826NYC Post
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The Weapons of our Current War

By Kemal Cater

Now that our country is split by a civil war, the army constantly needs new weapons. As many people wait to hear the news of this war, weapons manufacturers work hard to meet the army’s demands.

The Union government has paid about $20 for 25,000 Colt revolvers (which is about $666.48 in the estimated money of the early 21st century). Also, a rifle can be $36-$75 per rifle. However, due to the draft, many men who would be working in the factories have been called away to fight.

Rifles and revolvers aren’t the only weapons wanted by the Army. Many weapons were recently invented, such as the “Gatling Gun” and the “Requa Battery.” Both guns are new ideas, using strings of bullets to fire hundreds of rounds per second. The Gatling Gun was developed by Doctor Richard Gatling. His gun had six barrels, and the .58 caliber could fire 200 rounds a minute, and the .30 caliber could fire 400–900 rounds a minute. The US government recently ordered a hundred Gatling Guns for the war effort. They are currently being manufactured in the Colt Firearms Company, in Hartford, Connecticut.

Of course, there are weapons other than what’s being developed. As well as using new guns, the Union has also been using more old fashioned weapons such as the carbine, the pistol, muskets, and long guns. As well as firearms, many muskets had bayonets attached, and officers will often have ceremonial swords.

Although the war relies heavily on these guns, manufacturers are not up to speed, due to supply chains being cut off, and people going off to fight. While by a future time’s standards, our weapons are not very sophisticated, these weapons are still quite deadly, and are at least more accurate than what was used in the Revolutionary War.

Both the Union and the Confederates have also been using grenades. The Union has been using Ketchum grenades. These have three main parts. There is the plunger, the casing, and the tailpiece. The grenades are thrown in ways that they land nose down, thus triggering the grenade. The Confederates have used Rain and Adams grenades, which are the same mechanism, just less effective.

For the most part, Union weaponry is more sophisticated, and more effective, because the North has more factories and supplies, whereas the South has more farmland. Also, the North currently produces 97% of the United States’ weapons per year, as well as 94% of our crude iron. Even more, it has 22 million people, to the South’s 9 million, of which half were enslaved. The Confederacy also has had a more offensive strategy, and that has resulted in quite the dwindling of their soldiers.

This civil war has definitely seemed quite close so far, but it now seems to point towards a Union victory. With the better weaponry, supplies, and manpower, the Union is most definitely preparing to win.


Shirley Brown-Alleyne, the Center for Brooklyn History
Leah Charles-Edouard, the New-York Historical Society
Why Did the North Win the Civil War? — History
Small Arms from 1860 to 1869
HistoryNet | Civil War Guns

About this piece:
During the Fall 2021 semester, 826NYC’s journalism class, Write All About It, dug deep into our local Brooklyn history with support from historians at the Center for Brooklyn History and the New-York Historical Society, alongside independent research. In emulation of one of the first Black-owned newspapers in the country, The Freedman’s Torchlight — which was published in the town of Weeksville, now part of Crown Heights, in the 1860s — students wrote about the news and culture of 1860s Brooklyn in this time-hop special edition of The 826NYC Post.



826NYC’s 5th through 8th-grade students create headlines to report on the top issues of the day in this year-round journalism program. Turn the page with us as we sniff out scoops and write classic stories!

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