tv Lectures in History Civil War Weaponry CSPAN August 31, 2021 3:48pm-4:44pm EDT
>> now on american history tv, jeff conditionard of guilford technical community college in jamestown, north carolina, teaches a class about civil war weaponry and shares artifacts such as muskets, carbines and revolvers. he talked about technological advances that allowed soldiers to fire faster and with more accuracy. >> all right, guys. how are y'all doing today? welcome to class. today as i talked about a little bit earlier this week we have a special lecturer here. dr. jeff kinard. you may have a class with him. he is the chair of our history and political science here at guilford technical community college. what you may not know about dr. kinard is that he is a military historian.
he's an expert in military history. he has published at least four books on anything from weaponry, weaponry from the civil war, revolutionary war. he collects a host of artifacts which he has brought and will share with us today. he is a ph.d., earned his doctorate from texas christian university in fort worth, texas. what year was that now? it was a while ago but he's an expert. if you get an opportunity to take a class with him, take a class. so we're going to continue to discuss the civil war. thankfully for dr. kinard we get to look at the aspect of weaponry and its impact on the war. so without further adieu, i will hand the class over to dr. kinard. >> thank you, dr. bartee. the theme for today's lecture is going to be about technology of warfare. a lot of our classes we deal
with the politics of warfare and just the historical record of warfare, but a lot of it comes down to the individual who is in the field and, you know, the weapons that they were issued because that's what you need for warfare. one thing i found fascinating in research was looking at the early 19th century, in other words, from the years, say, 1800 up until the american civil war from 1860, '61 to '65. this was also a period in the united states of intense invention. americans were incredibly creative at this time. we were really a world leader in inventing just about everything, everything from steam ships to steam-powered factories to the telegraph, just layer after layer of invention, creativity. and in a kind of strange
unfortunate way, though, we see that a lot of these inventors started using their talents in inventing weapons. in other words, there was a certain technological revolution in weaponry technology during the early 1800s, and this is one of the factors that leads to such high casualties in the american civil war that you see this throughout history or repetition that it takes military leadership very often if you look through the past to catch up to military thinking and strategy. it tends to stay in the past war, and technology goes ahead and then military thinking has to catch up with technology. and what we see is when we enter the american civil war that most military thinking was still along the lines of the american revolution. in other words, warfare that had happened decades earlier, or even napoleon just a few years earlier. that was their hero.
a lot of these american generals their hero was napoleon boneparte. they thought was the greatest general in the world and a strategist. but the problem was they had new weapons when they were making their planning based on old weapons. that's one thing i'm going to go through is to show the advances in various weaponry that we see in the american civil war and how that's going to affect how casualties happen. first of all, i brought in the basic weapon of an american revolutionary war soldier. this is a -- it's actually an american copy of a french musket that was used at the time. this is the french call it a sharliville, but it is a single shot, flintlock musket. anybody ever know anything about
these? they are very slow to shoot. and just the weapon itself dictated how any battle would have happened for really over 250 years. from the american civil war back this kind of weapon dictated how a battle would happen. and it's just because of the limitations. this weapon can't really be aimed. it is a smooth bore weapon which means that the barrel -- do we all know the -- do we know the makeup of one of these? yes? no? possibly not. okay. the basic idea behind the flintlock musket -- i'm going to use my artistic genius here. what would be the basic part of this musket? the most important part is the barrel. now you can understand why my freshman art teacher started
crying. but if you think of a barrel it's really just a long pipe. it's just a metal pipe, and it's plugged up at one end and it's open at this end. see this is the barrel. and what we have here is we drill a small hole or they drill a small hole in this side. i'm making a left-hand musket here. and what happens is if you're going to load this, the soldier is told to load. you know, that's the order. a military guy, a soldier would have taken a cartridge. a cartridge was essentially a round ball like this. this is a round lead ball. these could be 69 to 75 caliber, three quarters of an inch, about an ounce of lead. this ball itself would have been in a paper cube with gun powder in it. the soldier himself would have
been told to load. he would raise the musket like this and this is the lock. so you would have to take this which is called the frizzen or the battery. it's very hard steel, flip that up and this is the hammer. at that time they called it the cock because it looked like a rooster's head. so that's why you say cock the weapon. you'd pull that back to half-cock. you would bite off the end of the cartridge, the paper cube and you'd put a little bit of powder in this pan. this flips back. it hold the powder in place. you then drop the musket like this. you take the rest of your powder and the ball, you drop it in, you pull out your ramrod, and that is where you get it seated like that, you have to do that.
