Union Weapons

Volunteers did bring their own firearms with them when they enlisted, but the government accepted responsibility for arming State volunteers from the outset of the war. Rifles and muskets

The Springfield ,58in rifle-musket Ml855 and the .58in rifle Ml855 were the regulation firearms, but wartime production was concentrated on the rifle-musket. The M1861 omitted the Maynard tape primer and patch box. Further modifications were made to the Models 1863 and 1864. Rated as a first-class arm alongside the Springfield was the British Enfield ,577in rifle-musket Pattern 1853.

The supply of first-class arms was never sufficient. The .54in Ml841 "Mississippi" rifle was reissued, as was the M1842 musket. Flintlock .69in M1822 muskets were converted to percussion; and some M1840 muskets were rifled and had rear sights added. Many other firearms were imported from Europe. Austrian weapons included the Augustin .70in Ml842 musket and Lorenz .54in Ml854 rifle-musket, some of which were rebored to ,58 caliber. From Prussia came the .72in M1809 musket converted to percussion, and the .69in Ml839/55 rifle-musket, referred to as the "Suhl rifle" after its place of manufacture. Saxony supplied the

"Dresden rifle," either the ,71in M1844 or the .58in M1851/57. Liegemade copies of the French ,69in short rifle Ml859 were known as the "Belgian" or "Chasseur de Vincennes" rifle.

The Indian Brigade received a conversion of the .54in M1817 rifle (the "Common rifle"). Sergeant Britton wrote: "Most of them, however, were soon armed with a long barrel rifle known as [the] Indian Rifle, that used a round bullet that was quite effective at close range. The Government had on hand at Fort Leavenworth enough of these rifles to arm part of the organized Indians and issued them to the new regiments. Indeed, the Indians generally preferred them to the Army musket then in use, and when fighting in the timber where they could get a rest for their rifles, they were not to be despised on account of being antiquated; they used a percussion cap instead of a flint which was passing out of use." Carbines and revolvers

Muzzle-loading carbines were rare, though some units carried muzzle-loading rifles. Many breech-loading carbines were in use, often within the same regiment. The oldest was the .54in Hall; the most widely issued, the .52in M1853 and M1859 Sharps; and perhaps the most effective, the .52in Ml863 Spencer with its removable seven-shot tubular magazine. Other carbines seen in the Territory were the .50in Cosmopolitan, .50in Gallager, .54in Merrill, ,50in Smith and ,54in Starr. Among revolvers, the Colt ,36in M1851 Navy and .44in M1860 Army and the Remington ,44in Army predominated, but many other American and imported patterns were issued.

Specific regimental issues

This variety of armament can be seen from the following details of regiments which served in the Territory: 2nd Arkansas Volunteer Cavalry

1862: initially received M1841 and M1855 rifles. Later that year these were replaced by Cosmopolitan, Gallager, Smith and Sharps carbines, Colt and Remington Army revolvers and the Ml840 saber. 2nd Colorado Volunteer Cavalry

1862; originally mustered in as an infantry regiment, it probably received the Ml842 musket and some percussion conversions, as did the 1st Colorado. 1863: on being converted to cavalry it was issued the M1861 rifle-musket; Starr and Merrill carbines; Colt and Whitney Navy revolvers; Remington Army revolvers; Lefaucheux revolvers; Ml840 and 1860 sabers.

2nd Kansas Volunteer Cavalry

1861: originally mustered in as an infantry regiment, it received the Ml842 musket, with the Ml841 rifle for the two flank companies. After reorganization as cavalry it was issued with Hall carbines and Ml855 pistol-carbines, Lefaucheux Army revolvers and the Ml840 saber. 1862: the replacement of carbines with the M1855 rifle nearlv led to mutiny. 1863; Sharps carbines and Colt and Remington Army revolvers. 6th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry

1861: men carried their own firearms, 1862; government issue included Austrian rifles. Sharps carbines, Colt Navy revolvers and the Ml840 saber. 1863: Merrill and Sharps carbines, Colt Army and Navy revolvers and the Ml860 saber. 1864: Spencer, Merrill and Sharps carbines.

Colt Navy Revolver Quantrill Pistols

9th Kansas Cavalry Regiment 1862: M1841 and Enfield rifles, Colt and Whitney revolvers, mostly Navy caliber; M1840 and \11860 sabers. 1863: Gallager, Sharps and Smith carbines replaced the rifles. 14th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry 1863: Gallager, Sharps and Cosmopolitan carbines; Remington Army revolvers, Ml840 sabers. 1865: although by now effectively dismounted, the regiment received the Spencer carbine. 10th Kansas Volunteer Infantry 1862: formed by consolidation of the 3rd & 4th Kansas Infantry, it received Ml841 and Ml855 rifles. 1863: Springfield rifle-muskets. 1st Indian Home Guard

1862: most companies carried the "Indian rifle" and a variety of third-class arms. 1863: the Ml 841 rifle and Ml 842 musket supplemented the Indian rifle and Austrian, Prussian and French smoothbore muskets. 1864: Belgian Vincennes rifles with saber bayonets also issued. 2nd Indian Home Guard

1862: generally armed as the 1st but with a small number of Springfield rifle-muskets. Later issues followed those of the 1st. 3rd Indian Home Guard

1862: formed after Col Weer's expedition, it was armed along the same lines as the 1st and 2nd. also receiving an Austrian .58in rifle-musket. 1864:"Dresden" and "Suhl" rifle-muskets. 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry

1863: described as having "converted muskets," probably .69in caliber. These probably included the US Ml822 and Ml842 along with imported patterns. 2nd Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry

1863: M1842 musket with some Springfield rifle-muskets. 1864: Enfield PI853 rifle-musket.

