Mixed results on weaponry

3rdTennCo.C

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I am looking for more information anout what weaponry the. Confederate cavalry used, specifically for Gen. Forrests 3rd Tennessee. I have heard that shotguns (especially double barrels) were used to great affect in the souther cav, even more so in the western theater, but I have also heard many a time that they carried several pistol each (which more and more seems to not be the case) Could someone shed some expert light on the subject. Where did people get the idea that cav had many pistols, pistols were fairly scarce in the war, no? Also ive read that the ordinance dept. i think, mandated that excessive small arms be turned in to be reissued, whats the accuracy behind that? Any info is well appriciated
 

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johan_steele

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There are very detailed returns for Forrest’s command. Finding them is the trick. I’m away from my resources at the moment so I can’t answer the specifics accurately.

The legend of a plethora of pistols mostly came from Hollywood.

Several times during thecwar CS ord personnel went through picking up what they deemed excess arms.
 

3rdTennCo.C

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What may have been deemed as excessive? Was it perhaps set like mor than 1 or 2 per soldier was excessive, or was it defined depending on the individual personel?
 

johan_steele

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What may have been deemed as excessive? Was it perhaps set like mor than 1 or 2 per soldier was excessive, or was it defined depending on the individual personel?
More than one revolver per Cav trooper was viewed as excess. A by the regs a Cav trooper was actually considered to be carrying enough for three troopers. This man units would have 1 troop with Sabre’s another with pistols and a third with carbines or shotguns.

It should be noted that most viewed an infantry officer carrying a pistol as excess when that pistol could be better put to use in the hands of a Cav trooper.
 

thomas aagaard

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What may have been deemed as excessive? Was it perhaps set like mor than 1 or 2 per soldier was excessive, or was it defined depending on the individual personel?
In the early 19th century the general European idea of a dragoon was that he was armed with a saber, two (muzzleloaded) pistols and a carbine. This Allowing him a lot of flexibility - fight on foot with the carbine, fighting mounted in a skirmish with pistols and the saber.
Or charge in knee to knee with the saber.

It is my impression that both sides wanted to give everyone one revolver, a carbine and a saber. But with too few arms available, both sides ended up with some companies/troop having carbines (or even full length muskets) and no revolvers.
And other units having the revolvers and/or sabers.
Union cavalry getting closer to the ideal, then the csa cavalry.

So If one man had two and another man in the same company none, they would likely change this.
 

Booner

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A southern partisan ranger, i.e. guerrilla carried multiple revolvers, 2, 3, or more on their person, and a few more saddle holsters. And on occasion, perhaps a carbine and shotgun, but pistols were their primary weapon.

That someone might confuse a guerrilla on a horse with multiple pistols, with that of a southern cavalryman, only show their lack of knowledge.
 

johan_steele

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One thing you have to remember is that Gen Forrest and his command provided the South with tons of captured gun, ammo, wagons etc. There weren't to many (outside) ordnance officer who were going to wade into Forrset command and tell the Gen he had to turn in ANYTHING.
That was one thing that annoyed Forrest... FWIW he did an excellent job of pushing excess arms to other less fortunate units. Though they had been picked over before they ever went anywhere towards the rear.

What really surprised me was just how many bayonets were in his command but he had large numbers of P56 in his units and as often as not his command fought as mounted infantry instead of Cav..
 

thomas aagaard

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You are correct. You can't compare a soldier in a recognized military to a illegal combatant like a partisan.

A soldier by this time was part of a military unit, with a clear chain of command, was paid and equipped by the military and was regulated in what arms he could carry. And the arms is owned by the military.
So the military could limited a trooper to one revolver or one musket.

A partisan is a civilian who have taken up arms and who is seen as a criminal by at least one, if not both sides of the conflict.
And partisans are usually unregulated by any sort of higher authority. And if they are, it usually have a limited effect on them.
There are stories of some of them having many revolvers.

And this have somehow gotten mixed up with the actual soldiers.
 

ucvrelics

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That was one thing that annoyed Forrest... FWIW he did an excellent job of pushing excess arms to other less fortunate units. Though they had been picked over before they ever went anywhere towards the rear.

What really surprised me was just how many bayonets were in his command but he had large numbers of P56 in his units and as often as not his command fought as mounted infantry instead of Cav..
I have a copy of a requisition (somewhere) he made here in Demop for ammo and it was for Sharps, Enfield and Austrian.
 