could you imagine if somebody was shooting at you while you're doing this? it is taking a long time. imagine somebody shooting at you while you're doing this. you then finish that. you're now pretty much ready to go. your officer or your sergeant says ready, you pull it to full cock and then they never said aim, they said level. you can't aim these things. you would just kind of level it at the other side like that and then pull the trigger. you have a piece of flint. this illustrates it much better. this is a pistol from the same time, and this is a piece of flint. this is the steel. if you do like this, you saw the sparks come out. so it's flint hitting the steel. that's why it's called flint lock. if you're lucky, what's going to happen next? well, what happens next is when
the gun fires, this goes forward, the sparks fall into the pan right here, the sparks go through the hole, hit the powder inside the musket and with luck the ball -- this powder will explode and the ball will go rolling out the barrel. and if you're lucky that ball might go how far? 50 yards or 100 yards. it's not going to go very far. and because it's just kind of rattling down the barrel it's not going to be accurate. if i were shooting to the back of this room i might be able to hit somebody, i might not. that would be kind of discouraging, wouldn't it, and it takes a long time. what's going to happen if it's raining? would this work? >> no, because of the spark. >> yeah, it's going to get on the powder, the spark won't spark.
if it's raining, really, humid, muggy that might make it not work. that's also why you as a soldier are then issued the bayonet which turns your musket into basically a spear. so that's why we have that. so you've got maybe two or three shots in a battle and then you just are trained to go at your enemy with the musket and in -- with the musket like that turned into a spear. that is typical fighting. in other words, if you didn't follow a set of rules, the battle wouldn't have worked because not only does it take so long to load, a musket like this if it went off would create a huge amount of smoke. and then if you're thinking you've got several thousand guys firing at the same time you're going to have massive amounts of smoke. so that's why we see a kind of -- it's almost rules of war
for a couple of hundred years. to make a battle work you're going to have very inaccurate slow-firing muskets and you're going to have a lot of smoke so for this reason you have to follow certain rules. soldiers would line up shoulder to shoulder in line and face another group of soldiers, the enemy soldiers lined up, in other words, shoulder to shoulder. the idea is i might be aiming at you, but i might hit him. so if i'm shooting, at least i'm going to hit somebody. and the same thing happens. if you're shooting at me you might miss me but you're going to hit the guy next to me. so that is why they have to be very close, just to make it work. it's also why you see the soldiers are color coded. you know, in the american revolution what color did the british soldiers wear? yeah, they were known as the red coats. what color did we wear? yeah, we wore blue.
you know why? very good. we got our clothes, our weapons from the french. guess what color the french wore? blue. so if you go to the american civil war you see that's why we were wearing blue clothes like this in the american civil war. federal united states troops wearing blue. the hats they wore, the only reason they wore the hats like this, the french wore hats. we copied everything french. this is called a kepi, like french for cap. this is why people fought like that. you have to have those colors so you can see each other in the distance, know who each other are. you have to be close together to be able to hit what you're going to shoot. then we have a breakthrough in technology as we go from the '20s into the '30s to the 1840s.
