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Weapons During The Civil War History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The small arms industry played a vital role in both the historical development of the US, the ideals and the myths that accompanied the development. In the early to mid 19th century, guns initiated the technique that gave rise to modern manufacturing, and the usage of interchangeable standardized parts. Furthermore, guns bearing the names Colt, Remington, and Winchester were linked to the settlement of the old west and development of the US as a world power. Despite the fact that firearms in the colonial America were produced by many prominent craftsmen, gun-making industry did not begin till 1775, when the Committee of Safety was established by the Continental Congress, whose responsibilities encompassed ensuring that the continental army had adequate firearms. This paper aims at describing the major weapons that were used by the United States army from the phase-out of the pumpkin slinger (flintlock smoothbore) musket at the beginning of the American civil war, to the use of the Krag-Jorgenson rifle in 1898; Gatling guns and beyond; and field artillery.

Weapons during the Civil War

The small weapons industry played a significant role in both the historical growth of the U.S and in the myths and also the ideals that went together with that advancement. Early to mid 19th century guns pioneered the use of identical standardized pieces, the technology that brought about the current manufacturing. Furthermore guns having the names flintlock smoothbore (pumpkin slinger) musket, krag-jorgenson, Gatling guns and the field artillery rifles were associated with the American civil war.

Though many well-known craftsmen invented weapons in colonial America, gun making did not begin until 1775, when the Continental Congress founded the Committee of Safety, whose duties included making ensure that the Continental Army had enough weapons. The Committee of Safety founded requirements for inventing the flintlock muskets and awarded agreements to a variety of gun makers in American. In 1794 Congress founded a national weapon store at Springfield, in Massachusetts that manufactured and stored muskets for armed use. A second weapon store was launched at Harper’s ship, in Virginia (1796). The weapon store at Harper’s ship would finally be burned to keep away from Confederate forces. The Springfield weapon store was in operation up to the year 1975.

In 1808, as pressure increased between the U.S and England, the federal weapon stores tooled up to produce 40,000 muskets in a year. Classified gun makers were also awarded agreements to produce between 2,500 and 10,500 muskets each one, with the objective of supplying almost 100,500 militiamen. The federal weapon stores provided prototype muskets for the private producers to emulate. Although rifles were produced in the start of 1500s and the famous Pennsylvania made Kentucky rifles were employed by numerous militiamen for the period of the U.S Revolution, smoothbore muskets stayed worldwide into the early nineteen century.

Even though rifles were discovered in the early 1500s and the well-known Pennsylvania made Kentucky rifles were used by a number of militiamen throughout the Revolution in American, smoothbore muskets stayed widespread into the early19th century.

Despite their erroneousness, they were simple to load and fire compared to a firearm with a rifled barrel. In 1810, Hall H. John, an American gunsmith devised a breech loading flintlock rifle that could be loaded hastily using a paper cartridge holding powder and a ball. The United States Army ordered 200 rifles in 1818 for carrying out tests, and Hall John monitored their manufacture at the federal weapon store at Harper’s Ferry. The rifles worked well, but the armed forces continued to rely on the muskets up to the Civil War. Though the Springfield weapon store did not begin developing rifles up to 1858, it generated more than 840,000 by the end of 1865. Then again, frontiersmen and hunters who favored accurateness turned to breech loading rifles. The 200 Hall rifles developed in 1818 were also among the first firearms produced in a government weapon store using similar parts.

Denmark designed the Krag-Jørgensen rifle in 1889. The Danish rifle was different in a number of key areas from the weapons later approved by the United States and Norway, mainly in its use of a forward as opposite to downward, the utilization of rimmed bullets and the employing of an external steel liner for the tub. The Krag-Jørgensen was designed for the 8x58R cartridge and was in the early years used as a single firearm with the magazine in reserve position.

Approximately 300 were transported to Boer forces of the ZAR (Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek). Krag Jørgensen was basic with the receiver which was part of the rifle that housed the functioning parts, with an opening on the right hand side and a hinged cover. The cartridges were placed in from the side opening that was pushed up, around, and into the action by a spring follower. It remained in service up to the German attack of Denmark in 1940.

