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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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Top Customer Reviews
Although the greatest space is devoted to rifle-muskets (as well it should be, since rifle-muskets by far were the most common shoulder arms used at Gettysburg), smoothbore muskets and breechloading rifles and carbines and revolvers are also described as well. An item of especial interest to me was the author's detailed discussion of the "buck-and-ball" ammunition commonly used in smoothbores (and, as is made clear, a good many smoothbores remained in the soldiers' hands at the time of the battle), the most detailed description of this ammunition type I have ever seen: usually, it is mentioned only in passing, almost as a curiosity rather than a significant piece of military technology, but in "Small Arms at Gettysburg" the history and employment of "buck-and-ball" is given its due attention for the first time.
The writing is vivid, yet detailed. If you are a serious student of the military side of the American Civil War, this is a volume that belongs on your bookshelf.
In places, Bilby's book is technical and presupposes considerable background knowledge in the reader about Civil War arms. He discusses the history and technological development of the various types of small weapons (that is not including artillery) that found their way to Gettysburg. He also provides fascinating information about the companies and individuals that developed the weapons. But when it comes to explaining the manner in which each weapon worked and how, for example, one model of carbine differed from another, he is frequently difficult to follow. Bilby assumes that any reader interested in this book will have a more than elementary familiarity with firearms. Diagrams of selected weapons showing how they were loaded and how they operated together with some simple preliminary information would have been useful.
In addition to the technical information on the weapons, Bilby discusses the way the arms were used, developed, and tested during the Civil War. His discussion of these matters is insightful and clear even for those readers without much background in arms.Read more ›
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...
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this as a present for my father who loves to study American History and also is a collector of firearms. He loved it and said it was very interesting and well written.Published 4 months ago by MrsBriDavis
Very interesting read and reference if this is your thing. A keeper!Published 18 months ago by Steven Rowoldt
A great technical read on a very sparsly covered subject. Enliven with with enough personal accounts to keep it from being a dry read. Fun if you a battle and wapons nut. Read morePublished on March 19, 2011 by JKN
The book was good, as far as the technical things were addressed. But i was looking for more of the day to day dealings with keeping their weapons clean,and what little tricks the... Read morePublished on March 6, 2010 by William Mcclintock
This book was recommended to me by the American Rifleman (one of the magazines for NRA members), and I'm glad that they recommended it. Read morePublished on February 21, 2010 by J. Groen
Based on the reviews and the write-up I'd expected a book with detail on the design of the small arms used and their operational deployment. This book is something different. Read morePublished on February 15, 2010 by Wayne