one part of this breakthrough is the use of the rifle musket or rifling. and y'all will be able to see this in a minute. someone figured out if you take this barrel and cut grooves in the barrel and make them twist, in other words the grooves twist as they go down the barrel you're going to take that bullet and instead of having it rattle down the barrel, if you have the bullet just a little bit smaller than the bore, the inside of the barrel, then it will fit tightly into those grooves. so you've got the soft lead bullet, and i'll just pass these around. here's a round ball, and there's a bullet, what we call the minie ball. m-i-n-i-e. the minie ball is shaped like what we think of as a bullet. i'm doing a little bit better now. the minie ball you'll see if you look at the base of it, it's
kind of hollow, isn't it? so if you look inside it's shaped like this. it's got this hollow in it. the idea is when you fire the musket that the power of the charge will make this spread out a little bit. so it'll spread out to here, it'll grab the rifling and go down that bore, and it'll be much, much more accurate. so instead of missing that person at 100 yards you're going to hit what you're shooting at. as a matter of fact you could hit somebody 300, 400 yards away. so accuracy jumps way up. you have super accuracy with these things, and you could fire them quickly because instead of having the loose powder to set it off they invent what's called a percussion cap. and i'll pass this one around. this is the percussion cap, which i'll switch to the musket i'm talking about. this is a model 1855 rifled
musket which would have been produced at harpers ferry, virginia, at that time. this rifle has the percussion cap right here, you can use a percussion cap. it uses the minie ball which i passed around, and that means your loading is going to be much faster. you would take a cartridge like this, this is what you use, you would take a cartridge like this, drop it on the floor -- by the way, if you're doing archeological work you can see where people are trying to load, you can find old battle sites, you can tell the soldiers that were really nervous because you find a battle line, you see that they dropped cartridges all the time. they were being shot at, afraid and you can find mini balls like this where they just dropped them and they were in perfect shape. the soldier himself would grab this cartridge, he would put it in the muzzle like that.
and you would still use your ramrod, but it's fast. a lot of times the guys would just stick it in the dirt like this so that they wouldn't -- you know, it would be faster the next time. >> you pull this back, you put that percussion cap on here, and you could fire. the thing about it is you could hit somebody 100 yards away accurately. this is what led to a lot of the casualties in the civil war. guys got way too close, there was no way to miss, and you see tens of thousands of soldiers getting killed in a single battle. so this is, you know, one of the reasons why we see the casualties, something very accurate. and it's also showing a lot of the invention. the one thing about this particular rifle, though, and it shows technology that was too far ahead of its time. the rifle itself has an
invention on it that was made to make the percussion cap even obsolete, and you see what's going on in there. this is a roll of caps. and these caps are like today you could get it, there are toy cap guns. when you cock it, it pulls the cap forward so that way you don't even have to put on the percussion cap so it's automatically priming it self. what's the problem with this? what happens when you run out? and very often that was a problem. the soldiers couldn't find the caps, and also they got wet sometimes. another problem was it's a little bit more complicated than using just the cap.
again, a lot of these soldiers are straight off the farm. they've had almost no experience with real machinery and they're kind of confused. so the soldiers or the ordinance officers figured out maybe this is too complicated, so they could still use the cap on it, but you see an attempt to make these more efficient. so it was a pretty decent idea, in practicality it didn't work. if you have any questions feel free to ask. going to the idea of ideas that didn't work. this is -- does this look different from that last one? this was an attempt to make a soldier's weapon that you did not have to use a ramrod with. it was meant to be what we call a breach loading musket. and the idea is they actually equipped it with a bolt, so if
you do it right, you pull it back, kind of like a modern weapon. you take your cartridge, you put it in there. you close the bolt and it still needs a percussion cap. guess where? it's on the bottom. so this is how this one was made. and, again, you take your percussion cap and you put it there. what's the problem with that? it could fall out. we've noticed that earlier. but it's a great idea. it just confused soldiers and was not all that practical. only about a thousand of these were made.
