5 Strange Weapons

of the Civil War

Harmonica Pistol

This pistol was probably invented 1859 to 1862. It got the name harmonica pistol by the shape of the horizontal magazine that it used. The firearm was invented and patented by a Frenchmen, J. Jarre of Paris.
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Coffee Mill Gun

The devil's coffee mill or coffee grinder was similar to the Gatling gun in several respects. In 1861, President Abe Lincoln saw the use of this machine and quickly acquired it. On the battlefield the gun jammed and the generals said that it wasted to much ammunition. It saw little use, but was used to guard high value targets like bridges.
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Porter Turret Rifle

The Porter Turret rifle magazine held 10 to 20 cartridges. During the Civil War this was pretty impressive. The reason why the rifle did not catch on was every time you fired it there was a chance of all the rounds in the rifle firing all at once. Rumors were started that the inventor T.P Porter was killed but and soon faded away.
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Coal Torpedo

The Coal Torpedo was designed by Thomas Courtenay in 1864. The name describes it perfectly, it is a gun powered grenade disguised as a piece of coal. These bombs were smuggled into steam ships. When they were thrown in to the furnace it exploded. There are 2 ships are known to be damaged by these torpedos.
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U.S.S. Alligator

In 1862, the US launched its first submarine, the 47 foot long USS Alligator. It was designed by French inventor Brutus de Villeroi. The U.S. Government kept this a secret hoping to use it against the Confederate ironclads.
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