Thanks to the technological innovations surrounding it, the American Civil War is considered the first modern war in history. Some of those advances can be seen in the firearms that the Union fought with, including some presented on the following slides.
Colt Model 1861 Special Muskets were produced throughout the Civil War period and had some features common to the British Enfield rifle-muskets—among them the S-shaped hammer and elimination of the bolster clean-out screw.
About 1,700 of these Henry Model 1860 rifles were acquired by federal purchase and issued to the 1st Maine and 1st District of Columbia Cavalry Regiments. In 1865, many were reissued to the 3rd Regiment, U.S. Veteran Volunteers.
These handmade, 40-pound target rifles were precision instruments employed by sharpshooters that, when fired from a bench rest, were capable of hitting a man-sized target at ranges in excess of 1,000 yards.
Remington was one of Colt’s major competitors for contracts to supply sidearms for the Union war effort. Approximately 110,000 of these Remington New Model Army percussion revolvers were made for the U.S. government.
This carbine was owned by General Ambrose Burnside, who would go on to serve as NRA’s first president. It was the third-most popular cavalry carbine of the Civil War, with nearly 50,000 purchased by the Union army.