~ ARMIES ~
~ Infantry Weapons ~
~ of the Civil War ~
U.S. 1835 Musket
Caliber,.69; Range,150 yards; Weight,11.0 pounds
An out of date weapon by the time of the Civil War, this gun was the last flintlock to be issued by the U.S.Army and was used by many troops early on in the war.
U.S. 1842 Musket
Caliber,.69; Range,150 yards; Weight,11.0 pounds
This gun was a modification of the 1835 flintlock musket. The new version included a cap along with other changes. It fired ball ammunition, buck and ball and even buckshot. This dated weapon was still being used by 1863, but was disappearing in favor of more effective modern weapons.
U.S. 1855 Rifle
Caliber,.58; Range,400 yards; Weight,9.75 pounds
The first minie rifle issued to U.S. troops. Some 100,000 were produced before the war.
U.S. 1861 Rifle
Caliber,.58; Range,450 yards; Weight,9.75 pounds
This weapon, called the Springfield rifle, saw the widest use in the war. Around 1,500,000 were produced, some of which found their way to Confederate ranks primarily through capture. The 1861 version was the primary type issued during the war, but two other types were produced.
Sharps 1848 Carbine
Caliber,.52; Range,350 yards; Weight,7.0 pounds
A popular cavalry weapon, the Sharps carbine was the first breech loading firearm to be issued to U.S. troops.
Sharps 1848 Rifle
Caliber,.52; Range,450 yards; Weight 8.0 pounds
A breech loading rifle designed by Christian Sharps. A small number of these guns were produced and primarily were issued to special units, like the elite Berdan's Sharpshooters.
Spencer 1860 Carbine
Caliber,.52; Range,450 yards; Weight 8.3 pounds
Christopher M. Spencer's carbine, patented in 1860, was the first regularly issued repeating firearm in the world. The gun had a tubular magazine for seven copper cased, rim fire cartridges which was inserted in the stock of the weapon. Around 200,000 Spence carbines were issued during the war.
Enfield 1853-61 Rifle
Caliber,.577; Range,350 yards; Weight 8.0 pounds
These well built and serviceable weapons from Great Britain saw active use in the war on both sides. Some 500,000 were purchased during the war by the Union. The South managed to get around 100,000 of these guns.
~ Weapons Used for the ~
~ First time in the ~
~ Civil War ~
The Machinegun:Five different machine guns were used during the war, mostly in the early period. The most successful of these were the Union's Ager Repeating Gun, and the Confederacy's Williams Rapid-Fire Gun, which was actually a rapid fire very light artillery piece.
Although the Gatling Gun came along late in the war, it's use was very limited. Although these were all rather promising devices, there were numerous technical and bureaucratic obstacles to the more extensive use of such weapons, and they had little impact on the war.
The Landmine: Brig.Gen.Gabriel J. Rains, an ordnance expert, developed the first genuine anti-personnel contact mines in early 1862. Large numbers of these were used during the opening stages of the Peninsula Campaign that Spring to impede the Union advance on Richmond. Despite some success, the devices were rather difficult to produce and were considered rather dishonorable. As a result, they saw only limited use in the war.
The Observation Balloon: Both sides experimented with the use of balloons to observe the activities of the enemy from the air, map terrain and spot for artillery. The South with its limited resources only managed to make a few ascents. The Union had a U.S. Balloon Corps headed by aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe which was active in the war, but was disbanded in 1863.
The Anti-Aircraft Gun: a 3" Rifle which Union Capt. Thomas W. Osborn of D Battery, 1st New York Light Artillery rigged for high angle fire was used several times durng the Peninsula Campaign, none of which succeeded in bringing down a Confederate balloon.
The Repeating Rifle: Although most of the perhaps five million shoulder arms procured during the Civil War (about four million by the Union and a further million or so by the Confederacy, not counting captures), were single shot muzzle loaders, about 400,000 breech loading repeating rifles and carbines were also issued, in more than a dozen different makes and models, most notably the Spencer Repeatng Carbine, of which about 100,000 were used by the Union, and the Sharps Carbine, of which about 80,000 were issued by the Union. Although some of the less widely issued repeating firearms were not successful, both the Spencer and the Sharps were excellent weapons which rendered good service. Were it not for bureaucratic opposition on the part of Union ordnance officers all Federal troops could have been issued such weapons by the end of the war.
The Mounted Railroad Cannon: Given the importance of railroads during the Civil War, it was only natural that weapons find their place on trains. The most famous rail mounted gun was the Dictator, a 13-inch motar which sat on a flatcar.
~Civil War Timeline~
~Facts and Figures~
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