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Gettysburg College

2019

Public History

Minie ball

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Small But Deadly: The Minié Ball, Isaac J. Shoop Apr 2019

Small But Deadly: The Minié Ball, Isaac J. Shoop

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

When Claude-E’tienne Minié perfected the minié ball in 1849, it is doubtful he knew of the carnage that it would cause in the American Civil War some twelve years later. However, this small and compact bullet can teach us far more than simply the horrific bloodletting it caused on the battlefield itself. A closer analysis of the bullet’s impact on the human body also reveals a deeper glimpse into Civil War hospitals, medicine, and an entirely new scale and scope of death with which Victorian Americans were forced to come to terms as the war’s long casualty ...