Even though the American Civil War by the Union and Confederate was fought during the years of 1861–1865, the weapons are still available today. You can find authentic weapons or replicas of the firearms used during the civil war.
They used the normal weapons of the day and some unusual ones to fight their battle. Plus, many were from medieval times adapted for use during the civil war.
They used ingenious ways to fight with the weapons that were modern at the time and used some that had to be converted, but just as effective in fighting.
The weapons of choice for fighting:
- Rifled-muskets – the Springfield rifle, the Lorenz rifle, the Colt revolving rifle.
- Breech loaders were the first type of cannons.
- Repeating weapons with metallic cartridges.
- Field guns such as artillery cannons, including the 12 pound Howitzer and the 10 pound Parrot rifle
- The Minie ball The Minié Ball (aka Minie Ball) was bullet that expanded while traveling along the rifle barrel. This increased the muzzle velocity as well as providing spin to the bullet, making it more accuracy and a longer range.
- Knives such as the Bowie knife
- Swords such as Foot Artillery Sword, Dragoon Saber, Light Artillery Saber, and the Army Non-commissioned Officers’ Sword.
- Pistols such as Colt, the Colt Dragoon Revolver, the Remington 1858, the Smith & Wesson Model 1, the Starr revolver, and the Elgin Cutlass pistol.
These were the “modern” weapons of the civil war. They also used ironclad warships, the telegraph, and the railroads. The civil war encourages innovated ideas on how to kill more efficiently, except they thought of it as taking out the enemy. They also used weapons from medieval times adjusted to work in modern times.
- Early grenades, which were modified artillery shells
- Machine gun such as the Gatling gun. It could fire up to 350 rounds a minute. Other “automatic” weapons were the Confederate breechloader and the Billinghurst-Requa battery gun
- “Rush’s Lancers” were a 10-foot-long Austrian-style lances
- Steel pikes as an alternative to muskets
- Winans steam gun sat on an armored train and used steam to fire at a rate of 200 rounds a minute. This is a guess most experts in the civil war state
- The calcium light used a chemical to heat balls of lime, so they could see the soldiers at night and create a blinding light
- Rockets were experimental such as the Congreve rocket, which was a British designed explosive that looked like bottle rockets. They weren’t used long because they were not very accurate
- Landmines or torpedoes as they were known were used in iron containers with gunpowder, a fuse, and a detonating cap. They were used as booby traps for enemy soldiers. One of the last landmines was found in 1960 in Alabama
- Underwater mines were mined in harbors and rivers to take down the supply ships
- Hot air balloons were mainly used for reconnaissance since they were too easily shot down to be used in fighting
As you can see the “modern” weapon technology of the civil war has a vast array of weapons to use in the fight. Both sides, the Union and Confederates, had many ways to engage the enemy. You can find these weapons of the civil war in museums and there are dealer who sells them. You can also find do-it-yourself kits to recreate any weapon of the civil war.