Acoustic Shadows during the Civil War
During the civil War, a unique phenomenon, termed an acoustic shadow, was described by officers and soldiers alike. These occurrences, often described as zones of silence, prevented soldiers from hearing the sounds of battle even when only a very short distance from combat. Even more perplexing was the fact that other soldiers and civilians, often many times more distant to the fighting, described hearing the sounds of battle very clearly. We will discuss how acoustic shadows occur and if it is possible for the sometimes deafening sounds of battle to be inaudible within a zone of silence. We will also consider several battles wherein acoustic shadows are reported to have occurred to determine if the phenomenon actually occurred and, if so, did it affect the outcome of the battle and course of the war.
Tony Roscetti’s interest in the Civil War dates back to middle school when he would race his U.S. history teacher to complete exams on the Civil War. After college his interest in the conflict was rekindled after several trips to Civil War battlefields. He still enjoys exploring battlefields and makes an effort to locate famous and obscure Civil War battlefields on every family vacation. Tony is a member and officer in the Indianapolis Civil War Round Table. When he is not reading about the Civil War or visiting battlefields, Tony stays busy as a credit manager at PNC Bank. He recently discovered his great-great-grandfather was a member of Co. K, 22nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He is now researching that unit. He has also developed an interest in President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, DC after a recent visit to the home where Lincoln and his family lived during the summer months of his Presidency. The cottage was once the home of George Washington Riggs, co-founder of Riggs National Bank, which was acquired by PNC Bank.