Civil War Weapons

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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...
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