so it was a great experiment, it didn't work. brilliant idea. but in practicality it doesn't work. another great idea that doesn't work. do you see anything odd about this? what is strange about this? it's got two hammers. the idea behind this was an inventor whose brother had been killed out in the west fighting native-americans in a battle thought that american explorers should have more shots in their guns, so he creates a two-shot musket where you put two cartridges in the barrel and then with luck you have your -- both hammers cocked and with luck one trigger fires one hammer shoots the front cartridge, the next trigger shoots the back cartridge and you've got two shots in one barrel. how successful do you think this was? but it was a great idea. sometimes great ideas just get pushed out into the field and
not tested. i think the biggest jump in technology we see in the civil war as far as firearms it would not be for infantry. if you know about the military you have three fields -- or at least three branches. you have artillery, you have infantry, you have calvary. the infantry guys pretty much had these kind of weapons. they were trying to keep it simple. we do see, however, with the calvary there was much more innovation. these are the soldiers that are on horses. they wanted shorter weapons that could be easy to use while on a horse. and you also wanted weapons that could be fired fairly rapidly
and loaded easily. so this is where we see most of the innovation i would say or the useful innovation. so i brought several calvary weapons here, which were invented by individuals and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. first one i picked up. doesn't that look a little bit neater? this is what's known as a burn side carbine. it was invented by a famous civil war general by the name of embros burnside. guess what style we have that comes from burnside.
sideburns, they just switched it around. the term sideburns comes from general burnside who had magnificent sideburns. so he was famous for that. but he invents this carbine. the guy was a great inventor. he was a terrible general and a terrible business man,. he didn't make a penny off this really. he got cheated off his patents but it's a brilliant concept. the burnside carbine has a rifle barrel. it's short, easy to carry on your horse. it's got a ring so you can put it on a strap so you don't lose it. and to fire it instead of using a ramrod, you press this little lever and this drops open. so you have the entire inside of this exposed. so that's easy. you don't have to ram things. you do that, and it uses a metallic cartridge. in other words, not made out of paper that could get messed up in the rain. it's got a brass or copper holder for the powder. so the powder is in the copper back. it's got the bullet in the front, and to load it you just place it right here. and then push this forward.
you still have to use the percussion cap, but it's much, much faster to use. it works in the rain, and you can fire probably five to ten times more rounds in the same time as it takes to fire two rounds in one of these or one round, really. so a big break through. not to be outdone, another inventor named smith invents his own carbine. and this is -- guess what it's called, the smith carbine. brilliant idea. if you want to load this, you press a button right here. it pops open. it uses a cartridge like this. it was made out of the lead bullet with a rubber -- hard rubber cartridge in the back. that fits right in there, then you close it and you're ready to go.
it also needs a percussion cap. after the talk if y'all want to come up, i love people being able to examine these. this is a good example of looking down the barrel and actually seeing the rifling in it. so you can actually see those grooved cuts in the barrel that makes that bullet spin. brilliant idea. if you've ever heard the term sharpshooter, a lot of people think it comes from this particular carbine. this is called the sharp carbine. one of the most popular car beans used in the american civil war. it's nice, it's light, it's handy. to load it you use a cloth cartridge, either cloth, linen or made out of animal skin. and to load it, you pull that down, you put your cartridge right there. the back of the cartridge has to
be opened. there's like a razor blade in the back of this. it cuts it off, you're ready to go like a cigar trimmer. and then it also uses a percussion cap. this was one of the more popular guns used in the civil war. again, some of the longer ones were used by sharp shooters for sniping. after the civil war this became one of the most popular types of weapons used for buffalo hunting out in the west. so it became a very popular weapon through the entire 1800s really. so this is the famous sharps carbine. the most revolutionary carbine was this carbine. this was invented by a man named christopher spencer, and spencer came up with several brilliant ideas, one of which was a new cartridge.
his cartridge was totally self-contained. it looks pretty much like a modern cartridge, doesn't it? it looks like a giant .22. his cartridge was the standard lead minie ball, but the cartridge itself is totally self-contained. it has the powder in this copper case. and instead of having a percussion cap for priming, the primer is in that rim around the base of it. so it has the rim going around the base of the cartridge, so you don't need a percussion cap. is that a big jump? it's a huge jump. and if that wasn't a jump enough, to load it he invents a magazine that goes in the back of the carbine. so this magazine holds seven cartridges. so if you have a spencer carbine and if you're in a battle, a fight, the soldiers would typically have the thing loaded
with this magazine like that. they would have had seven magazines in a pouch or box attached to their saddle. and so to fire it, all you had to do was load it, do that, cock it, fire it, so you could shoot it, dozens of shots within a very brief time. it was incredibly effective. does the army adopt it? why would the army not adopt it? it's simple, very efficient, super well-made, but why would they not adopt it? >> expensive. >> it wasn't that expensive, but it was expensive to shoot. the army, the guys counting the beans were looking at it and going soldiers will waste too much ammunition. they say it's too easy to shoot. soldiers will waste ammunition. we're not going to buy this gun for the army.