Package4

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There are very detailed returns for Forrest’s command. Finding them is the trick. I’m away from my resources at the moment so I can’t answer the specifics accurately.

The legend of a plethora of pistols mostly came from Hollywood.

Several times during thecwar CS ord personnel went through picking up what they deemed excess arms.
Not sure about the multiple pistols/revolvers being Hollywood. A recent auction just sold a beautiful set of Confederate leather, that I have had my eye on for some time. The soldier was wounded and came to a house in Montgomery County MD and asked for assistance, he subsequently died and his effects were kept in the family until last month. There were two horse pistol holsters and a normal belt holster along with two belts and saddle bags. One of our members here on CWT actually purchased the set minus the VA belt.

There is also a great article in The Company of Military Historians about the multiple loose cylinders Vs multiple pistols/revolvers, their study found multiple revolvers. I'll see if I can find the issue.
 

3rdTennCo.C

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So with the 3rd Tenn being made up of partisan rangers and such, am I hearing that this unit could have been one of the few in the army to have more revolvers per man than other units? What was the extent of the use of shotguns, like double barrels in the western theater southern cav? Also I have what I believe is a original P56 Enfield bayonet, would those have been carried by Forrest's men?
 

johan_steele

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So with the 3rd Tenn being made up of partisan rangers and such, am I hearing that this unit could have been one of the few in the army to have more revolvers per man than other units? What was the extent of the use of shotguns, like double barrels in the western theater southern cav? Also I have what I believe is a original P56 Enfield bayonet, would those have been carried by Forrest's men?
A lot depends upon time frame.

I think the double barrel shotgun is over emphasized but the records are there. You can find out quite a lot as to the arms of many units.

There were quite a few Sabre bayonets listed on one of Forrests return but it was sparse as to what type. I suspect a P56 bayonet would be quite appropriate. Now you just need the P56 to go with it.
 

3rdTennCo.C

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Forrest's 3rd cav was in service from I believe 1863-65, what kind of changes could there have been? I would have thought if they had the P56 Enfields, shotguns, revolvers and such, it would have remained mostly like that til the end of the war, no? Or could that much vary from each engagement? Where might I be able to find a source for some of Forrest's return records?
 

DixieRifles

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Assuming the cavalryman or the officer was armed with a pistol, what did he carry his ammunition in? I have searched for photos and examples but you don't see that many officers wearing cartridge pouches.
I wanted to know what size these pouches were? Were they a little larger than a cap box for the rifleman? Or were they larger?

Here are some examples. I'm looking for an idea of the size of the pouch. Did all officers carry paper cartridges for their pistols or did they load them from a powder flask?

Officer Pouch 2.JPG
Officer Pouch 3.JPG
 

3rdTennCo.C

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Im sure most loaded with cartridges, even they wouldnt want to fumble with loose powder and ball Im sure. Perhaps few carried extra rounds at all? How often was it that a commissioned officer fired his pistol? Being in the rear most of the time durring the actual fight, perhaps they didnt really use it, a show piece or maybe for personal reassurance in battle since they didnt have standard issue arms?
 

Package4

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Assuming the cavalryman or the officer was armed with a pistol, what did he carry his ammunition in? I have searched for photos and examples but you don't see that many officers wearing cartridge pouches.
I wanted to know what size these pouches were? Were they a little larger than a cap box for the rifleman? Or were they larger?

Here are some examples. I'm looking for an idea of the size of the pouch. Did all officers carry paper cartridges for their pistols or did they load them from a powder flask?

View attachment 320054 View attachment 320055
Many times the pistol/revolver cartridge box was worn centered in the back, so you would not see it in period photographs. Some officers preferred to utilize a cap box for both caps and cartridges, limiting their rounds to one reload.
 

zburkett

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There were units like the 35th Virginia Cavalry "White's Comanches" who were sometimes Partisans, sometimes rode with Mosby and sometimes rode with Stewart. According to their history published in 1871 supply could be iffy. They might get government supply but more often they helped themselves to Yankee Quartermaster stores. But, for the most part they carried the weapons of their choice or whatever weapons they could get. I suspect there were many units like that who armed themselves for raiding and running fights. Cavalry attached to an Army would have been much more standardized.
 


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