Civil War Weapons


A need for a page to capture information on weapons, their development and use in conflict, has become apparent. While some of this information is covered in other areas, including “the milestones” page, I’ve chosen to consolidate weapon information here.


Percussion Cap

Invented in 1814. In general use by 1820, replacing the flintlock.


Cylindroconcoidal Bullet [“Minie ball”]

  • Invented by Captain Norton of the British army in 1832. [TACWOMW, 16]
  • Perfected by Claude Etienne Minie in 1843, a captain in the French army. [TACWOMW, 16]

“Previously too slow to load, the rifle became a practical weapon on the battlefield. Th eMinie ball could be dropped down the muzzle of a rifle almost as easily as if it were round. T he net result was additional range, velocity, and accuracy.” [TACWOMW, 16]

Minie ball design harpers ferry burton.jpg

Photo: Minie Ball design from Harpers Ferry. Source; Wiki commons.

Artillery / Canon

Edward Hagerman, The American Civil War and the Origins of Modern Warfare: Ideas, Organization, and Field Command (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988).

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