Sunday, October 21, 2012

Civil War Guns and More...

Hi all,

This is a first attempt at a blog, with which I plan on sharing the history of various firearms from the US Civil War.  There is a lot of good sites with information on modern guns, but relatively little on the classics from our history.

I plan on showing you some of the guns from my own collection, as well as the guns I have had the distinct pleasure of handling from museums around the country.  For example, I have a lot of information an photos from the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Mass.

So, please stick around and cut me a little slack as I figure out the blogging thing.  I promise to make it worth your while!  You'll love all of the Civil War era guns I have lined up to discuss and show off.

Until next time,



  1. I've just started a novel about my 5th great-grandfather and your blog about guns will come in very handy!

  2. Do you have a Twitter or Facebook account?

  3. On your page you write about the paper cartridges used in muzzle loading military longarms until the wide spread adoption of the metallic cartridge in the mid 1860s.
    Regretfully you state an error. Nitrated combustible paper was only used for pistols and some early repeating carbines still utilizing paper cartridges.
    The bulk of military cartridges and all for use by infantry were not combustible at all. In fact, in the USA military loading drill called for the powder to be poured from the cartridge and the ball removed completely from the paper and the paper discarded.
    English and from mid/late war, Confederate cartridges utilized a loading system in which the bullet was rolled point inward to the cartridge. To load the powder was poured from the cartridge, then the cartridge was reversed and the bull stuffed in about halfway when the powder case (remaining paper) was torn away and discarded. The paper wrapping the bullet was lubed to make loading easier and fouling wiped and manageable. To reduce the risk of of any spark remaining even though the paper was as a rule carried out with the bullet, rag paper was used. In fact, a British manual of 1858 (IIRC) called specifically for wool based paper to be used.
    Sources are period British and Confederate military manuals. Those troops were often expected to roll their own cartridges. United States Manuals of the period did not include cartridge making however USA ordinance manuals have been reviewed.
    Another error is in your description of how the cartridges were made. Originally, 3 different pieces of paper of varying thickness, size and shapes were used in the making of each cartridge. During the American Civil War, the need for increasing production introduced a simplified cartridge using 2 different papers, One paper was rolled into a tube and tied at one end to hold the powder. Then that tube was rolled into another with the bullet which was tied off over the bullet's nose (or base as the case may have been) and the tail folded over the powder.
    The completed cartridges were rolled into paper packages of ten (10) with 12 caps twisted into a paper tube (The Confederates included 13 due to a higher failure rate). Each US pack contained one "cleaner" bullet that had a cupped zinc washer which, when fired, expanded to scrape the bore of fouling. The Confederates never used such nor did the English. They relied on the lubricated paper patch to keep the bore clean enough. By all accounts it worked well enough but even so, protracted battle actions caused weapons to be fouled to the point of not being able to be loaded. Solutions ranged from swapping weapons for ones less fouled to urinating in the barrels and a quick clean with strips of cloth torn from clothing.
    Civil war soldiers memoirs.
    I hope you will update your page to present correct information.
    Jim* Golub, Texas, Black powder cartridge maker and shooter, and former Civil War re-enactor.
    * The name on the account, "Jillian" is my wife.

  4. [quote]There is a lot of good sites with information on modern guns, but relatively little on the classics from our history.[end/quote]
    I don't know how you figure there aren't many sources about historical firearms.
    I personally have found and read many and can assure you there were far more than I could ever begin to read entirely.
    I do not by any means mean to suggest yours would not be a welcome addition. I just implore you to study, reference, and get the info you present correct. I have read far too many that either do not go far enough to clarify their point or are simply wrong.
    Again, Jim, on my wife, Jillian's account.

  5. I'm doing a History day project on the older Winchester rifles and I was wondering if you could email me some info at Thanks.

  6. Hey Levin. I sent you an email. I hope it isn't to late to do you some good. It's a fluke that I looked in on this when I did.

  7. I have what seems to be a Civil War Musket passed down in the family. It looks like a Springfield. The identifier behind the hammer is MIDL CONN 1839 or 1859. It is a .70 cal smooth bore. It has a faint circular mark on the stock. How can I find out what type of gun this is?

    1. Strike1. Your .70 cal is probably a .69 caliber. W/out pics it's just a guessing game. If indeed a Springfield, it is probably a descendant of the flintlock model 1795. Following muskets, models 1816* and 1842* were pretty much just upgrades of the first.
      * The dates on the lock plate are merely year of manufacture and many people mistake them for a model # and report them as such. Consequently there are a lot of "models" that never really existed. I did a quick internet search and came up with those above. I am only sure about the model 1795.

      For more detailed identification, register on a gun forum, I highly recommend "Gun Boards" . It's free and you won't get spammed from them.
      This site gets plenty of traffic and is frequented by some VERY knowledgeable people. Look up the "Smoke Pole - Blackpowder" Forum" and post a query about your musket. It is important to provide clear pictures of the piece over all and of any details. There you will get good answers to what you have and where it may have been used.

      Hopefully you'll check back and see this.

  8. Hi there
    I read your post about Civil War Guns and More.. The American Civil War was a major war between United States (the "Union") and eleven Southern states and the gun and every thing which used in this war is collectable to preserve our History.