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Small Arms at Gettysburg: Infantry and Cavalry Weapons in America's Greatest Battle Hardcover – December 18, 2007
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About the Author
Joseph Bilby is the assistant curator at the National Guard Militia Museum in New Jersey. He is also a regular columnist to the popular Civil War News.
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The book covers all the small arms, each in its own chapter. First, the cavalry carbines are covered, then the rifled-muskets are covered, then the smoothbores, the repeating rifles, the sharpshooters and then it ends with pistols and sabers. The book provides the history of the development of the weapon and then some examples of its use at the battle of Gettysburg, and if not used there, its use in other Civil War (or even other military) actions.
All the major weapons, and not so major, are covered, the Sharps carbine, the Enfield and Springfield rifle-musket, the Spencer rifle, the Sharps rifle, and the Colts pistol and rifle.
Here are some interesting anecdotes that I picked up to whet your appetite.
1. The cavalry at Gettysburg used numerous different carbines, the Sharps, the Merrill, the Burnside, the Gallager, and even a rifle, the Spencer. It must have been a challenge to keep all of these different carbines supplied since they each used different bullets.
2. There were three major rifle-muskets used during the battle - the Springfield was the most used, and then the Enfield and an Austrian Lorenz in a number of different calibers.
3. Smoothbore muskets up to 100 yards, using buck and ball, where actually more deadly than rifle-muskets and much of the fighting was done at that distance. Consequently, a number of regiments used smoothbores although they stopped using them shortly after Gettysburg.
4. There were many different units that used the Sharps rifle, for its skirmishing companies, since this was a very accurate and quick firing rifle.
There were more interesting anecdotes.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the Civil War.
The writing flows well and keeps the interest. Actions from the Battle are use to illustrate. Missing is detail about the 20th Maine led by Chamberlain.
If one were to purchase one book on black-powder firearms, this is the book. You might, or might not, wish also to purchase a picture book showing such firearms.
the author's detailed treatment of the topic to be both appropriate and highly useful.
His treatment of cavalry action on the first and third days is especially
well done, and his considered conclusions regarding the development and use of weaponry are insightful.
This one stays in my library - as soon as I get it back from my brother-in-law, who owns a gun shop...