that makes sense, doesn't it? spencer is one of those guys that doesn't give up. in a famous story spencer takes one of his carbines, goes directly to the white house and gets a meeting with abraham lincoln and a famous story he and abraham lincoln go out on the white house grounds and abraham lincoln gets to test fire one of these himself. as soon as he does this, lincoln orders his generals you're accepting this rifle. it took really a presidential order to take one of these or for us to adopt this. so this is the famous spencer carbine. it works wonderfully. as soon as lincoln was dead at the end of the civil war, the army took back all of these spencer carbines, put a lil
device on it that turned them into single-shot car beans. so they were still worried about the money, but still a beautiful idea. going back to the calvary, we see another jump in technology. before the civil war, if you had a pistol this is probably what it looked like, a single shot either flintlock or percussion pistol. you notice it's also kind of shaped like a club. it works great with one shot and then you can bonk somebody with it. not very accurate. doesn't go very far. 20, 30 yards maybe. not an efficient weapon. famously an american inventor by the name of samuel colt who was a sailor at the time, he invents what we call the revolver while he's in a ship sailing around the pacific. sitting around he just liked to carve stuff. and he comes up with the idea of the revolver. it's a percussion weapon, and he creates the cylinder, and,
again, this is a rifle, by the way, it's a cylinder with six cartridges in it. the cartridge was a little thing like this. it's got the powder in a piece of like skin or paper, and with a colt revolver you take your cartridge, put it in the front of your cylinder. this is a ramrod, so you ram each one in. you put your percussion cap. you use these little tiny ones. you put your percussion cap on it. so you load it, you put your percussion cap on it back here. so in that effect you have six cartridges in this pistol. toe just to fire, it all you have to do it coct, pull the trigger, cock it, and with each cock the cylinder revolves and you have six shots. it's a big jump from having a single shot pistol to a six-shot pistol. yes, ma'am? >> did you have to use like several percussion caps every
single time you wanted to shoot? >> each -- it's each cylinder has to have a percussion cap. so this would have six percussion caps, then six cartridges in it. yeah, it takes a while to load. that's the disadvantage of the colt. it takes a little while to load it. you load it in advance, and most of these guys would carry two pistols at a time, so that gives you 12 shots. if you consider a calvaryman, if you have the spencer carbine, you have a massive number of shots from the carbine and then with two of these you have 12 shots from the pistol. again, i've seen an archaeological site outside of greensboro where you can see that there was a confederate position of local confederate soldiers who are conventional muskets like this, and they were facing a much, much smaller union or federal cavalry unit, and you could tell that this tiny cavalry unit held off a
much larger confederate infantry unit because the cavalry soldiers had revolvers like this and spencer carbines. and you could tell what was happening because you could see these cartridges left on the ground that were about three inches under the dirt so you could see how effective the massive firepower coming from cartridge carbine and cartridge revolver. the problem with -- that just reminds me that colt, even though a great inventor, held back invention in america for decades because of his patent rights. he patented this revolver action and nobody else could really use it unless they bought a patent or they infringed on the patent. so he held it back. a much better pistol came out during the same time which was this one. i can illustrate this. this is a remington revolver, the second most used pistol in the american civil war, but it's
a much better pistol than the colt, especially if you like to fire rapidly. it's much heavier made, feels much more solid and it could be loaded much faster than the colt. to load this thing -- again, it works the same but you cock this and all you have to do to load it, you could drop the cylinder out and it's a little bit heavy, isn't it, but you can see on the back you put those caps on the back, you load it from the front and some of these calvary soldiers would carry a bunch of those in a bag. it would be like loading it like a magazine. so they'd have much more shots than otherwise. so let's see here, i think -- so we can have a little bit of questions.
