Objectives Learn about the weapons used and developed during the Civil War
First Modern War The Civil War was the first modern war. By that, it had used the advancements in weapons and transportation technology ti mame and kill opponents. Rifles, repeating guns, rifled artillery, mines, balloons, iron warships, railroads.
Musket Basically unchanged in its basic principle for 400 years. Muzzle loading, could fire up to three aimed shots per minute. It was accurate up to 50 yards.
Technical Changes to Musket Rifling. Percussion cap. Mini Ball.
Rifling The spiral grooves inside the gun barrel gave the bullet or ball an stabilizing spin. This greatly increased the distance and accuracy of the musket.
Percussion Cap In 1804 Alexander John Forsythe, a minister, created a solution of fulminate of mercury to ignite the gunpowder to discharge his weapon while duck hunting. I was perfected by 1807. This made firearms all-weather weapons.
Mini Ball In 1849, a French Captain, Claude Minie designed an inch long, one ounce lead slug with a hollow base and a cone shaped tip. When fired, the base would expand, catch the rifles groves, which imparted a spin similar to the way a football is thrown. This greatly increased the range and physical damage to tissue.
Drawbacks to Muzzle Loaders The primary drawback to the muzzle loading rifles were that the rate of fire was low, two to three rounds per minute. Plus, to effectively load the weapon you had to be stationary. That made you an easier target. The solution, repeating rifles.
Spencer Rifle Developed in 1860, the Spencer was a seven shot tube fed lever action with a manually cocked hammer. It fired a.56 caliber rim fire cartridge. It had an effective range of 500 yards. Over 200,000 were produced between 1860 and 1869.
Sharps Carbine Developed by Christian Sharps, it fire a 52 caliber cartridge. At the time of its development, 1848, military leaders were wary of a breech loading weapon. Its accuracy and range proved them wrong. Today we still use the word sharpshooter to describe an expert marksman
Henry Repeating Rifle Benjamin Tyler Henry inventor the lever action, tube fed, 44 caliber repeating rifle in 1860. It held 16 rounds and was the forerunner of the lever action Winchester, “The Gun That Won The West”. The gun was comparatively expensive, $35. Soldiers like it so much, they claimed “You could load it on Sunday, and fire it all week.”
Gatling Gun The Gatling gun was invented by Dr. James Gatling in 1862. His thinking was that with such a destructive weapon, fewer soldiers would be needed so casualties would be less. It could crank out as many rounds per minute as the person could crank the feed handle and the loader could replace the magazine. Its drawback was the cumbersome nature. It weighed 60 pounds and the cartridges were unreliable.