16th Tennessee Volunteer
Clothing, Arms and Equipment
Part 2 Weapons and accoutrements
At the start of the war Tennessee only had 8,761 .69 caliber muskets, all but 280 of which were flintlocks and 700 M1855 rifle muskets in the States armoury, all were muzzle-loaders. Due to this Tennessee State legislature authorized Governor Harris to seize all private weapons for military use. Many of these were bored out to accommodate regulation size musket balls, and flintlocks were converted to be percussion.
Efforts were made to equip companies within Regiments with similar weapons, often the Enfield 0.577, however, these also included the 0.54 Austrian rifled musket which was imported in large numbers, also used were the 0.70 Belgian and Brunswick rifled musket. Not only were these issued but also shotguns, hunting rifles, M1841 'Mississippi' rifles, ‘Tennessee’ rifles, and Maynard rifles.
An 18 August 1862 report on the 6,394 men in General Benjamin Cheatham’s Division, of four Brigades, of which the Regiment were part, were armed with:
2,792 percussion muskets
1,957 Enfield rifles
274 flintlock muskets
100 Mississippi rifles
28 Belgian rifles
It is interesting to note that a quartermaster's report for the Army of the Tennessee, dated April 1863, stated that:
44% were armed with 0.69 calibre smoothbores
37% were armed with Enfields
14% with rifled Springfields
5% with a miscellany of rifled and unrifled weapons
Even as late as 1864 with many units having numerous different weapons, some still being armed with the U.S. M1841, 'Mississippi', and Austrian weapons but as many as 44% now had P1853 Enfields.
On the evening of the 13 June at 2300 the Regiment were awoken, with a deliberate fake alarm. They were thrown into line 'notwithstanding we were entirely unarmed had the enemy charged our camp he would not have escaped without having been severely flogged - for poles, clubs, rocks, shovels, spades, tongs and various other implements of war filled the brawny hands of the dauntless boys' also 'we had not yet drawn guns, and were in a poor fix to fight. The boys got their pistols and butcher knives'.
During their time at Camp Trousdale the men were armed with flintlock muskets, end of June, early July, 1861. 10 September 'Our guns were flintlock muskets and carried cartridges made of one large ball and three buckshot.' And again on the 12 September 1861 'having flint-lock muskets' and 'we all had flint-lock muskets.'
On the 23 July 1861 'Before leaving Chattanooga seven rounds of ammunition were issued to the Regiment, the first we had ever received' and on the 26th they were allowed to practice with a few rounds.
During the Cheat Mountain campaign, the Regiment captured around 100 Federal soldiers and would have a liberated their captives of arms and accoutrement’s.
23 May 1862 'notwithstanding the rain that was then falling might greatly hinder the progress of our firing the 'old shut-pans.''
The 26 May 1862 saw them move to Chamber's House and engage in skirmishing, especially those with 'long shooting guns.'
On 29 May 1862 they started to be issued with better weapons as 'several of our Regiment drew Enfield rifled muskets today'.
Again on 14 August 1862 we were 'today furnished with new Enfield rifles' this obviously was to more than one company as in another diary 'we drew new Enfield rifles today. We are well pleased with our guns' and 'we turn in our old gunes that we have had ever sence we have been in the servis. We get in place of them Enfield Rifels that had never been used any'. And finally 'the Regiment received new arms today, the nice Enfield rifle.' (There is still in existence a weapon that was used by William H. White, a member of the Regiment, before he was issued with an Enfield on 14 August 1862, this is a Tennessee made Long Fowler rifled flint-lock musket, that was converted to percussion. These were made into the 1820's.)
Sgt Michael Mauzy, in his diary, 16 Aug 1862 'I turned my Mississippi rifle over to Jefferson Smith of Hickory Creek, Warren County, TN, to keep until the war ends.'
Some time after the battle of Perryville, 8 October 1861, Private Joshua D. Phillips, Company A, won a marksman contest for a Whitworth rifle. (Probably the Whitworth rifle was the most accurate weapon produced at this date.)
