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Detail 1
Detail 1

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Confederate forces destroyed Harper's Ferry Armory in Virginia at the beginning of the Civil War (1861-1865.) The Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts, thus became the only United States government small arms manufacturing facility. Springfield rifle-muskets like this U.S. Model 1861, became the principal weapon of the Union infantryman. The spiraling grooves, or 'rifling' on the inside of the barrel forced a new style bullet, called a Minie ball, to spin as it was shot. This resulted in far greater long-range accuracy than the old smoothbore muskets of the American Revolution and War of 1812. A percussion cap that ignited on impact by the gun hammer replaced the old flintlock system. A vigorous industrial base and large labor force allowed the Union to make ammunition and weapons in far greater quantities than the Confederates could produce.


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Springfield percussion musket

date   1862
location   Springfield, Massachusetts
barrel   40.0"
stock   11.25"
process/materials   wood, metal
item type   Weapons/Armament - Firearm
accession #   #1937.06.01

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See Also...

Bridesburg Percussion Musket

Excerpt from James Childs Hitchcock's Civil War Military Journal

Officers of the 44th Massachusetts Regiment Volunteers

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