadly Physcial Geography of the Civil War

Discovery News has an interesting slide show about how physical geography in part led to deadlier battles. Beneath the Battlefield is based on “No Place to Run, No Place to Hide: Geology, Terrain, and Casualties at Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, and Antietam.” Though the details are skimpy the basic thesis is that the battles fought on limestone, including the bloody ones like Antietam, were deprived on cover due to the geology below the surface.

The geology was not the only deadly geographical factor. The United States experienced a brief return of the Little Ice Age during the first five years of the 1860s. The weather reversal lead to cold, wet conditions which slowed army movements and aided the spread of diseases.

Human geography-wise the rapid advancement of military technology while military thought re maned stuck in a Napoleonic mindset only lead to pointless close range slaughter of mass formations.

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