© 2019

Rocks and Rifles

The Influence of Geology on Combat and Tactics during the American Civil War


Part of the Advances in Military Geosciences book series (AMG)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Scott Hippensteel
    Pages 1-27
  3. Igneous Rocks

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 29-29
    2. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 31-49
    3. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 51-77
    4. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 79-102
  4. Metamorphic Rocks

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 103-103
    2. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 105-116
    3. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 117-132
    4. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 133-153
  5. Sedimentary Rocks

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 155-155
    2. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 157-190
    3. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 191-212
    4. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 213-233
    5. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 235-264
    6. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 265-296
    7. Scott Hippensteel
      Pages 297-313
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 315-321

About this book


This book discusses the relationship between geology and fighting during the American Civil War. Terrain was largely determined by the underlying rocks and how the rocks weathered. This book explores the difference in rock type between multiple battlegrounds and how these rocks influenced the combat, tactics, and strategies employed by the soldiers and their commanding officers at different scales.


American Civil War Geology Geomorphology Antietam Gettysburg Fall Line Second Manassas Chickamauga Kennesaw Mountain Battles on rocky ground combat on high ground

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Earth SciencesUniversity of North CarolinaCharlotteUSA

About the authors

Scott Hippensteel’s scientific research interests are primarily focused on using microfossils to solve environmental and geoarchaeological problems. Many of his research publications are related to paleotempestology, the study of ancient hurricanes, and factors that influence the records of sea-level rise over the last 10,000 years. More recently he has been applying micropaleontology to archaeological studies, including reconstructing Civil War landscapes and identifying the ways that battlefields have changed over time. These reconstructions are especially important in dynamic coastal settings. The most interesting research he’s conducted in his career occurred after he joined the research team studying the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. He is studying the sediments and microfossils from within the submarine hull to provide insights into the cause of sinking and exceptional taphonomic preservation of the crew. 

Bibliographic information


“Scott Hippensteel's Rocks and Rifles succeeds admirably in bringing a renewed appreciation of geology to Civil War military history. It is certainly true that intimate knowledge of the ground is an essential prerequisite for comprehensive mastery of any given battle history, and Hippensteel's study offers readers and experts alike a series of fresh and informed glimpses of yet another layer of understanding.”(Andrew Wagenhoffer, Civil War Books and Authors)