Editorial: Rebutting a Civil War tank article

It’s been quite a while since I wrote an editorial. I generally use the limited time I have to devote to this site looking for quality content from around the net to share rather than writing editorials and inflicting my opinion upon my readers. However, every once in a while I feel the need to put words to (digital) paper and have my say. Every morning I wake up and plop down in front of the computer. One of the first things I do is a google news search of “tank” to see what pops up. Today the top result is an article that irritated me so much I felt compelled to respond. The piece in question is the rather absurdly titled Foxtrot Alpha article “Why Were There No Tanks In The Civil War?” Normally I would not bother with something so obviously stupid, but since it comes up so high in the google search, I assume many people are reading it and at least some are taking it seriously.

Let’s start off by taking a quick look at the claims made by the author of this piece of fantastical nonsense. His main contention is that during the US Civil War, there existed both the need for, and the technical means to construct some sort of armored vehicle similar to a tank. As to the need for a Civil War tank, he cites the Siege of Petersburg, a battle that is generally said to have foreshadowed the trench warfare of World War I. We will put that aside momentarily and first focus on the author’s contention that the technology existed to make a tank possible in the 1860s. We shall summarize these in bullet point form:

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