Weapons of the American Civil WarAmongst the most lasting of factors stemming from the Civil War are the weapons that were developed. Before the Civil War, the weapons used were highly unreliable, and were not advanced enough to provide the needed defense for a young nation such as our own. Innovative minds created many interesting ways to demolish their enemies without ever having to fire a shot or go into full combat through different types of bombs that were in disguise. Among the advancements in the Civil War were the torpedo, the carbine rifle, the minie` ball, several models of rifle-muskets, rocket launchers, rocket bombs, “Greek Fire,” and a wide array of other secret weapons.
Torpedoes were quite possibly the most destructive weapons created in the Civil War times. There is a great number of models of torpedoes that come from the Civil War; ranging all the way from models that were anchored to the ocean floor to drifting torpedoes that hung beneath driftwood and moved with the current. The first torpedoes from the south were simple powder filled tin cans with trigger attachments. The torpedoes were later developed to have a thin brass cap with a beeswax solution. If pressure was placed on the cap, then the torpedo would explode. The same structure was used in the development of landmines, the “sub-terra booby traps” as they were so affectionately named by the Union officers. Though in the early stages of development, these primitive looking war machines could destroy a fleet.
The Carbine Rifle was a small, easy breechloading rifle. This abnormality made this rifle capable of firing much faster than its predecessors were able to. The Carbine was most effective when using the tactic of riding up, dismounting, and concentrating rapid carbine fire on the enemy. The Carbine rifles developed from single-shot “Burnside” models, named after Ambrose E. Burnside, into repeating rifles dubbed “Henry’s”.
Three French army officers would share the credit for the bullet that caused nearly ninety percent of the soldier casualties in the Civil War. Captain Henri-Gustave Delvigne, Colonel Louis-Etienne de Thouvenin, and Captain Claude-Etienne Minie` were the men which developed this masterpiece. This bullet was designed after discovering that when a standard bullet was put down the barrel of a rifle and was pounded with the ramrod,…
… firing again. Since the gun could fire six hundred rounds of ammunition per minute, each barrel fired one hundred rounds per minute.
Coehorn Mortars and Armstrong Rifles were used as projectile attack alternatives when a garrison needed a powerful blow to be delivered. The projectiles used in the Coehorn Mortars ranged form a weight of seventeen pounds, all the way up to 24 pounds. Named after Dutch engineer Baron van Coehorn, this mortar was a light seige weapon used mostly in trench warfare, and was carried by four men. The Armstrong Rifle, on the other hand was quite a large piece of equipment weighing over seven tons.
The Civil War did very much for our nation, one key aspect of which was the development and advancement of our nation’s defense mechanisms. The United States advanced leaps and bounds in the development of new weapons, and improvements on weapons that previously existed. This is merely a small display of all of the improvements the United States made during the Civil War; a war of bloody conflict and spite. Without these weapons, the war may not have ended just as it did, and we would also not have the advanced weapons systems that we have today.