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Civil War Weapons Essay

1477 words - 6 pages

Every American citizen over the age of six or seven should at least know the words

“American Civil War”. Of the millions who have, most only know a little about it, like who won,

and who the president was during the time. Many people do not think about all of the

weapons of the time, though. I mean, the Iron Clad, Train, Telegraph, and the Gatling Gun are

popular, but not many people think about revolvers and the Minie Ball. You didn’t think about

that, did you? Technological changes during the American Civil War changed the tide of who

was winning and who was losing. This paper is about some of the weapons that do not get

enough credit. If these weapons didn’t exist, the ...view middle of the document...

It too was a single

action, cap and ball revolver that held six rounds. Unlike the Dragoon, it came in Army, Navy,

Police, and Pocket models, all of which were .36 caliber except the Army model which was .44

caliber. The main innovation with these was that they were lighter, weighing anywhere from

twenty-five ounces to two pounds eleven ounces, depending on the model. Mr. Colt’s

revolvers revolutionized modern weaponry in the Civil War and the World. Of course, his

company produced other guns for the Civil war, some of which I will go over later.

Another huge aspect of the tide of the war was the ammunition that was used. Up until

the American Civil War, all guns except a few were cap and ball, muzzle loaded guns. That

was until the Minie Ball and the sealed Brass cartridge were introduced into war. The Minie

ball was created by Frenchman Claude Etienne Minie. This cylindrical Lead round was hollow

at the end, which was crucial to it working. Rifles were notorious for being extremely hard to

load, because in order for a rifle to work correctly, the bullet had to touch the inner barrel, so

the rifling could spin the bullet. Claude solved this problem by the Minie ball having a hollow

base. This allowed the bullet to slip in easily, and once fired, the gases expanded the lead,

increasing the size of the end of the round, causing it to touch the rifling, thus, the round

would spin, which increased the accuracy and range of the Minie Ball. Since it was made of

Lead, once it hit its target, it would flatten some, increasing its surface area, and lethality. If

you were hit by one of these, you were pretty much dead. In some ways, the sealed cartridge

was even more of an advancement. Its design was simple, there was a Brass cartridge with a

primer, once struck with a hammer, it would ignite the gunpowder, sending the crimped bullet

flying out of the rifling. This method decreased reloading time dramatically. The rounds loaded

from the back of the gun, so there was no stuffing rounds.The bullet was also cylindrical,

further increasing speed and accuracy. Once fired, the Brass expanded, then shrunk past its

pre-fired stage, allowing for easy retrieval of the empty shell. For several years, only the

Henry and Spencer Rifles used these, but revolvers were soon converted to use them.

This is the accuracy of a Minie Ball compared to two other muzzle loading rounds.
(www.Whitemuzzleloading.com)

This gun of terror was the first machine gun. When it was used, the wielders were

nearly invincible. If someone was down the sights of this gun, they were already dead. The

Gatling Gun was created by Professor Richard Jordan Gatling, and in 1862, he had his

revolutionary design patented. This ten barrel, hand cranked, .30 caliber gun of destruction

had a rate of fire of a whopping four hundred rounds per minute! It was constructed by Colt

Arms and it was used by the Union Army. The ten barrels rotated...

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