The Civil War




Rifles with Minié bullets were easy and quick to load, but soldiers still had to pause and reload after each shot. This was inefficient and dangerous. By 1863, however, there was another option: so-called repeating rifles, or weapons that could fire more than one bullet before needing a reload. The most famous of these guns, the Spencer carbine, could fire seven shots in 30 seconds.


In 1848, a French army officer named Claude Minié invented a cone-shaped lead bullet with a diameter smaller than that of the rifle barrel. Soldiers could load these “Minié balls” quickly, without the aid of ramrods or mallets. Rifles with Minié bullets were more accurate, and therefore deadlier, than muskets were, which forced infantries to change the way they fought: Even troops who were far from the line of fire had to protect themselves by building elaborate trenches and other fortifications.

Main Rifles



There were many types of cannons used in the the civil war, including the 6-pounder Gun, M1857 12-pounder "Napoleon", 12-pounder Howitzer, 24-pounder Howitzer, 10-pounder Parrott rifle, 3-inch Ordnance Rifle, and the 20-pounder Parrott rifle. One of the more important technological advances at the time of the Civil War was the ability mass produce rifled barrel field artillery, increasing their accuracy and range.


Field howitzer calibers used in the Civil War were 12-pounder (4.62 inch bore), 24-pounder (5.82 inch bore), and 32-pounder (6.41 inch bore). Most of the howitzers used in the war were bronze, with notable exceptions of some of Confederate manufacture.

Main Cannons