3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry

1862: Merrill carbine, Lefaucheux revolver, M1840 saber.

1863: Merrill carbine, Colt and Remington Army revolvers.

1864: Cosmopolitan, Merrill and Gallager carbines; Colt, Remington and Lefaucheux Army revolvers; Ml840 and Ml860 sabers.

9th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry (1st German Regt)

1861: 6 cos with ,58in Belgian rifle-muskets (possibly Springfield copies), 4 cos with Dresden rifles. 1863: Enfield P1853 rifle-musket.

Union edged weapons

Cavalry swords

The heavy cavalry (dragoon) Ml840 saber - "old wristbreaker" - was succeeded bv the M1860 light cavalry pattern, with a lighter and slightly

Private George F.Haas, Co A, 2nd Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, wearing - in this reversed image - a regulation uniform jacket and hat with an infantry waist belt. He carries the unpopular 12mm pinfire M1853 Lefaucheux revolver, known as the "French Tranter" or "Dragoon" (the 2nd Kansas initially received revolvers but no cartridges). One trooper said the Lefaucheux was "worthless and would not carry a ball over 15 steps." John McCorkle of Quantrill's Raiders noted that captured "French Dragoon pistol[s]... were very heavy at the muzzle and none of our men could shoot them with any accuracy." (Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society)

shorter blade. Officers' sabers were similar, with a lightly decorated pommel and grip and an etched blade. Artillery swords

The light artillery M1840 saber had a single-branch guard. Officers' were similar, with gilt mountings and an etched blade, but many carried the cavalry saber. The foot artillery Ml833 sword, copied from a contemporary French infantry sidearm, resembled the Roman gladius, with a cast brass grip; it was carried in a brass-fitted scabbard on a waist belt with a two-piece circular buckle and an integral frog. Infantry sword

The staff and field officers' M1850 sword had an etched blade and a gilt half-basket guard with the letters "US." The Ml860, with its singlebranch guard and lighter, narrower blade, was less popular. Company officers carried the foot officers' Ml850 sword with a brass single-branch guard and etched blade, in a black leather scabbard with brass fittings. As swords were privately purchased the patterns varied, and nonregulation swords were also carried.

Sergeants were authorized to wear the M1840 NCOs' sword, with its cast brass grip and single guard, in a brass-fitted black leather scabbard. Musicians carried a shorter and lighter version.

Cowboy Wearing Gilt Cord

Being mounted, the Indian Home Guard received some Union cavalry equipment. This man wears the regulation uniform jacket, although without shoulder straps. His hat is decorated with ostrich feathers, a hat cord and -just visible - an embroidered badge, suggesting that he may be an officer. In this reversed image the "shield front" cap pouch and flap holster have been moved so as to appear in the correct position, and for the same reason he holds the Remington .44in Army revolver in his left hand, the M1860 saber in his right. (Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society)

Tranter Museum Revolver
These privately purchased officer's pommel holsters, with yellow leather Cavalry trim around the flaps, held a pair of .44in Colt Army revolvers. (Author's photo: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum)

Other states, including Missouri and Louisiana, occasionally sent units into the Territory, and the Cherokee fought alongside the 3rd Louisiana at Pea Ridge; but the majority of men who serv ed with the Indian troops were from Texas or Arkansas. The following list shows the results of Gen Maxey's reorganization of his forces. (Not listed is the 1st Osage Battalion commanded by Maj Broke Arm; some 200 strong, they served as scouts, particularly in the north and west of the Territory and into Kansas.)

District of the Indian Territory, spring 1864 Headquarters: Doaksville, Choctaw Nation

(BrigGen Samuel Bell Vlaxey)

Su'ord knots

Generals had a gold cord with an acorn end, other officers a gold lace strap with a gold bullion tassel. The enlisted men's sabers were fitted with a black leather strap with fringed ends. Bayonets

Most were triangular-section socket bayonets, earlier patterns lacking the locking ring introduced with the PI853 Enfield and Ml855 Springfield. Saber bayonets accompanied the Ml841 Harper's Ferry and Enfield PI856 rifles. A few of the cavalry units armed with rifles or muskets may have received bayonets. Knives

Indian warriors carried knives, ranging from Bowie and butcher knives to the 50-cent pocket knife that Pte Folsom of the Choctaw 8c Chickasaw Cavalry took from a dead man at Bird Creek. When the Indian Home Guard was raised Gen Blunt wished to issue sheath or Bowie knives, but was told that the Indian Office had no funds for such a purpose.

Federal soldiers did not have the same regard for knives as Confederates, probably because they were better equipped and regarded them more as camp tools than as weapons.

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Responses

  • Nebay
    Who carried a whitney navy revolver?
    8 years ago
  • maria palacios
    What weapon was issued to the enlisted men of the 1st Regiment Kansas Volunteer Infantry (Colored)?
    7 years ago
  • jonas
    What weapons did the 9th Kansas use?
    21 days ago

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