Civil War Weapons

Civil War weapons varied from swords to submarines, and from hunting muskets to hand grenades. With such a wide range of options, there have to a be a few with some really interesting stories to go with them!

Take for example the use of Ketchum Grenades (invented during the war) by Union troops during their attack on Port Hudson: Confederate troops cleverly used blankets to catch the grenades and throw them back down on the their attackers. One Confederate would later describe the incident like this:

"Always equal to any emergency, they quickly devised a scheme ... Spreading blankets behind the parapet, the grenades fell harmlessly into them, whereupon our boys would pick them up and hurling them ... down the moat they would ... explode."

Elgin Cutlass Pistol, courtesy of Neochichiri11

This page is the place to find all sorts of interesting stories surrounding many different Civil War weapons. Just imagine the stories that might go with the beast in the picture above...

Something Old, Something New...

CSS Hunley

There were many Civil War weapons which had been used for years, but there were also many weapons that were invented during the war. These inventions enjoyed varying levels of success, but each one carries some interesting stories.

The weapons listed in this section were all either newly invented during the war, or were major improvements of weapons that may have existed before the war. For example, there had been several experimental submarines before the Civil War; but the first submarine to successfully engage and sink an enemy ship was the CSS Hunley (above) during the Civil War.

Here are some interesting weapons that are featured on our Civil War invention page:

  • Submarine - Stories of danger, failure, and success, in Civil War submarine development...
  • Gatling Gun - The first reliable, usable machine gun. Could have had an impact on the Civil War but didn't.

Weapons of the Civil War

Not all the weapons used during the Civil War were shiny new inventions, however. There were old standbys like the famous Bowie knife, as well as advanced weapons like the Whitworth rifle. The Whitworth was invented in England prior to the war, but due to its cost it did not receive much use until the Confederates began using it as a sniper rifle during the Civil War.

Here are some of the most interesting and iconic Civil War weapons. As always, please feel free to leave comments and suggestions below...

  • Whitworth Rifle - The first long-range sniper rifle, used effectively by Confederate sharpshooters.
  • Mameluke Sword - Was it a Civil War weapon? Maybe, maybe not; but it has a cool story.
  • Bowie Knife - The most iconic knife in American history was a favorite of Civil War soldiers.

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