H-CivWar is H-Net's network on scholarship, teaching, and outreach on the history of the American Civil War.

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Evidence of soldiers jamming rifles?

Hello H-CivWar, a student has asked if there is any reliable information on claims that a reliable percentage of panicky or confused Civil War soldiers, based on evidence of broken or damaged rifles recovered after battles, misloaded their rifles (muzzle or breech loaded), causing misfirings, explosions, rifle damage, etc. I recall some findings (as in Paddy Griffith's Battle Tactics of the Civil War) that argued that very often soldiers rammed multiple cartridges down muzzle loaded rifles, jamming them.

Re: The End of the Civil War College Course

I am enjoying this discussion and am blogging about it, but was curious to know from the responders thus far how many students usually enrolled in the Civil War classes at your institutions? Were they usually popular, as I am of the impression from reading your replies that the courses are still quite popular among students.

Re: The End of the Civil War College Course

At my university (Southeastern Louisiana University, a relatively small--15,000--regional state school), I teach both an undergraduate Civil War course and graduate seminar, both of which typically have at or near maximum enrollment. About a third of each course is spent on growing sectionalism, Nullification through secession, and two-thirds on the war, ending with the war's conclusion. We certainly don't plan on phasing out either course.

Re: The End of the Civil War College Course

I am curious as to how the original question defines a stand alone Civil War course. If the strict years of the conflict are the criteria, then I'd have to agree that yes, these courses may be falling out of favor. But I think there is a high demand for classes addressing the Civil War Era, which popularly encompasses 1846-1877. Some scholars push the time period even longer. One of the most rewarding Civil War classes I took analyzed the conflict in a long nineteenth century context, and it gave me new questions and problems to consider.