View single post by Kentucky_Orphan
 Posted: Sat Jan 13th, 2007 05:03 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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I loose patience with the argument that the U.S. ordinace department resisted the change from single shot muzzle loaders to repeater simply because of resisting modernization. I know thats not what you are saying hellcat, you are simply pointing out the fact that some cite it as part of the problem.

Simply put, the U.S. ordnance department was simply overwhelmed. Take into account the variety of arms being used by Federal soldiers as late as Gettysburg. One regiment, the 1st Minnesota, carries into battle at Gettysburg a mixture of .69 smoothbores, .69 and .58 muzzleloading rifles, and a number of Sharpes breechloaders. Nor was this as uncommon as you might think.

There were 242 Union infantry regiments at Gettysburg, sixteen were equipped partially with smoothbores, 10 entirely with smoothbores, and a number with .54 and .70 caliber muzzleloaders. In all, only 70 percent were armed partially or wholy with .577 or .58 caliber muzzle-loading rifles.

Can you imagine the nightmare of trying to keep these units properly equipped with ammunition, especially considering the number of other federal armies, outposts, etc.?

Worse, early in the conflict, as late as 2nd Manassas I believe, there were a number of regiments that put in requisitions for ammunition simply stateing the number of rounds needed and not specifying what type(s).

These factors, along with others, severly hamstringed the Union Ordinance Dept. If you had the choice to modernize your entire force with all .577 or .58 caliber muzzeloaders in 1862 or keeping this hosh-posh of arms much longer in order to issue more repeaters, what would one do? I believe the U.S. Ordinance Dept. did well considering the restraints. Remember the old quip as well- the U.S. Ordinance/Quartermaster worked miracles, they kept 2 countries armies equipped in the field for 4 years.

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