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Rather, Guelzo argued that in actual battlefield conditions, until the development of smokeless powder, the benefits of rifling were largely nullified.

Therefore, generals did not alter their tactics not due to ignorance, but because the battlefield had not changed substantially from the Napoleonic era. Traditionally, mounted soldiers carried a lance, sword, or pistol and could sweep enemy infantry weakened by artillery or musket fire.

At least two major battles in the Civil War, Gaines Mill and Gettysburg, saw such attempts, both with predictable results.

As a result, cavalry came to be used mainly for raiding and scouting, and seldom participated in major battles.

The bores were partially cleaned by the loading process.

Black powder also quickly obscured the battlefield, which led military leaders of the time to conclude that the greater range of rifles was of little value on the battlefield.

Rifles made this type of fighting obsolete because of their much greater range.

In Civil War battles, infantry typically fought in a widely spread-out line, with the men using trees, rocks, buildings, etc. Linear formations were thus rarely seen any more (although it did occur in the Battle of Brawner's Farm the evening before Second Bull Run).

The black powder at the time quickly fouled the barrel, making reloading slower and more difficult since the balls had to be patched and matched closely to the bore size for rifles.When one side gained the upper hand, they would finish off the attack with a bayonet charge.These tactics developed because smoothbore muskets were only accurate at short ranges.Military leaders therefore preferred the faster-loading smoothbore weapons over the more accurate rifles.The invention of the MiniƩ ball solved the slow loading problem, allowing smoothbore muskets to be replaced by rifles in the decades just before the Civil War.