The powder that was smokeless was not able to deceive the position of the shooter as could the obscure of white smoke from the black powder bullets used by the 40-70. In addition, the person shooting did not have to hang around for the smoke to be clear so that he could be able to see his target. The weapon used a five shot magazine. The .45-70 was a solitary shot firearm. The additional shots were an exact fire power benefit, although it was something not accepted by the War Department during those days. The War Department declared that a normal soldier needed a minute to aim and shoot at the target. The 14 shots a minute which may perhaps be shot by the Krag-Jorgensen Rifle were consequently thought to be wasted. The firearm was intended to be able to be used as a solitary shot firearm in accord with its theory.

The bullets for the Krag-Jorgensen Rifle were of a small caliber than that of the .45-70, as a result, the military could hold more rounds with him- one hundred .30 caliber cartridges had the same weight as sixty, forty five caliber cartridges. The Krag-Jorgensen Rifle shot on a flat trajectory and as a result could aim more precisely with less coaching.

The Field Artillery was invented in 1775 by the Continental Congress, which elected unanimously Knox Henry, Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery. The division entered service formally in 1776. Even though Air Defense Artillery and Field Artillery were distinct branches, they both inherited the tradition of the Artillery branches.

The Field Artillery was one of the military’s war arms, by tradition one of the three main officer branches with Armor and Infantry. It passes on to those units that utilize artillery arms systems to impact surface to surface long distance roundabout fire. Roundabout fire implies that the bullet does not follow the line of view to the subject on target. Mortars were not field artillery arms; they were organic to infantry units and were handled by infantry individuals.

The official mission of statement of the Field Artillery was to demolish, defuse, or hold back the enemy by rocket, cannon and missile shoots to help incorporate all fire support assets into joint arms actions. The associates of the Field Artillery were called the Red Legs since the American Civil War they were differentiated by scarlet stripes down the legs of their uniform. The employing of colors to differentiate branches of the U.S. Army dates from the year 1833. Branch colors were on the shoulder straps of soldiers wearing the blue uniform and on branch of service scarves approved for wear with a diversity of uniforms.

The Gatling gun was one of the first forms of operational machines guns, which was used throughout the Spanish American War, both at sea and on land. Its use during the War was most famous from its use in the attack on San Juan Hill.

The Gatling gun was discovered and designed by J. R Gatling in 1862. The gun was test fired a lot of times for representatives of the American government and for representatives of other distant governments. In 1865, the weapon was untested and subjected to a diversity of troubles, including jamming. It was later customized at Cooper’s Weapons Manufactory in Philadelphia, at a place called Pennsylvania, and then at Colt’s weapon store in Hartford, at Connecticut. Orders for the Gatling gun were placed by the governments of Hungary, Russia, Turkey and many more.

The main idea of the gun was that there were sequences of barrels, normally ten, which rotate inside of a holding frame. As the barrels rotate, a mechanism mechanically put in rounds fed from a perpendicular magazine mounted atop the firearm. As the barrels continue to rotate, every barrel is cocked, fired and the shell casing detached in a single revolution. The barrels were revolved by the use of a crank mounted on the firearm.

The Gatling gun under went a series of advancement, with the 1895 Model being used by the U.S. military in the War of the Spanish American. The military bought eighteen of these guns in 1898. 31 more were delivered to the military two weeks after the end of the war. The Gatling gun aloofness of General Shafter’s Corps in Cuba was ordered by Lt. Henry John Parker. His aloofness was an ad hoc assembly. His men were not sufficiently armed. No tools for repair or spare parts were provided to them. The men who developed the aloofness were not given sufficient training; they received their training at the same time serving on the skirmish line.


The weapons used by the United States army from the phase out of the flintlock smoothbore musket at the start of the American civil war to the use of the krag-jorgenson rifle, gatling guns and field artillery in 1898 were still new to the military but sufficient training was not done. The guns had been enhanced over the years, but still were frequently jamming. The government required its soldiers to handle the guns as single-shot firearms, with the magazine functioning as a reserve in situations of an emergency. They had several limitations which became obvious with time, the muzzle speed was comparatively low and their mechanism had a tendency of failing.

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