FEW people realize that machine-guns were, in fact, used in the Civil War. The guns used can be divided into two groups, true machine-guns, ie, continuous rapid fire, and volley guns. The latter were mainly employed in defence, particularly of bridges, and indeed became known as 'covered bridge guns'.
Of the true machine-guns only three saw action, the Confederate Williams Machine-gun, the Union Agar or Union Repeating Gun, and the Union Gatling Gun. It was the latter which went on to win fame in later models, but oddly enough which played the smallest part in the Civil War. Volley guns used in the conflict were usually either the Vandenberg Volley Gun or the Billing-hurst and Requa Battery Gun M1862. Only those guns which were used in anger are dealt with and anyone interested in other models, such as the Ripley which never went into production, will find information in the books quoted as sources in the Bibliography.
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