Weapons in the American Civil War The American Civil War is known to be one of the bloodiest wars in history. Significant advances in weapon technology contributed to the unprecedented carnage. All types of weapons were being invented including side arms, shoulder arms, and artillery. Surveying the origins and design of only a portion demonstrates fire power had outstripped battlefield tactics by the mid-nineteenth century. Side arms, most useful only at close range, underwent important changes during the Civil War era. A particular standout was the La Mat revolver invented by Dr.
Jean Alexander Francois Le Mat, a French born New Orleans doctor. The La Mat revolver was one of the most famous pistols of the civil war#. What makes this pistol so unique is that it has two barrels. The main cylinder held nine.
40 caliber rounds fired though the upper barrel and revolved around the lower. 63 caliber barrel that held a charge of buckshot#. As many as 3, 000 of these pistols found 1. they ” re way to Confederacy. Confederate Generals including P. G.
T Beauregard and J. E. B. Stuart # carried La Mats. The Colt Army Model 1860 was a more advanced model of the 1848 dragoon used in Mexican War. It quickly became the most popular sidearm of the Union Army#.
What made this revolver so popular was the interchangeability of parts. The Colt model 1860 was a. 44 caliber six shot weapon and weighed almost three pounds#. The cost of the Colt Army model 1860 was $13. 75, which was more expensive than those made by Remington or Starr and the Government ceased the order for the gun in 1863. Another revolver used in the war was the Starr revolver.
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It was a. 44 caliber, six shot, weighed tree pounds and was a double action, which means has no build in or intergrade d safety. It fired a combustible cartridge and could also be loaded with loose powder and ball. Union soldiers in the western theater used the Starr revolver. In 1863 the U. S.
Ordinance Department urged the Starr Arms Company to replace the double action revolver with a cheaper single action model, which the company did and sold the Union 25, 000 weapons for $12 each#. During the course of the Civil War side arms became an important weapon for 2. both sides and helped contribute to the death toll. Side arms were very popular for Calvary units. The reason was because of the close range fighting that Calvary units took place in. The foot soldier found side arms useless and more of a burden then anything else.
The sidearm slowed them down, proving to be ineffective for the battlefield due to its short range and poor accuracy. Shoulder arms also improved during the war. The model 1861 Springfield musket was the most widely used shoulder arm and saw action in every major battle. The Springfield was made in the north and cost around $15 to $ 20. What made this model different from pre war models was its rifled bore, interchangeable parts, and percussion cap ignition system. These innovations helped turn this weapon into an accurate and dependable rifle.
The Springfield weighed a little over nine pounds, was 58. 5 inches long, came with a 21-inch long bayonet and fired a. 58 caliber mine ball. The second most popular gun during the war was the rifled muskets known as the Enfield#. The Enfield had a bore diameter of. 577 inches and weighed 9 lbs 3 ounces with a bayonet.
It was very accurate at 800 yards and could be somewhat accurate at 1, 100 yards. The Enfield fired a bullet that looked like the mine ball. Both sides imported around 400, 000 of these during the war. 3. The Starr Company produced the Starr Carbine rifle. It was equipped with 21 inches, .
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54 caliber barrel and was the fourth most popular rifle used by the Union. The best feature of this weapon was its zero misfire rates and its high degree of accuracy. Another rifle that helped the Union achieve victory was the Spencer rifle. It used an all metallic cartridge with a built in primer, which was a remarkable advancement#. The magazine on the Spencer allowed it to fire by moving a lever and cocking the trigger. This allowed northern troops to fire 14 rounds per minute compared to the 3 rounds per minute a muzzle-loader required.
During the Civil War shoulder arms went through many new changes that helped make it an effective killing machine. The foot soldier used the shoulder arm more than any other division. This was due to its ability to fire long range accurate shots at charging armies. Shoulder arms prove to be useless for the Calvary because they were hard to reload and aim while riding a horse. Many Civil War generals learned very hard lessons by piling up thousands of dead soldiers that were in frontal assaults against an entrenched enemy armed with rifles. Artillery also went under changes.
The 10-pounder designed by captain Robert Parker Parrot was the most common cannon. The M 1863 10-pounder Parrot was 4. modified from its earlier form. In 1861 the bore was increased to 3.
0 inches, to make its ammunition consistent with the new 3-inch ordnance rifle and the muzzle swell was eliminated. The favorite cannon in both armies was the Napoleon. The Napoleon first entered the American army in 1857. It was a smoothbore, muzzle-loading, 12-pounder “gun-howitzer”, was fairly light, and very portable.
The Napoleon had a range of about 1700 yards but was more effective at about 250 yards. When the South ran out of bronze they used iron in its place. It fired a canister, which was a scattershot projectile with small iron balls enclosed in side of a container. Out of all the artillery pieces combined the Napoleon inflicted more casualties#. This was do to its lightweight and able to use as an offensive and defensive weapon. The model 1861 3-inch Ordnance rifle was another artillery piece that came out during the Civil War.
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It was made by John Griffen but was often called the Rodman gun, which was a coastal defense smoothbore. The “Griffen Gun” had an incredibly strong gun tube, which made it almost impossible to burst. This is an important factor because it insures safety of men and its more reliable. The model 1861 3-inch ordnance rifle was a dead shot under a mile but was quite deadly at a mile and half. This cannon was also 100 pounds lighter than the Parrott (800 lbs to 5. 900 lbs) which made it very mobile.
This cannon was so highly effective it stayed in the U. S. arsenal until the 1880 s when steel breach loaders replaced it. The field of artillery was one of the most deadly fields in both armies and helped make the Civil War one of the deadliest wars in history. Artillery was used in all theaters of the war. You could find artillery on every major battle field during the course of the war.
Some of the most decisive field artillery battles of the war took place at Marvin Hill, Antietam, and Gettysburg in the east, and Stones River in the West. Artillery was used to defend coast lines, important port cities and was the major weapon on battle ships. The Civil War produced other types of weapons that saw limited action but were very modern for their time. One of these weapons was the first machine-gun type weapon ever used in combat and was produced by the Confederate War Department.
It was a breech loading rapid-fire gun and was cranked operated. The gun was a very light artillery piece that shot a one-pound 1. 57 caliber projectile with a range of 2, 000 yards and could shot up to 65 rounds per minute. It was used in the Battle of Seven Pines and worked effectively that the Confederate War Department ordered 42 of them#.
Even though this gun was so effective it had two major problems. The gun overheated very quickly and breech jammed because of the heat expansion. 6. The Union created the. 52 caliber breech loading Billing hurst-Re qua batter.
It used a light carriage to mount 25 rifled barrels side by side and when loaded and primed, the barrels fired in a sequence. Some of these guns were used in battle but saw very little action. These two weapons show that weapon technology was at a new height during this era. Many things changed in warfare during the American Civil War. All fields saw some kind of change Rather it was small arms, shoulder arms, artillery, or some new weapon.
... the most common on the battle field. The main artillery for the British Army was this long-barred field gun. However, it soon became clear ... and use of weapons in the war. One of the biggest weapon advancements which differentiated the war from past wars was the machine-gun. In 1884 ...
Weapon technology like the La Mat revolver or the first machine- gun helped make the American Civil War one of the bloodiest wars in history. 7.