War, no matter how bad, still contributes to the innovation of science and technology. It is all driven by simple reasoning: You need to find a way (and must be willing to do anything, even the most insane stuff) to be able to kill your enemy way faster than they can subdue you. Some amazing war inventions have made their way into regular lives. Microwaves, for example, were originally invented to defeat opponents more than they are commonly available in people’s comfy kitchen. And when you are willing to look further back, you will see that the American Civil War is peppered with technological hits, misses, and downright duds.
The Gatling gun is perhaps the most interesting military technological advancement coming fresh out of the American Civil War. Manually reloading your rifles amid a battle was not too efficient apparently. And in the history of the deadly gun, Gatling gun was probably the deadliest in its time. Technically speaking, however, Gatling gun was not the first automatic gun. Someone needed to turn a crank for the gun to shoot its bullets instead of working with a mechanism of auto-triggering. In the end, the Gatling gun was replaced by new weapons that are lighter and fully automatic, which eliminates the needs for giant wheels or a horse.
The double-barrel cannon would be the next item for you to marvel at. The weapon did not necessarily mean that someone can fire two shots before each reloads. The idea was to use two cannonballs that are attached to each other through a chain. The destruction is expected from the “mowing” effect that the cannonballs and the chain brought forth when shot. The coal torpedo would be another relic from the American Civil War. A coal torpedo didn’t go underwater. It was designed with the hollow interior of an iron casting, with coal dust of mottle and cover, and was then filled with explosives.
The last item from the era of American Civil War for you to ponder on is the CSS Hunley, a Confederate submarine that is distinct in that it was the first submersible in the history to ever successfully sink a ship. The submarine was notably smaller than today’s regular submersible so there was no way it could load projectiles. Instead, the ancient submarine was equipped with a giant spear filled with an explosive that was to be rammed into a ship’s side.