Civil War Weapons
Lori Robinson HIS 226-IN1 Module 4 Weapons of the Civil War I have to load a weapon? Oh no! Let’s see, first I have to get my cartridge out of the box. I really hate the taste of gunpowder in my mouth when I rip open the cartridge with my teeth. Then I have to pour that powder into the barrel of the gun.
What next? Remove the rammer, ram the barrel to set the ammo, and then return the rammer. Then to prime the gun, I have to set my cap, and now I can finally fire a single shot. Am I really expected to remember to do all these steps, for every shot, while at the same time people are shooting at me?What about all the smoke and noise? The noise of the guns and people next to me screaming in pain, or breathing their last breath. It is all so confusing. Is there not any other weapon in can use? The musket I am using now is most likely the Enfield rifle. It is what is called a cap lock rifle. It’s probably the most popular shoulder arm of both armies. The South did have more in the beginning of the war, as they put in a large order from England, and it took a lot of time to produce the second order for the North. There are two types of muskets used during this war.The smoothbore, which is not very accurate, nor does it have a very long range. The rifled-musket is not only more accurate, but because of the rifling, or grooves in the barrel, that cause the ball to spiral, it has a much longer range. Another category of shoulder arms is the carbine. The carbine, used most often by the cavalry, was shorter and lighter in weight than a musket. Carbines are breech-loaded, which means it is loaded between the barrel and the stock. This makes it easier to reload while still on horseback. There are about twenty different types of carbines, and mostly used by Northern troops.Many were actually produced in the North. One exception to this is the Maynard carbine. It is one of the favorites of the Confederate cavalry. Even though it is manufactured in Massachusetts, it continued to be shipped to Confederate States for several months after the war began. People claimed they were using the guns as Southern sportsmen. What if I want a sidearm? (Otherwise known as a pistol. ) There are hundreds of manufacturers and model being used, but there are about 5 or 6 favorites, including the Remington, the Keer, and the Derringer.The Colt was the most commonly used, but the LeMat is one of the most powerful killing models. It is the one carried by Generals J. E. B Stuart and P. T. G. Beauregard. This revolver holds nine rounds plus the capacity of also holding a load of buckshot in a lower barrel. One problem with the LeMat, though is that it doses not hole standard ammunition. Most weapons use either . 44 or . 36 caliber projectiles, while the LeMat fires . 35, . 40, or . 42 caliber ammunition. I wonder what it would be like to be part of an artillery gun crew. It takes five men to load a cannon.Let’s see if I can get all the procedures right. I have not gotten to do this yet, but have watched some of my buddies during drills. The first thing they do is to cover the vent hole. Then another man will ream his “worm” down the barrel to remove anything left for the last shot. Then a third man rams a sponge down the barrel to put out any hot embers. Good thing they do this, as I would not want any of my friends to reload power on top of a fire already in the barrel. Next the powder monkey comes to present the rounds to the loader, who then puts it in the barrel and it is rammed down the barrel again.Now another man sets the primer cord, and after everyone is cleared of the cannon, it is fired. There are two types of artillery cannons being used in this war — field guns and howitzers. The both use anywhere from six to thirty-two pound projectiles for ammunition. Just as with muskets there are smoothbores, rifled barrels and breech-loaded cannons. The rifled barrel cannons were used less often because as the barrels were made of bronze, a softer metal than the iron of the musket, the rifling was often worn smooth with continuous use.The field gun has a longer barrel and is usually fired straight ahead, or maybe a slight 5 degree upward angle. The howitzer has a shorter barrel, used larger ordnance but a small charge. By the way, ordnance is just a military term for cannonball. The field gun had a longer range, but the howitzer was more accurate, with a higher arc. The longer range of the field gun is not even fully used most of the time, as the gunner must be able to see his target in order to adjust his shots. Are these all the weapons used in this war?Or course not! There are the “edged” weapons. In most cases all edged weapons, are nearly negligible in as far as how many causalities these weapons accounted for. These include sabers, swords, bayonets and military cutlery. Military cutlery is just another fancy term for hand-to-hand weapons, such as the Bowie knife. I heard a funny story that was passed down from a Georgia boy about another type of edged weapon, the pike. It seems the Georgia governor, Joe Brown, at a time when there was a shortage of firearms, ordered 10,000 pikes.He imagined that he could create effective soldiers to defend themselves on a battlefield with this mid-evil type of weapon that was actually nothing more than a two-foot knife attached to a six-foot pole. The soldiers were trained using these weapons, but I wouldn’t want to go to a gunfight with nothing more than a knife, no matter how long the knife was. In fact, the 34th Georgia regiment was close to mutiny at the thought of going into battle armed with only the pike. Governor Brown wants his men to charge the enemy with “terrible impetuosity”.He told him men; about the pike “at least it will never misfire or waste a single charge of powder. ” The pikes were only meant as a last-ditch effort to arm the men with whatever could be found until more firearms could be furnished. Other weapons like gunships and submarines are being used in the war, but I will save those stories for later. I need to finish this story now so I can get some rest and prepare for battle in the morning. www. civilwarweapons. net