Muzzleldrs Smoothbore - How Common Were They?

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PapaReb

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Arkansas
When talking about the long arms in the war I read that the most common was the 1861 Springfield followed by the 1853 Enfield, but how common were smoothbores on the battlefields?
 
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cake1979

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Some units kept theirs for quite a while. If I’m not mistaken, some of the Irish Brigade (possibly the 69th NY) had theirs as late as 1864. The old buck and ball load could cause some damage at short range.

Additionally, the Western Theater, with their slightly more dated weaponry, had a larger collection of older smoothbores.
 

PapaReb

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I have searched for a list of the arms that were captured at the arsenal in Little Rock in 1861 but so far have not come across an inventory for it. I would guess at 1842s and 1816s but that is only supposition on my part. Would really like to find a government inventory list.
 

cake1979

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I have searched for a list of the arms that were captured at the arsenal in Little Rock in 1861 but so far have not come across an inventory for it. I would guess at 1842s and 1816s but that is only supposition on my part. Would really like to find a government inventory list.
That would be pretty enlightening. Surely that record exists somewhere!
 
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ucvrelics

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I have searched for a list of the arms that were captured at the arsenal in Little Rock in 1861 but so far have not come across an inventory for it. I would guess at 1842s and 1816s but that is only supposition on my part. Would really like to find a government inventory list.
Here you go.

The Little Rock Arsenal was classified in 1860 as an "arsenal of deposit," meaning that it was simply a warehouse for the storage of weapons intended for the use of the state militia in times of crisis. Thus there were no substantial operations for ordnance fabrication or repairs, nor for the manufacture of cartridges at the time the Arsenal fell into State hands. Most of these operations were started from scratch through the efforts of the Arkansas Military Board.

Inside the Little Rock Arsenal after its seizure in February, 1861, the Confederates inventoried some 10,247 weapons, 250,000 musket cartridges, and 520,000 percussion caps, as well as the four bronze cannon of Totten's battery. Long arms in the Arsenal's inventory consisted of:

M1822 .69 cal (flintlock) 5,625 M1822 .69 cal (percussion-converted) 53 M1842 .69 cal smoothbore (percussion) 357 M1855 .58 cal rifle-muskets 900 M1817 common rifles 125 M1841 rifle ("Mississippi Rifle") 54 M1847 musketoon 2 Hall's carbines 267 Hall's rifles (flintlock) 2,864 Total 10,247
Of this number, approximately 9600 weapons were serviceable, or ready-for-issue. Note there were only 1,364 percussion weapons available. Disposition of the weapons found in the Arsenal is somewhat sketchy, but from various records it can be surmised that the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Arkansas Infantry Regiments, mustered in June, 1861, were issued M1816/M1822 .69 caliber flintlocks. The 9th and 10th Arkansas, four companies of Kelly's 9th Arkansas Battalion, and the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment were issued flintlock Hall's Rifles. The units comprising the infantry force of Van Dorn's Army of the West were the 1st and 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles were also armed with M1822 flintlocks from the Little Rock Arsenal. By the time the 11th and 12th Arkansas Infantry Regiments mustered in at Little Rock, the supply of arms had been almost completely exhausted, and only old "junker" weapons were left.

Most of the equipment, arms, and machinery at the Little Rock Arsenal was removed to east of the Mississippi River by order of Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn in April and May 1862, and accountability for it is lost at that point. By all appearances, the equipment was sent down the river to Napoleon, Arkansas, and from there to Jackson Mississippi, where it was probably destroyed during the Vicksburg campaign in the early summer of 1863.
 

Rhea Cole

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Murfreesboro, Tennessee
When talking about the long arms in the war I read that the most common was the 1861 Springfield followed by the 1853 Enfield, but how common were smoothbores on the battlefields?
At Stones River, Bragg had 60% smoothbores, Rosecrans 40%. Men literally beat them on tree trunks to destroy them. By the spring, smoothbores were gone from the AoC & AoT inventories.
 
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PapaReb

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Here you go.

