The First Battles: April 1861 to February 1862

Movements in the West

Was there any technical or technological area in which the South held an advantage?

With one lone exception, the answer is no. Roughly ninety-nine percent of the time the North held a major, and sometimes an overwhelming, advantage.

Not only did the North have more economic and technical resources, it also had a commander-in-chief who was fascinated by many aspects of the work. Lincoln spent a good deal of time at the Washington Navy yard conversing with Commandant John Dahlgren, for whom the famous artillery piece was named. As the war progressed, Lincoln showed interest in practically every military innovation: he tested the new rifles when they appeared and borrowed books from the Library of Congress to inform himself on the newest developments. How Lincoln ever found the time to do this remains one of the puzzles of his life.


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