I am just an interested amateur when it comes to the Civil War. In my studies, I was struck at how similar some of the photos looked when compared to WW1. For example, the siege breastworks, trenches, and gigantic mortars commonly in use in 1864 could almost have been taken in 1914.

The rifled musket, improved artillery, and the staggering losses earlier in the war gave way to two "new" modes of combat:

1) Sherman's March - almost a blitzkrieg light, a high-speed total war concept of rapid movement, envelopment or bypass, with the target being the enemy's capacity to produce. They made extensive use of cavalry, rail, and sea transportation to overwhelm a large portion of the South.

2) Siege work - rather than hurling tens of thousands of troops at well-defended works, the technique of "dig in and bomb/starve them into submission" became the norm. Pictures of these sieges at Petersburg and elsewhere are stunning in their similarity to WW1.

Yet when I talk to people, the general impression is one of Napoleonic lines wheeling and getting cut down by the thousands. I maintain that any similarity was abandoned very early. Troops dug in, ducked, took cover, and it became a war primarily of maneuver, with the addition of localized WW1-style trench warfare in places.

Which vision is more accurate? Napoleonic, massed troop movements, or a preview of the horrors of WW1? Or both? Thanks.

Some pics:



Dead soldiers in a trench

A Confederate battery well-protected by sandbags