A ‘Reports of Inspection’ from the Archives for Polk's Corps, dating from May 6-9, 1863, states that there were 376 effective men and 385 Endfield rifles. So at this date they had 9 spare Endfields, this is most likely men home sick or those injured and not yet returned to the Regiment.
If all of the Regiment had been armed with Endfield's it was probably the only time that they were uniformly armed, as replacement arms would have come from various sources. On the 9th May 1864 this was written 'In places the cliffs were perpendicular. When the enemy pressed in the timber to near the cliffs, Colonel Donelson ordered every man who had no gun to throw and roll rocks over the cliffs'.
Of the photos we have:
Photos 4 and 5 hold pistols, most likely props of which photographers had stocks.
Photo 7 is armed with a U.S. M1841 rifle, known as the 'Mississippi'. He is holding a Colt Model 1849 pocket revolver, possibly a prop.
Photo 8 is armed with a 0.69 M1844 smoothbore.
Photo 10 is to small an original photo.
U.S. Model 1816 musket
The weapon originally issued would most likely the Model 1816 smoothbore musket. The earliest model was the 'Type I' which had variations between the placement of the bayonet lugs for the 1812 and 1816 bayonet. The 'Type II', produced during 1822-31, usually called the 'National Armory Brown', due to the browned finish on the majority of metal parts. The 'Type III', produced during 1831-44, called the 'National Army Bright' due to a bright finish on all metal parts. A total of 325,000 M 1816 muskets were produced at Springfield, MA, and 350,000 at Harper's Ferry.
This was a smoothbore, muzzle-loading flintlock musket, that used a paper cartridge, with a round musket ball. A powder flask was used to fill the primer pan. The weapon had limited range and indifferent accuracy, of about 100 yards. It could be fired at a rate of two shots per minute and misfired about one out of six times, with rainy weather could making them virtually useless. Length 56.75"; weight about 9lbs; caliber 0.69.
U.S. Model 1861 (Springfield) Musket
Produced to replace the M1855 due to the ignition system this model used a single percussion cap instead of the Maynard tape primer. By the end of 1863 most Federal infantrymen were armed with either this musket or the Enfield. It is estimated that about one million were manufactured during the war. Length 56"; weight 9.5lbs; caliber 0.58.
British Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket
This musket was the second most used weapon by both sides and was standard weapon of the British army from 1853 to 1867. Originally produced at the factory of the Royal Small Arms, Enfield, England, hence its name, although most were made by independent contractors in London and Birmingham. This was deadly accurate at ranges up to 500 yards, it had a rear sight made to be finely adjustable with a friction cross bar on a standing leaf. They were issued with blued barrels, barrel-bands, and lock plates. Length: 55.3"; weight about 9lbs; caliber 0.577.
An important factor for both sides was that the 0.58 caliber minie ball used by both Federal and Confederate forces was interchangeable with the 0.577 Enfield.
While many of the men who answered the call in 1861 carried no weapon, in the photos of the period they were supplied by the photographer, it is without doubt that to others a pistol was indispensable and they brought them along when the joined. These weapons ranged from the smallest to the largest. After a few months as a soldier they realized they had no need of them and so sent them home. This is mentioned in many letters home.
At an early date an English observer noted that ' most of the Privates in the Army carry at least one revolver and a bowie knife: these are invariably kept bright and in good condition...'
Francis McCarthy, Richmond Howitzers, Army of Northern Virginia, noted 'Many, expecting terrific hand-to-hand encounters, carried revolvers, and even bowie knives....'
1st Texas Infantry, in East Tennessee '(some) took a notion that they could march with greater ease if relieved of the weight of bayonets....and they threw them away...(at Spotsylvania) they 'saw the point' that such weapons were good things to have....and were soon well-equipped with them....'