i will show one thing that i find somewhat interesting in that the ability to manufacture modern equipment during the civil war, there's a difference between what was issued to the south, what was issued to the north. when the civil war started, the north already had good resources and they'd developed their manufacturing skills in their factories. it was not like that here in the south. this was agricultural. we did not have the manufacturing skills in the south to match the north, and you could really see that in some of the weapons that were produced at the time. also the thinking. at the beginning of the civil war there were very few arsenals in the south. there were not that many resources to create weapons. thinking about behind the times, one of the first weapons produced by southern arsenals,
and this is excavated, this is called a pike or a spear. so early confederate soldiers out of georgia were issued spears to use against union forces. not really a good idea, was it? they didn't last, but they were using something as primitive as that. they decided to copy union weapons. here is the basic calvary saber federal soldiers or united states soldiers in the civil war. beautifully made and it was made in massachusetts, beautiful leather, beautiful workmanship. it makes a nice ring, doesn't it? but you can see it's beautifully made, beautifully balanced.
you can see it's dated, inspected, manufacturing marks all over it. this went through an intense inspection program, beautifully made. >> but is it that sharp, though? >> it's sharp enough, but one thing that they found out that very quickly it's almost like you had to have a sword because it was part of your ego, but you probably never would use it. because if i'm going at you with a sword and you're coming at me with one of these who's going to win? it got to the point where people -- it's almost like you had to have a sword because you just had to have one, but they didn't use it that much. this is good example of a sword, federal sword, beautiful quality. on the other hand, this sword was made in north carolina near wilmington at about the same time. do you see any differences so far? if you look, very simple, very crude looking.
the blade is dark, but the blade is not as well-balanced. it's not as well-made. it has no markings on it other than a couple of roman numerals. but if you look at the scabbard you can see a scene down it. it's like whoever made this was not that good at it. so the stuff made in the south is not as good, it's cruder made and not of quality. another example of that -- we'll have a sword fight in a few minutes. another example of that is as i showed earlier this is a federally made, united states government made musket. beautiful. you can look at it. beautiful workmanship, everything about it. inspected multiple times, beautifully made. the problem in the south was they just did not have the manufacturing capabilities. they tried to copy federal designs. this is a musket made -- this
was made in richmond, virginia. this is confederate musket which is a copy of the union musket, the federal musket. and you can see it's darker, not in as good of shape, but you can see the federal musket had this mechanism here. in the confederate version, they didn't know how to make it so they left it off so it's a bit cruder. another issue we have, skill workers in the south. biggest example locally, there were multiple rifle-making shops here in guilford county. multiple. one of them was out off of 85 on rock creek dairy road, one of the exits off of 85. there was a confederate rifle factory there, north carolina
made. they were doing a great job of making muskets but i found the paperwork for this musket factory here in town, or in guilford county, and i'm finding in the paperwork that -- this is sort of sad -- they've been working and working and working. they've almost finished all of these muskets. they had a big order of muskets ready to go, but muskets need springs. if you notice to make it cock back you need a big spring. they have something like three springs that need to be in that musket, two to three, and it won't work without them. here in guilford county we had one man in guilford county in 1862 who could actually make good springs. in the whole county, one guy who could do this. that's kind of sad, isn't it? what was the problem with that one man who made springs for this factory? >> did he die? >> no, he was really good friends with a local moonshiner.
