Weapons of the Civil War: Why Did the North Win?

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Battles have been fought since the dawn of time. Weapons have gradually become more technological and sophisticated each and every time. People learn from their mistakes, as did the Indians in the late 1700s, as well as the Confederate troops from the Civil War. The Union was victorious in this war for freedom, and to this day, the north is more the heart of the country's economy.

Weapons have been around from the Neanderthals of the post-ice age, to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Rocks became knives, sticks became spears, and bayonets became AK-47's. The technology from the French and Indian War was revolutionized and manufactured by the newly opened weaponry companies. Colt and Winchester had a new end of the market during the times of conflict in the United States.

The First Modern War was a battle of brothers vs. brothers, north vs. south. Weapons proved effective throughout this war, with over 620,000 deaths related to artillery wounds (Bender 24). The north had the advantage. With a plentiful supply of factories and skilled workers, the north was far ahead of the game in the race of manufacturing. New technologies such as submarines, multiple-shot weapons, and exploding bullets aided the northern manufacturing economy.

Handguns played a major role in the Civil War as far as weaponry was concerned. For instance, the most popular sidearm in the Union army was the Colt Army model 1860, which was a .36 caliber. The Army model 1860 was remodeled after the 1848 Dragoon, which was used in the Mexican War. The Colt model 1860 was a .44 caliber six shot weapon weighing two pounds eleven ounces. During the Civil War, more than 146,800 Colt revolvers were purchased. This made up more than 40 percent of all the handguns bought by the government at that time. In 1851, the .36 caliber revolver was produced by Colt. Colt then sold approximately 215,000 navy models, as they were called. The Star Revolver was a .44 caliber, six shot, double action weapon, which weighed approximately three pounds. 25,000 revolvers were then sold to the government for twelve dollars each. The Figure Eight Revolver was built especially for Civil War use. More than 12,000 of these revolvers were sold to the United States Government in the early war from Great Britain. The most popular pistol was the Le Mat Revolver, or also known as the "cap and ball". The Le Mat Revolver was invented by Jean Alexander Francliois Le Mat, his idea proved its efficiency when colt began manufacturing this in the early 1860s. The "cap and ball" had two barrels, which held nine .40 caliber rounds on the upper barrel, and a .63 caliber on the lower barrel, and came with the option of either an eighteen or twenty gauge shot barrel. One model was even fitted with a full length barrel (Pikes 27-30). This greatly aided the northern victory due to the enormous power it possessed over the confederate's figure eight's.

Riffles were another major contribution to the war, as far as weapons were concerned. The union forces had One of the most popular riffles was the Model 1861 Springfield Musket. The Springfield Musket weighed 9.25 pounds, had a twenty-one inch socket bayonet, and fired a .58 caliber mine ball traveling 950 feet per second. Riffled Muskets, which were also known as Enfields, were the second most popular riffles in the war. These Enfields, had a bore diameter of .557 inches, and weighed nine pounds three ounces. They were accurate at 800 yards, and could travel up to 1,100 yards without any difficulty. During the course of the war, 400,000 Enfields were sold to the Union troops, whereas a mere 20,000 were purchased by the confederate army. Although this weapons wasn't as popular as the Springfield, the Enfield still packed a powerful punch at 1,100 yards (Ripley 43).

The Remington production factories, located in New England, began producing the Harper's Ferry Rifle in 1850. This rifle proved its worthiness in the Mexican War in...
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