Illustrations of Military Terms - various weapons and defenses

Mike Serpa

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Enough weapons to list this under Cannons & Artillery. Did the bar shot work? How many of the devices saw little use in action? (The percussion torpedo looks like one of those old-time shoe polishers that were in shoe stores and department stores.)
historyofpennsyl03bate_0010-2.jpg

Frontispiece of book at link below
https://archive.org/details/historyofpennsyl03bate/page/n9/mode/2up
 

James N.

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Is this what we would call a mine today? Were they used often? Anywhere that members are familiar with?

View attachment 401371
I'm sure it's what we now call a land mine, but this is the first such illustration I've ever seen.
Contrivances such as this became more and more common as McClellan's army advanced up the Peninsula towards Richmond and were chiefly the inventions and work of the Confederate bureau headed by Brig. Gen. Gabriel Rains.
 

James N.

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What would have been the poison in the poisoned bullet? And how does the fire ball exactly work?
The so-called fire ball was another primarily naval-use round which was little more than a combustible concoction heavily impregnated with a flammable tar-like substance that would automatically ignite from the discharge of the gun it was fired from. If all worked well, it would hopefully ignite decks, sails, and/or rigging on enemy ships. It was neither explosive nor contained solid projectiles so was essentially of no use as an anti-personnel weapon.
 

James N.

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I'll also comment that the illustration of abatis is somewhat misleading - it's shown lying in a ditch with the branches pointed towards the earthwork it's supposedly protecting. (It was basically a primitive forerunner of barbed wire, the tops of trees and/or bushes and brush stripped of leaves with the ends of the branches sharpened or trimmed into points as anti-personnel obstacles.) In practice, especially in the hastily-constructed fieldworks which were common, it was usually merely left lying on the ground where it had been cut or piled in front of the works with the branches interlaced and pointed towards the enemy.
 
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redbob

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What would have been the poison in the poisoned bullet? And how does the fire ball exactly work?
To cover a number of the illustrations, here are a few thoughts-There were incendiary shells used in the Civil War and they were used a great deal by the Union during the siege of Charleston. They consisted of a thin cased shell, an explosive charge and chemicals (Greek Fire) that would mix and ignite when the round exploded. The bar shot and chain shot was designed to be used against a ships rigging and had been phased out by the Civil War. As far as the poison rounds, I doubt that they were ever used and the explosive rounds also proved to be of limited value. In Viet Nam, the poison(s) most often used by the Viet Cong and NVA were poisonous snakes hung up in dark caves to strike at anyone passing by and human excrement smeared on pungi sticks buried in holes to cause massive infections when someone stepped on them. The board on the landmine was so that the weight of anyone stepping on the board would crush the crush cap and cause the percussion cap to fire causing the mine (torpedo) to go off which greatly increased the area of impact so as to cause detonation. These were especially used around Fort McAllister to protect the fort's land face. After the battle, the Union forced the Confederates to locate them and dig them up- a 32# ball was usually the mine (torpedo) of choice by the Confederates. The Hand Grenades (or grenadoes) were of three general types-the Ketchum (the one with the fins) which came in 1#,3# and 5# sizes, the Excelsior (more deadly to the user than the receiver) and the Confederate version with consisted of an iron sphere (about the size of a baseball) powder and a fuse sticking out the top. These were primarily used by defenders and occupants of fortifications under siege. They were generally of limited effectiveness and defenders lighting the fuses of shells and rolling them down on the attackers often proved more effective. If you are interested in seeing examples of Confederate Landmines (torpedoes) and other interesting Civil War items, Google Steve Phillips Confederate Land Mines on Youtube.
 
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LoyaltyOfDogs

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Just today I ran across this book: "America's Buried History: Landmines in the Civil War" by Kenneth R. Rutherford.

https://www.savasbeatie.com/americas-buried-history-landmines-in-the-civil-war?ref=CivilWarTalk
If you are interested in seeing examples of Confederate Landmines (torpedoes) and other interesting Civil War items, Google Steve Phillips Confederate Land Mines on Youtube.
Thanks, @redbob. And just today I ran across this book: "America's Buried History: Landmines in the Civil War" by Kenneth R. Rutherford. Until @Mike Serpa posted this thread, I had no idea landmines were used during the Civil War (or, for that matter, that some of these other weapons existed, either).
 

drezac

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I remember reading an account where Confederates had placed mines in front of Sherman when he was going through Georgia. Sherman's response was to march the Confederate prisoners in front of his troops.

There was also an account of union troops under siege in a fort - they removed the powder bags from 6-pdr rounds, lit the fuse and threw them over the fort wall as grenades ( this use is actually mentioned in the ordnance manuals).
 

James N.

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True. It would probably be Inaccurate at anything longer than a Few yards. It would be much more plausible to Use Solid Shot or Grape or Cannister for anti-personnel or Anti-Battery.
Unless of course YOU just happened to be the one poor schmuck who got smacked by one of them!
 
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