Civil War Interactive Discussion Board Home
Home Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register


Repeating Carbines - Weapons of the Civil War - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
 Moderated by: javal1
 New Topic   Reply   Printer Friendly 
 Rating:  Rating
AuthorPost
 Posted: Sun Mar 26th, 2006 04:53 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
1st Post
JeremyScott
Member


Joined: Sun Mar 26th, 2006
Location: Houston, Texas USA
Posts: 3
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Please excuse me as this is my 2nd post and Im still VERY new to the forum. By why was the Ordenace Department reluctant to change over to the repeaters? I know they had them readily available as early as 1862. From what I read they were only given to select cavarly units?



 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2006 02:42 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
2nd Post
TimHoffman01
Member


Joined: Wed Nov 9th, 2005
Location: Mechanicsville, Virginia USA
Posts: 74
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

As I understood it, the War Department was worried about the soldiers shooting the things off without taking a proper aim and wasting ammunition.  More from the $$ side of things than simply not hitting much.  From an article recently printed in America's Civil War (I'd have to check the month, but somewhere around three issues ago), there was some basis to this, apparently the Union troops had a tendency to fill the air with bullets, but shoot too high when under stress.  I'm sure, of course, there would have to have been notable exeptions to that generality.



 Posted: Thu Jan 11th, 2007 02:49 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
3rd Post
Johan Steele
Life NRA,SUVCW # 48,Legion 352


Joined: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006
Location: South Of The North 40, Minnesota USA
Posts: 1065
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

The biggest factor was cost and reliability w/ both the Spencer and Henry costing 3-5 times of a single M1861 and the brass rimfire ammunition costing at least triple that of a .58 paper cartridge.  Bueracrats are notorious penny pinchers when it comes to saving someone elses hide...

In stopping power and Ballistics neither the Henry or Spencer were all that impressive and both were considerably shorter ranged than the M1861 or P53.  But they made up for those shortcomings w/ the ability to put forth some serious firepower.

Men of Wilder's Brigade at Chickamauga, the 7th IL VI at Atlanta and Altoonna and Custer's Wolverines at Gettysburg to name just a few thought several monthes paycheck for a Spencer or Henry was well worth the investment when they knew they were bound for the Sharp End and they proved the worth of that investment.



 Posted: Thu Jan 11th, 2007 03:48 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
4th Post
ole
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 2027
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Ripley had another, not often-mentioned reason to resist any new-fangled muskets: commonality of ammunition. He was concerned, and perhaps justifiably so, about battlefield supply and about the number of calibers requiring manufacture, distribution and resupply.

Ole



 Posted: Fri Jan 12th, 2007 06:11 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
5th Post
Hellcat
Root Beer Lover


Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 901
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Jeremy, in addition to what's being discussed here, you might want to  check out Civil War Blunders by Clint Johnson. He touches on this subject in the 1861 section of the book, in fact it's in the last part of that section which is all about weapons. In effect, part of the reason sounds like a long time Army career man (Ripley was sixty-seven with forty-seven years of service when he took over the Ordnance Department in Apirl 1861 from Col. Henry K. Craig, who was three years his senior) who was resisting modernization.



 Posted: Sat Jan 13th, 2007 05:03 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
6th Post
Kentucky_Orphan
Member


Joined: Wed Dec 20th, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 125
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I loose patience with the argument that the U.S. ordinace department resisted the change from single shot muzzle loaders to repeater simply because of resisting modernization. I know thats not what you are saying hellcat, you are simply pointing out the fact that some cite it as part of the problem.

Simply put, the U.S. ordnance department was simply overwhelmed. Take into account the variety of arms being used by Federal soldiers as late as Gettysburg. One regiment, the 1st Minnesota, carries into battle at Gettysburg a mixture of .69 smoothbores, .69 and .58 muzzleloading rifles, and a number of Sharpes breechloaders. Nor was this as uncommon as you might think.

There were 242 Union infantry regiments at Gettysburg, sixteen were equipped partially with smoothbores, 10 entirely with smoothbores, and a number with .54 and .70 caliber muzzleloaders. In all, only 70 percent were armed partially or wholy with .577 or .58 caliber muzzle-loading rifles.

Can you imagine the nightmare of trying to keep these units properly equipped with ammunition, especially considering the number of other federal armies, outposts, etc.?

Worse, early in the conflict, as late as 2nd Manassas I believe, there were a number of regiments that put in requisitions for ammunition simply stateing the number of rounds needed and not specifying what type(s).

These factors, along with others, severly hamstringed the Union Ordinance Dept. If you had the choice to modernize your entire force with all .577 or .58 caliber muzzeloaders in 1862 or keeping this hosh-posh of arms much longer in order to issue more repeaters, what would one do? I believe the U.S. Ordinance Dept. did well considering the restraints. Remember the old quip as well- the U.S. Ordinance/Quartermaster worked miracles, they kept 2 countries armies equipped in the field for 4 years.



 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 03:11 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
7th Post
Widow
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 19th, 2006
Location: Oakton, Fairfax County, VA
Posts: 321
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Orphan,

That reminds me of the day when Jeb Stuart captured a Yankee telegraph office.  He had a message sent to the US Quartermaster in Washington, complaining about the poor quality of mules.

I'm sure that Meigs was not amused.  I'm sure Jeb was.

Patty



 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 04:33 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
8th Post
susansweet
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 4th, 2005
Location: California USA
Posts: 1420
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Patty what a great story . Thanks for sharing it . 

Makes me think of a question to ask everyone .  Which Civil War personality would you most like to have a conversation with and what would you ask them ?  I am still trying to think of which one I would want to talk to, actually I know who I would like to talk to but not sure what question I would ask. 

Confederate it would have to be Cleburne or Stuart.  I hink I would ask Cleburne being an Irishman that had only lived in the United States for less than 15 years why did he chose to fight and fight on the side of the South.   I think I would ask Stuart about the Ride around the Union army.

Union , I would talk to Kit Carson (remember I am a westerner )  I would talk to him about the Long Walk.

 



 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 04:34 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
9th Post
Widow
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 19th, 2006
Location: Oakton, Fairfax County, VA
Posts: 321
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Orphan, thanks for your excellent comments about the Ordnance Department.  I hadn't considered the complexity of its responsibilities.

Once again, it shows that there are at least two explanations for an occurrence.  I tend to accept the first explanation I hear, and dispute all subsequent as wrong.

I'll remember your Ordnance discussion as a way of thinking, on any topic, "Yes, but why did they do it that way?"

Patty



 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 06:31 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
10th Post
Widow
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 19th, 2006
Location: Oakton, Fairfax County, VA
Posts: 321
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Susan, an excellent new topic.  If you don't mind, I'll start a new thread so our conversations with the Civil War personalities with not be mixed in with the discussion of repeating carbines.

Maybe we can persuade Joe to move your post to the new thread, hm?

Patty



 Current time is 04:31 pm
Top




UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2008 Data 1 Systems
Page processed in 0.3615 seconds (10% database + 90% PHP). 26 queries executed.