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Were the new York Regiment of German Rifles also armed with revolvers?

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by major bill, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. major bill

    major bill Captain Forum Host

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    One way to read the article below is that this regiment carried rifles and revolvers. Is it possible only the officers carried revolvers?


    “First came the Regiment of German Rifles from New York over 1000 strong sturdy fine looking fellows… their dress is entirely of grey trimmed with red, serviceable and handsome, They are armed with the minie rifle and sabre bayonet, revolvers and all the required fixing for effective warfare, on which business they have come expressly.”


    From Washington, Detroit Daily Tribune, June 1 1861, p. 2, col. 3.
     

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  3. Youngblood

    Youngblood Corporal

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    Probably the officers and maybe a couple private purchasers.
     
  4. SquirrelHudson

    SquirrelHudson Corporal

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    Probably private purchases that were later disposed of during the war. Trying to keep up with pistol ammunition on top of rifles would be a logistics nightmare. A lot of early war units had these eccentricities.
     
  5. major bill

    major bill Captain Forum Host

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    We can not be sure what this person meant, but it was not uncommon for some companies to all have revolvers but a whole regiment of men with revolvers seems hard to believe.
     
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  6. SquirrelHudson

    SquirrelHudson Corporal

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    Agreed. It just seems a bit unlikely. Often with eye-witness accounts of troops details can be misinterpreted or overall exaggerated.
     
  7. Ralph Heinz

    Ralph Heinz Private

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    A lot of early war photos show Union soldiers with private purchase revolvers -- frequently Colt M1849 revolvers as well as belt knives. Kind of like all those southern soldiers photographed with huge knives that were later discarded or left at home as unnecessary weight. The same thing happened in Viet Nam -- you could always tell an officer who'd been to Ranger School by his huge Randall knife. Most of us just carried smaller Buck knives. We can understand a soldier armed with a muzzle loading rifle who'd be concerned about needing a revolver for close combat but later in the war, you see a lot fewer infantrymen photographed carrying pistols that were just unnecessary weight.
     
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  8. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday First Sergeant

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    Having read numerous first hand accounts of soldiers I found the early war accounts frequently mentioned that they had to get rid of their personal revolvers. Usually it was either send them home or have them confiscated. The reasoning of course was that the government didn't want them shooting each other in disputes!
    J.
     
  9. Craig L Barry

    Craig L Barry First Sergeant

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    Which they did or else accidentally hit a bystander to the dispute...there is a chapter in The Unfinished Fight about infantry use of handguns. Not unheard of, but not as common as the many period images with photographer's props suggests.
     
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