Union Artillery

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade November 2001

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To complete this project I worked very hard for a long period of time. I first looked for an adequate topic; it took a couple different topics for me to choose the right one. When I decided one my topic I went to the library and various websites. I picked books that were most closely related to my topics, and picked websites that were know and had accurate information. I read over books, gathered information and pieced it all together. I finally put it together into a final summary and made various charts.

The Union army consisted of many different weapons. The Union Soldiers would use everything from flesh tearing Colt revolvers to the feared 15 inch Rodman "Columbiad" cannon that could fire a whopping 5,000 yards. The weapons were used for both strategy and plain savage War. Union Submarines had turrets and cannons that were used to destroy Confederate ships like the C.S.S.

Virginia. The Unions artillery overall was more advanced than the Confederate artillery of the Civil War.

In the Union swords were very important in battle. The swords were mainly used in ranking each other, but they were used when you were in a desperate case. There were drawn out in battle when charging, and the flat side of the sword was used in directing soldiers in battle. There were five typical union swords: a Noncommissioned Officer's Sword, a U.S. foot officer's sword; the U.S. Calvary Saber; a U.S. Artillery Saber and a U.S. Artillery Officer's Saber. Officers Swords were engraved, but enlisted and noncommissioned men were not. Calvary troops were the only troops to use swords as weapons.

"Although many types of handguns were used by Union Troops, the Colt revolver seems to be the most thought of and written about." Colts would be engraved and given to various Colonels such as Colonel J. L. Kerby Smith. Colt revolvers shot .36 and .44 caliber slugs. Colts were also single action. Some Union troops carried stocks to increase accuracy. The stock could easily be removed from the guns and were light weight. Each stock had a ring so it could be fitted to a saddle or on the shoulder. The pocket revolvers had small calibers and shorter barrels. There was many other excellent revolvers other that the colt though. The Starr revolver was one and it was a six-shot Army percussion revolver that had a .44 caliber bullet. It had a self consuming cartridge and two triggers, one for double action firing and one for single action firing. Another revolver was the Roger and Spencer six-shot Army revolver. Other famous revolver companies were Remington, Whitney, Pettingill, Le Mat Revolvers, and Smith & Wesson. Smith & Wesson made revolves called Volcanic Repeating Pistols. They were not true revolvers because they did not have the revolver cylinder though. They had self contained cartridges, and were the innovation to the lever action Winchester rifles. Smith & Wesson also made a revolver that was the first to use rim fire cartridges. "The desperate need for arms of almost any type forced soldiers of both sides to use otherwise what might have been called obsolete weapons" The Union Troops used Muzzle- Loading Pistols, since they were stored throughout the country. These pistols were outdated and simple, but the troops used what they could get.

The Union used many different types of Shoulder Arms; we know them today as rifles. The U.S. rifled Musket, 1855 had a rifled bore and was made at Harpers Ferry Armory. The rifled bore stopped spin on the ball causing it to be more accurate. This gun was .58 calibers. The 1864 Remington Model is known as the "Zouave Rifle." It was very popular with militia groups organized under the Zouave drill regulations during the civil war. This gun was a .58 caliber bullet also. It had brass patch boxes built into the stock also. Three types of the famous Springfield were made for the Union also. The made percussion loading guns so that you could load the rifle without using flint. The three famous guns were: The .69 caliber Model 1842 Springfield, .58 caliber Model 1855, and the .69 caliber Model of 1831. Union soldiers wanted repeating rifles. Three Colt rifles were made. The used the same cylinder as the Colt Revolver, but were enlarged to hold a bigger bullet. The guns were made with various barrels lengths and caliber sizes. The Henry Magazine rifle was the begging of the famous line of Winchester repeaters. Muskets and Bayonets were popular in the Civil War. One known Musket was the Colt Musket. It was fired with percussion caps. It fired Minie` balls, this was invented by the French, they were far more accurate that round balls. They were also used by the Confederate. The Union would also import arms from Europe. They were mostly from Austria and Europe. The Carbine was a popular weapon of the Civil War. These rifles were very valuable to Calvary. Seven cartridges could be carries in a magazine, reloading was fast on these rifles. This made the carbine a very popular weapon for both sides. Henry made a rifle that had a long tubular magazine under the barrel that held 16 cartages. This is similar to what we know today as the .22 rifle. Confederate soldiers referred to the Henry as "that damned Yankee rifle that is loaded on Sunday and fired all week." Gatling guns were very popular in the Civil War. The Pre-Gatling gun was called the "Coffee Mill." This guns designer in still unknown but it is officially called "Union Repeating Gun." The gun is .58 caliber and only had one barrel. The barrel would therefore overheat quickly. It had to be cooled so it was not very successful. The cartridges were made of metal and contained a Minie` ball, powder, and a percussion cap. It had t be cranked and was very dangerous. So were not used often. Dr. Gatling Created the Gatling gun. It consisted of several barrels on a wheel carriage so that it was easy to move. Unlike the coffee mill since the barrel had a chance to cool in-between shots it would not overheat. It was also not nearly as dangerous as the "Coffee Mill." The gun was .58 calibers like the "Coffee Mill" also. Cartridges were fed through a had crank to the barrels while turning fed through a hopper. The rate of fire was incredible up to 800 shots per minute! Later versions had 10 barrels on them. Some had shorter barrels that could be carried on hoarse or camel back. Dr. Gatling made a very successful invention to help the Union fight the Confederates.

Mortars were very important for both sides in the Civil War. Two types of Union Mortars were the huge 13 inch seacoast mortar, mounted on a railroad flat car. It fired a round explosive shell that could fire over 4,300 yards at a high angle. Smaller mortars had an 8 to 10 inch bore and were mounted on iron beds. Places would have stock piles of mortars ready for action.

The 10-Poud Parrot Rifle was made by Robert Parrot who placed heavy wrought iron band around the breech of the cannon for more strength at the greatest point of strain. This made the weapon much stronger and able to use much more gun powder for a longer distance on the balls. They came in different sizes from ten-pounders to 300-pounders. The Howitzer was a 12-pound bronze gun known as the "Napoleon" with its battery squad. This squad was composed of six men with their duties to follow. The cannon could fire two accurate shots a minute. 32-poud and 42-poud Cast-Iron Cannons were designed by the French. The allowed the canon to fire over a parapet instead of openings called "embrasures." The gun could move indifferent directions, the cannon pivoted and the wheels moved back and forth. There are larger Parrot rifles that are 100-poud and 200-poud parrot rifles. They were mounted on iron Barbette carriages, they had a front pintle as a pivot also. There was also the 200-poud Parrot, it could pivot 360 degrees. It took more men to man these larger cannons. The Union had about the largest Cannon during the Civil War. It was called the 15-inch Rodman "Columbiad." It was developed by Colonel George Bomford. It had a bore of 8, 10,16 and 20 inches. This huge Cannon fired a 330-pund projectile to 1,518 yards at average elevation, or 5,000 yards at a raised elevation. The barrel on this monster weighed 54 tons. These barrels were made by casting a barrel around a water core so the inside of the barrel would cool first. This made the gun very strong and durable.

In the Civil War the Union was far more advanced than the Confederates. They has great revolver like the colt with a stock for greater accuracy, and the Gatling gun that could fire an amazing 800 shots per minute. There weapons were more dependable and were stronger and more accurate. The Union had some of the best weapons of their times. Their submarines were even usually victorious over the Confederates Submarines such as the Hunley. The Union had a great variety of weapons. With the information that have gathered it looks to me that the North easily dominated the south due to their highly advanced, technological and ground-breaking weapons.