Published on February 26, 2008
Slide1: By: Master Benjamin Wayde Hughey March 2004 Famous Pistols and Rifles of the Civil War 14ushop/.com/weapons www.winterwar.com/Weapons/ SuSmallArms/SURifles.ht Slide2: The Civil War is also commonly referred to as the first “modern” war. It is because of its use of weapons, new weapons, that had never been used during war before. Guns that were not single shot muzzle loaders and where much easier to load and outstandingly more accurate. For example, pistols and rifles were typically one shot muzzle loaders, but with the new inventions and factories they could load up to 9 bullets. Also Benchrest rifles, or sniper rifles, were accurate up to 1,800 yards. Here are some of the more popular pistols, rifles, and sniper rifles that were used during the Civil War. Slide3: Pistols Colt Army Model 1860 Starr Revolver Savage “figure eight” revolver Le Mat Revolver Rifles Springfield Musket Model 1861 Enfield Whitworth Long Range Rifles Benchrest Rifle Spencer Rifles Sharps New Model 1859 Colt Army Model 1860: This is the Colt Army Model 1860 was a modified version of the earlier model 1848 dragoon which was used in the Mexican War. In one year it became the most popular sidearm weapon in the Union army and was known for its unique ability to easily change the parts inside when necessary. The Colt Army Model 1860 was a six shot .4 calibre weighing in at 2 pounds 11 ounces. The Colt Army Revolver was much more expensive than those made by Remington or Starr costing $13.75. The US Government stopped ordering this revolver in November 1863. http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wins.htm Colt Army Model 1860 Slide5: This next revolver was known as the Starr Revolver was a double action pistol, meaning you could eject the empty shell and reload the gun two different ways. It was a .44 caliber six shot weighing in at 3 pounds. It fired a combustible cartridge, which had the gun powder in the shell, but could also be loaded with loose powder and ball. At first the double action Starr was used by Union soldiers in the western army of the Civil War, then in 1863 the US Ordinance Dept. urged the Starr Arms Co. to replace the Starr revolver with a cheaper single action model. The company gave in and sold the Union 25,000 pistols at $12 each. http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wins.htm Starr Revolver Slide6: http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wpns.htm This is a unique Civil War revolver. Its design was based off the pre-war Savage “figure eight” revolver. Instead of using the traditional hammer, and cocking the gun with your thumb, there was a second finger whole used for cocking the gun with the middle finger. Of all these handguns 60% of the .36 and .44 caliber revolvers were sold to the U.S. government early in the war. They were issued to Cavalry Troops in Missouri but not all of them. The remaining 40% were sold to officers as private-purchased weapons. Because this was an early war production weapon, they were mostly sold in the North, although there is some evidence that quite a few were smuggled south and used in the Central Confederacy. The South had no factories so they were short on handguns and other manufactured goods, for this reason officers were always trying to smuggle weapons from the South and stealing artillery from the men they killed and captured. Savage “figure eight” Revolver Slide7: http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wpns.htm This is the Le Mat Revolver, invented by a French-New Orleans doctor in 1856 was the most famous pistol used during the Civil War. The cap and ball weapon, it was also known as, is quite unique because it has two barrels. One of them a cylinder, which held nine .40 caliber rounds and were fired through the second and upper barrel, and revolved around the lower .63 caliber barrel witch, held a charge of gunpowder. By simply flicking his thumb, the shooter could re-align the hammer with the lower barrel that was deadly at close range. Dr. Jean Alexander Francois Le Mat produced approximately 300 of these, his, weapons prior to the war. When first made the weapons gained praise and were well liked, so when the war began Le Mat moved back to France to mass-produce these for the Confederacy. How ever, the French being incompetent, mass produced these in poor quality. Disappointed Le Mat moved again and produced through Belgian and English companies and Eventually sold about 3,000 of these pistols to the South. The handgun came with either 18 or 20-gauge shot barrel and one version could be made into a full-length rifle/shotgun. Such famous Southern Generals as P.G.T. Beau regard and J.E.B. Stuart carried the Le Mat. Le Mat Revolver Slide9: This first rifle is the Springfield Musket Model 1861 was the most widely used rifle of the Civil war and was used in every major battle. It was manufactured in the North and cost anywhere from $15 to $20. It was sold to the federal government at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts and to 32 other private manufacturers. It was a very modern weapon for its time. Its new age system was that the parts inside were changeable and it had the gun powder built into the shell which was a major benefit to the “modern” war, this was quite handy during the begging of the war when it wasn’t so developed. It weighed 9.25 pounds and was 58.5 inches