i mean, he would disappear for weeks at a time. so they would have everything ready to go but because of only one guy that was not dependable, that held up production. so we see that was another one of the issues. any questions at this point? we're getting kind of close to time but -- yes, sir? >> can i ask you a question? >> yes. >> so between the first bull run and appomattox with sort of the change in weapons is there a shift in battle tactics? have you found that the proximity was further away for the soldiers, or did the federals or union realize, hey, we've got these better weapons, let's keep the close proximity and we'll come out sort of better for it? not really. >> sadly, no. not really. you would think. you see some changes in calvary tactics, but for the most part they just don't seem to have -- it doesn't seem to have registered on them that you
still see massive casualties towards the end. these big groups of soldiers marching in and just getting mowed down. you know, one volley can just drop dozens of guys at a time. they were still doing it. again, that shows after the war the ordinance department had them turn the spencer carbine back into a single shot. yes, ma'am. >> i just wanted to know what are those big bullets over there? >> the big bullets. these are artillery shells, and they also show that jump in technology. this is what you would have seen fired in a canon during the revolutionary war. this is a cannonball from the battle of guilford courthouse -- well, guilford county. basically it's just a big iron ball. if it hits you it's going to make a mess but it has to hit
you. that was one of the other changes during the american civil war. they made the jump to shells. inside of this, this is civil war cannonball found at bentonville which was a big battle in north carolina here in 1865. you had explosives inside of this and a very complex fuse, and these would explode. you could time it. by doing the fuse you could fire this at troops and up to five seconds delay, and when it got to where you wanted it to go, it would explode, chunks would break off, it was filled with bullets that could go out and hit and this was much more deadly. and here's one. this was found at bull run or manassas, that's one little bit that throws people off. these battles during the civil war typically had two names. the south named the battle after the local town, the north named it after the local body of
water. so the first battle of the war, the battle of -- the first battle in the south it was called manassas because of the town, in the north it was called bull run because of bull run creek, but that's where this was found. this was an artillery shell fired out of a canon, weighs 10 pounds but you can see it's shaped like a bullet. this came out of a rifle artillery piece canon. so it could be much farther than a revolutionary war canon. so the canoneers firing this, it would explode and this would go much farther much more accurately and explode making it much deadlier than anything else you would have seen in the revolutionary war. >> oh, jesus. >> i know. it's heavy, isn't it? >> yeah. >> anyone else? well, if that's the case i've
also got other things if you want to see. basically articles of clothing. again, what you would have been wearing in july at manassas, if you were in the union artillery. wool. so this was what people wore at the time. these soldiers are wearing wool clothes, wool pants, long sleeves, shirt, jacket, vest. it would have not only been unpleasant being fired at, you would have been burning up hot. yes, ma'am? >> i just wanted to know, like, how did you gather all this stuff? and then also i notice there's some initials on that gun. is that your initials or is that like a soldier from back in the day's initials? >> i love that. okay, actually i'm old enough these were issued to me and i just kept them.
i've been -- this is part of my profession. i've been doing this for years, and yeah it is true you'll see some of these have been personalized by soldiers. and you don't see it as much in union weapons, but in the south sometimes like this was made in the north. this was captured by a southern soldier, and he was just personalizing it. a lot of times in the military you spent a lot of times just bored. so you will see things like that. you know, somebody with the initials j.e. had that. this one i think right over here you can see very -- a lot of the guys personalized their muskets and they did other things, for example -- what else do you do when you get bored? here is a bullet that a person carved into a fishing lure. it's a weight for a fishing line. he took a bullet, he carved it and you could tie your line here, so this was made for fishing. you see things like that, soldiers personalize just about everything they had. yeah, that's exactly what they would do. you see that quite often. somebody else. yes, sir? >> with black powder rifles in
general it seems like they would kick pretty hard. what inventions would come around this time or even later that would make the recoil a little better? >> i like that. yeah, they do kick. and they kicked the more you fired it. i mean, that was another issue that i didn't mention. that you don't really see something that will lower the kick. you can put less powder in it, that's going to do that, but they wouldn't want to do that, that takes away range, but it does illustrate one of the problems with these muskets. black powder is dirty. if you fire a black powder
weapon, it leaves a lot of crud, residue in the barrel. and it's kind of grainy, and it's black and it's messy. but every time you fire a black powder musket. it leaves this residue in the rifle. which means it gets harder and harder to load. so each time you load it you have to really ram that ramrod down. so that was one of the problems. i don't see any issues with later on they invent the license that helped with the recoil, but these things, they do kick. and, again, they kicked more when it was harder to load them because you had more buildup up in them. if you want to come up afterwards i've got bullets here that you can actually see where the soldier had to really ram it. you see the impression at the end of the ramrod in these bullets before they got fired because the guy had to really just cram it down like that. but that was a good question. they still kicked. anyone else?
