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Union Soldiers picking up Confederate Arms

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by beanbomb, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. beanbomb

    beanbomb Cadet

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    I know that confederate soldiers would pick up 1861 springfields if they could (especially if they had a flintlock conversion), but how common was it for union soldiers to be using captured confederate arms?

    I'm asking this because
    A) it's an interesting thought that crossed my mind
    B) I plan to purchase a proper musket for my union impression, but atm all I have is an enfield with a Texas star in the buttstock.
     
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  3. Don Dixon

    Don Dixon Private

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    The 20th Maine Infantry was indisputably one of the best led units in the Army of the Potomac. The U.S. Army Command and General Staff School still teaches Colonel Joshua Chamberlain’s defense of Little Round Top on 2 July 1863 as one of the classic examples of U.S. Army small unit leadership. As a unit from one of the less settled parts of the United States, one might have expected the 20th to have a better understanding of firearms than Federal units composed of city boys. However, after the Battle of Gettysburg, the soldiers of the 20th exchanged their Enfield rifle muskets for captured Springfield rifle muskets recovered from the battlefield. Corporal William T. Livermore wrote that the soldiers felt that the Enfields shot well, but they regarded them as hard to clean. They exchanged their Enfields for Springfields because they believed that they would have about half the work maintaining the Springfields than the Enfields. Anyone who has fired and properly cleaned both weapons understands that there is no difference in the maintenance requirements of both arms. (Pullen (Maine), pp. 143-4)

    In general, the Confederates captured at Vicksburg had better weapons than their Federal opponents. Numbers of Federal regiments exchanged their arms for captured Confederate weapons -- generally Enfields -- after the siege.

    Regards,
    Don Dixon
     
  4. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

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    The US AoT swapped arms with their prisoners after Vicksburg and had done so earlier at Ft Donelson & after Shiloh. It has been said that the CS went a long way in arming the US AoT with modern small arms. Modern CS acquired arms such as the Enfield were viewed as first rate and US troops had no problem acquiring them when the opportunity presented itself to replace older smoothbore arms.

    A US soldier who had been at Vicksburg might well have ended up with Texas marked P53 or P56.

    A quick way to improve your impression is to get a Springfield style scabbard for that Enfield, the US imported very few sets of Brit leathers preferring to make their own and the CS did similar.
     
  5. Banjo Pete

    Banjo Pete Private

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    Maybe the soldiers found the Enfield harder to clean not so much in terms of the bore but because they may have been instructed not to strike the weapon bright. AKA not rub the exterior bluing off.
     
  6. Kipling

    Kipling Private

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    B) I plan to purchase a proper musket for my union impression, but atm all I have is an enfield with a Texas star in the buttstock.[/QUOTE]


    Hi Beanbomb,

    Is your Enfield an original one? The reason I ask is that I have also have an Enfield P53 that was, I believe, initially imported by the North and was subsequently captured by a Texan. It has Union unit markings on the brass butt tang but has a Texas Star carved on the butt itself with "T.E.X.A.S." around the star and "5th" carved as well. The gun came out of a Gettysburg collection and was purported to have been recovered at Gettysburg. The 5th Texas were heavily involved on the second day at Little Round Top and around Plum Run.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
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  7. Story

    Story Sergeant

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    File under "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence", but there are stories both apocryphal and vetted (see photo below and https://warisboring.com/u-s-commandos-had-a-love-affair-with-captured-ak-47s-87ab1e4ae2c1#.16750hycb) of US Forces in Vietnam using captured AK47s (the M16 jammed, the AK47 hit harder, etc).

    However, the same problem would occur with that as with Federal units dumping .69 smoothbores for .577 rifled arms - if the whole Regiment wasn't armed with weapons taking the same round, supply problems would ensue.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Youngblood

    Youngblood Sergeant

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    The union bought many Enfields too. When you play union, you just need a new story for the star. All of a sudden its the North Star or something.
     
  9. Tennessee_Mountainman

    Tennessee_Mountainman Sergeant

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    I find it quite ironic that Union regiments, predominantly western, swapped weapons with the defenders at Vicksburg. You hear about the Union being a lot better supplied than the Confederates, but if you ever read a book called Grant Moves South, Grant talks about the dire situation many of the Union forces were in Missouri, and other places in the west. So, I find it no surprise that out west, where you had cities such as Mobile, New Orleans, and Galveston, accepted many blockade runners that would then unload the arms to be distributed throughout the MS river. The gulf was a bit trickier to guard against blockade runners since the Union blockade squadrons only had a few supplying bases such as Fort Pickett to supply them.
     
  10. JOHN42768

    JOHN42768 Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    Welcome, enjoy. Better late then never
     
  11. Glen_C

    Glen_C Private

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    In the annals of Sherman taking Atlanta, there was a particular entry I'd be hard pressed to find again but the result of one daily take was notable as to the number of swords and firearms brought back to camp.

    Cheers

    GC
     
  12. Glen_C

    Glen_C Private

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    This was composed, he wasn't headed into battle without boots.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Story

    Story Sergeant

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    Or he just returned and ditched his boots & socks. *shrug*
     
  14. Glen_C

    Glen_C Private

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    and after a nice bath, shave and haircut. :rolleyes:
     

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