The Little Rock Arsenal was classified in 1860 as an "arsenal of deposit," meaning that it was simply a warehouse for the storage of weapons intended for the use of the state militia in times of crisis. Thus there were no substantial operations for ordnance fabrication or repairs, nor for the manufacture of cartridges at the time the Arsenal fell into State hands. Most of these operations were started from scratch through the efforts of the Arkansas Military Board.

Inside the Little Rock Arsenal after its seizure in February, 1861, the Confederates inventoried some 10,247 weapons, 250,000 musket cartridges, and 520,000 percussion caps, as well as the four bronze cannon of Totten's battery. Long arms in the Arsenal's inventory consisted of:

M1822 .69 cal (flintlock) 5,625 M1822 .69 cal (percussion-converted) 53 M1842 .69 cal smoothbore (percussion) 357 M1855 .58 cal rifle-muskets 900 M1817 common rifles 125 M1841 rifle ("Mississippi Rifle") 54 M1847 musketoon 2 Hall's carbines 267 Hall's rifles (flintlock) 2,864 Total 10,247
Wow. A huge thank you! That type of inventory is about what I would have expected. May I as where you found that information?

I am not a reenactor, but I don,t know that I have ever seen photos of troops or individuals carrying flintlocks in battle reenactments.
 

Llewellyn

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I recall reading somewhere that the round that killed Stonewall was from a smoothbore. This helped to settle the argument about whether he had been hit by hostile or friendly fire, as at that stage many southern soldiers had still not been equipped with rifled muskets.
 
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I love me some smoothies, my faves is the Bavarian M1842.
Bav.jpg


"The Union Army purchased a number surplus Bavarian M-1842 for usage during the American Civil War.[9] Of the Bavarian equipment offered to the United States for purchase, the M-1842 was evaluated as the only weapon of sufficient quality for Union usage. An unknown number of the weapons were sold to the Union, with sources referencing around 3000 muskets being sold as surplus by the US government in 1865 after the conclusion of the Civil War.[2][1]"

 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
They destroyed their own weapons? Out of hatred? lol.
death of zollicoffer.jpeg

Death of General Zollicoffer, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper.

Most of the regiments in the Tennessee State Army were armed with muskets from state arsenals. Some of them were Brown Bess that had been captured during the War of 1812. Confederate General Zollicoffer was killed & the nine mile retreat to their camp turned into a stampede. After defeat at the Battle of Mill Springs in Kentucky, the men smashed their muskets against tree trunks. It had rained during the battle & the muskets could not be made to fire no matter how hard the frantic men tried. Most of the frustrated men then went home. A.S. Johnston's right flank was gone & Grant was on the move in the west.
 
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PapaReb

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I love flintlocks....that's what I hunt with during muzzle loader season here in Arkansas....but on a wet morning when I go to pull the trigger I say a prayer first! Moisture is anathema to the flintlock ignition system. Some things you can do to help but a spark is not going to ignite wet black powder.
 

Coonewah Creek

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Northern Alabama
When talking about the long arms in the war I read that the most common was the 1861 Springfield followed by the 1853 Enfield, but how common were smoothbores on the battlefields?
A snippet from a May 23, 1861 Inspector General report on the conditions at Harpers Ferry regarding the weapons situation of the 2nd and 11th Mississippi shortly after mustering into Confederate service:

"The two regiments from Mississippi have with them their tents and camp equipage, but are not satisfied with their arms, which are chiefly of the old flint-lock musket altered into percussion. As usual with troops of this description, they all want rifles. They were informed that, for the present, they must rest contented with such arms as it was in the power of the Government to give them..."

Certainly at least prior to Gettysburg, the 2nd was apparently equipped with a mix of Enfields and Springfields.
 
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Rhea Cole

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Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Confederate cavalry in the West were often armed with shotguns. The improbability of aiming accurately (or even vaguely) from horseback made a scattergun a logical choice. Forrest, among others, considered shotguns excellent weapons for mounted men. As the tactics matured & cavalry became mounted infantry, the shotguns went out of favor.
 

PapaReb

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Even for infantry shotguns or smoothbores loaded with buck & ball loads had advantages. In close range and especially in clouds of smoke where accurate aiming was near impossible, buck & ball made making of hit of some kind more probable. A wound in any extremity that contacted bone took your opponent out of the fight most of the time.
 
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