It was a common belief that some Civil War soldiers felt the bayonet an encumbrance and Confederate 'infantry found out that bayonets were not of much use, and did not hesitate to throw them...away and (some) took a notion that they could march with greater ease if relieved of the weight of bayonets, for which they had never had any need and never expected to have, and they threw them away.' (Federal records show that of 246,712 cases of wounds only 400 were bayonet wounds.)
At Dalton during the February of 1864 Joe Johnston informed the President Davis that 'more than half the infantry are without bayonets....', so even if the men weren't overly impressed by them at least one of their Generals thought they should have them.
Although 'quite a number of them felt the point of bayonets in the hands of the enemy, they 'saw the point' that such weapons were good things to have, and quiet was no sooner restored than they went in search of them and were soon well-equipped with them.' Even on the retreat from Nashville, January 1865, the Army of Tennessee are still being issued with this weapon.
There were two types of bayonet the triangular cross-section socket bayonet with a needle sharp point and the sword with some of the early volunteers obtaining their own. These they had local blacksmiths to fashion from butchers knives, saws and even files.
The Confederate States did produce their own bayonets they were comparatively narrow in width and triangular in shape, with no fluting of any sort, made for the .58 and .69 caliber weapons, and for the double barrel shotgun. The Enfield bayonet, which was imported in great numbers, had a 17" blade.
Another weapon carried off to war by the soldiers of 1861 were knives and once again many are shown in photos of the time. 'Every man you met, mounted or footman, carried in his belt the broad, straight, double-edged bowie knife.' Some of these weapons could be as heavy as 2 1/2 pounds and be 19" long. Some had serrated edges and others seemed as large a scythes to those that saw them. These like the pistols were soon sent home.
'Our cartridge boxes held forty cartridges and fastened to a belt and cap box by side of it.'
Confederate made ones would have either one or two belt loops and would have either brass lead or wood finials, with lead being the more likely, although wooden ones have been found, many had the makers name stamped on the front. The early issues would be of leather but with the shortages of such material others were made of painted canvas or cloth. Others that would have been used were the British Enfield, often issued with the weapon; US shield front; and the US M1845/50.
These were worn worn on the belt or with a strap, the buckles for the strap being iron roller buckles. Those used were Enfield, again often issued with the weapon; US M1839, US M1842, US M1857 or M1861, with brass finial. The Confederate issue were copies of the US boxes having lead or even wood finial. Later in the war as leather became more scarce painted canvas or cloth cartridge boxes were produced.
Many troops were known to throw away their cartridge box, claimed it was lost, and transferred the cartridges to their pockets.
Cartridge box plates were never issued as they were never manufactured, although a few early war prototypes were produced.
'Our cartridge boxes held forty cartridges and fastened to a belt and cap box by side of it.'
Photo 8 is wearing, what could be a Confederate made, M1839 cartridge box, for a 0.69 weapon.
Slings (rifle, canteen and cartridge box)
Early rifle slings were of leather but with the later shortages sometimes only the ends were leather, with canvas or linen center piece, and even the sling, sometimes blackened, were of linen.
Canteen slings were usually of linen but sometimes earlier ones were of leather.
Once again early cartridge box slings could be of leather but later linen was used.
Early belts were made in the Federal M1856 style and were originally made of black leather, although undyed leather was also used; with the late war leather shortages others were made of heavy cotton cloth, sown in multi-layers and painted black; even more were made of untreated 'cotton duck'. A few were imported from England.
Confederate issue scabbards, for use with the Richmond copies of the M1855 rifled musket, were made of black or brown leather but plainer than the U.S. one with a sewn frog, rather than riveted, with a white metal finial, instead of the brass US finial. If using captured US the one with 2 rivets could be used up until 1863 after this the 7 rivet was approved and issued to US forces. Alternatively P1853 Enfields were issued with the complete with scabbard (Enfields had a hook on the front of the scabbard would engage the frog, a leather devise that hangs the bayonet on the belt, when it was slid into it). A tarred canvas scabbard has been found.