>> i know you showed us the wool coats they wore during battle. were there numbers that were shown that showed large casualties not from puncture wounds from ammunition and things like that, as in like heatstroke and things like that from hiking and traveling for war? >> more people -- that was a great question. thank you. more soldiers died of disease and other problems. than really bullets. when you're looking at casualties, you see almost no casualties from say the bayonet. during the revolutionary war you were supposed to get close to use it. it was great, but you're not going to get close to the other guy to use it. stick it in the ground and put a candle in it, makes a lovely candleholder. i mean, really. you're sitting around, that's what they would use it for.
i've looked at all sorts of casualties. you rarely see wounds from a bayonet. you rarely see wounds from a sword because you couldn't get close enough. you see quite a few wounds -- the biggest wounds, damage guns from the rifle musket. this is the biggest weapon, but the soldiers are in camp, this is the idea of pre-germs and things like that. so the big killer would have been things like any kind of disease going through camp. like measles could kill people. but you see dysentery being a big killer, typhoid being a big killer. i've seen issues of heatstroke because i just do not see, you know, how people could have fought in weather at that time like gettysburg is in the middle of the summer, it's in early july.
and to me it's just -- you can -- this is summer weight. it's also winter weight, but a soldier would have been wearing really long johns, flannel long johns with a linen shirt and it was part of the uniform. it had to be buttoned. and so you're wearing that. you would have been wearing woolen pants, and an almost useless woolen cap. yeah, the evidence -- and the shoes, by the way, leather soles, and the shoes would have been hideously uncomfortable. and you'll notice the sole was not sewed on. they were pegged on with little pegs. if you want to see that. but, yeah, there's evidence you would have seen these soldiers and i've read a lot of letters where they were just dying of thirst. they have a very low capacity canteen, and you would have seen
people dropping from heatstroke. >> since this is nationally televised i'm going to ask you the million dollar question. in your mind, in your research is gettysburg still considered the major turning point, or do you see it as being something else, another set of circumstances? >> yes, i would say it would be the big turning point. i know some people would disagree, but gettysburg was a desperate move by the cop fedsy. robert e. lee, of trying to get a major victory on north home soil. and his biggest purpose for that
would have been to bring in european help to the south. a lot of people in the south, a lot of leadership in the south were really counting on bringing in france and england on the side of the south to go against the united states. and one of my research topics was a french nobleman who right up to the very end in 1865 was hoping to bring france in on the side of the confederacy. what these northern -- i'm sorry, what these european powers were looking for was to see if the south had a chance at winning, or at least coming up with a negotiated truth -- truce, sorry, so that's what lee was doing. if it had been a great victory on northern soil it might have persuaded them to recognize the confederacy as an independent government but that fell through. it was a little bit delusional or very delusional and that was the big goal and once he lost, that the war still goes on there
are horrendous battles afterwards and i really think that's the turning point. anybody else? >> any other questions? >> well, thank y'all. and if anybody wants to come down and enjoy, take a look, if you've never held a musket, here's your chance. >> let's give a hand to dr. kinard for visiting. again, be prepared for your second exam coming up next week. thank you for being here. if you would like to come down and look at the weapons, please come down and dr. kinard will let you hang out a while and let you touch and so what he brought. thank you so much. what he bro. thank you so much. what he bro. thank you so much.e what he br. thank you so much.e what he brought. thank you so much. ♪♪ ♪♪
this year marks the 20th anniversary of the september 11th attacks. join us for live coverage from new york, the pentagon and shanksville, pennsylvania starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern saturday, september 11th on c-span. watch online at c-span.org or listen on the c-span radio app. >> and now on lectures in history, university of connecticut history professor manisha sinha teaches a class about the reconstruction era offer the civil war and outlanes different ways historians have interpreted this period, either a success for african-americans granted under the new constitutional amendments or as a failure since it did not achieve equality for african-americans. >> so today we are going to be talking about reconstruction, right, so what is