tall, it came with a triangular 21 inch long bayonet and fired a .58 calibre Minnie ball. After leaving the muzzle its velocity was 950 feet per second. A later improved model was also produced in 1863, but the 1861 model remained the basic combat weapon of the war. http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wpns.htm Springfield Musket Model 1861 Slide10: This is a rifled musket, more commonly known as an Enfield, got their name from a small arms factory in Enfield England. Although named Enfields, they were not made in Enfield since the British government was neutral as to who’s side they were on and didn’t want to sell to one side. Instead, the rifled muskets were made in England by private businesses in London and Birmingham. An Enfield rifle had barrel with the width of .577 inches and weighed 9 pounds 3 ounces with a bayonet. Its projectile was a bullet similar to the mini ball and was very accurate at 800 yards and still shot accurately at 1,100 yards. Some other models, mostly two-banded rifles equipped with a bayonet were also imported from England. Each side, North and South, received approximately 400,000 of these weapons during the course of the Civil War, making them second most popular, only beaten by the Springfield. http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wpns.htm Enfields Slide11: This is the Whitworth rifle was manufactured in England and was mainly used by the Confederate army. It was a muzzle-loading rifle with a 33 inch long barrel, 49 inches overall, and a .451 inch wide barrel. The fact that rifle was so outstandingly accurate made it very popular in the South. It's persistent accuracy at long range made it the best of all rifles used in the war. When the telescopic sight was put on it, the rifle had an accurate shot at about 1,800 yards. This rifle had a six sided bore and required a hexagonal shaped bullet. Both Confederate and Union armies called this bullet a bolt. In fact, it was one of these bolts from a sharpshooter that killed a famous Union General "Uncle John“ Sedgwick during the battle at Spotsylvania Court House, he was shot just after he had remarked to a scared comrade that Confederate sharpshooters could not hit an elephant. http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wpns.htm Whitworth Slide13: With the development of more modern and accurate guns came the idea of the sharpshooter or the sniper. Now that men were armed with long range rifles they became a real threat, their rifles could shoot accurately up to 1,800 yards. The sniper rifle of the Civil was known as the Benchrest rifles, for it was much easier to shoot when it was resting on something because it was so heavy. Before the war, these exceptional muzzle-loading rifles had been owned mainly by target shooters and hunters. They had an average length of about 50 inches, and typically weighed up to 40 pounds, which made it an impractical choice for a standard infantry weapon. The bullet was a tight fit in the barrel and was slow to load but this was necessary for the accuracy, this put the shooter at a disadvantage on the battle field. So the men who carried these weapons were strategically placed alone to shoot of the enemy in a gorilla war fare situation. http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wpns.htm Benchrest Slide14: Other long range rifles are the Spencer rifles, which played a major role in the success of the Union. The weapon used a cartridge made of metallic with a built in primer, one of the greatest advancements of the Civil War. Also, the magazine on the Spencers allowed soldiers to fire quicker just by moving cocking a lever and pulling trigger. This allowed the Northern troops to fire about 14 rounds per minute compared to the 3 rounds per minute provided by a muzzle-loader. When if at all the South was unable to use any Spencers that they may have acquired because they had no ammunition for them. About 200,000 Spencer rifles and Carbine rifles were sold to Commanders during the time of the war but a lot of those sold were never used. There were two main types of Spencer Rifles, Model 1860 Navy and the Model 1860 Army. http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wpns.htm http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wpns.htm Model 1860 Navy Model 1860 Army Spencer Model 1860 Navy and Army Slide15: The Carbines, like Sharps New Model 1859, were developed primarily for soldiers who rode horse back because they maintained a shorter barrel making them much easier to handle rather than a gun with a longer barrel. Breech loaders were preferred as well, because they could be loaded on a moving horse, which was impossible with a muzzle loader. Additionally, breech loading carbines fired moisture proof metallic shells which were more reliable than the old rifles that fired paper shells. At the beginning of the war, the Southern army was as well if not better armed than its Northern opponents. Carbines were quite rare in both armies at this time. Although, as the war rumbled on, the Union had produced more and more modern weapons from their many factories and had begun to gain the advantage by 1864-1865. http://members.tripod.com/~ProlificPains/wpns.htm Carbine, Sharps New Model 1859 Slide16: All in all the Civil War, compared to wars prior to it, was quite outstanding. It used the latest technology to mass produce accurate and sensible weapons.