Rifling and the Minie Ball Made a Revolution in Battlefield Warfare During the Civil War

The following teaser is from a very interesting article by Mike West, published in the March 19, 2014 edition of the murfreesburopost.com:

Minie ball design plans from Harpers Ferry.
Minie ball design plans from Harpers Ferry.

When it comes to weaponry, the Civil War is best described as the first modern war.

Unfortunately, for the troops, the conflict was generally fought with tactics dating back to Napoleon Bonaparte and with medical care not unlike the Middle Ages.

The era’s fighting methods didn’t take into account the evolution of small arms … an evolution, which began with a twist.

That twist was imparted by spiral rifling grooves cut into the bore of what was once called a musket.

. . .

In the mid 1840s, two French Army Captains Claude-Étienne Minié and Henri-Gustave Delvigne developed what was later called the Minié ball (or minie ball), which was the first modern bullet.

The minie ball was shaped like a blunt cone with a hollow base that had three grooves packed with grease. The bullet was slightly smaller than the barrel’s diameter so it could be loaded quickly. It came packed in a paper cartridge filled with gunpowder.

Read the full article.

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (www.FamilyRootsPublishing.com), writes daily at GenealogyBlog.com, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

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