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Civil War Weapons Quizzes, Trivia and Puzzles
Civil War Weapons Quizzes, Trivia

Civil War Weapons Trivia

Civil War Weapons Trivia Quizzes

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3 quizzes and 45 trivia questions.
  Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Test your knowledge on the weapons and equipment used during the Civil War.
Difficult, 10 Qns, jkgregg, Aug 19 05
4013 plays
  Weapons of the Civil War    
Multiple Choice
 25 Qns
After the war a Southern soldier once said that "We would have been willing to fight them with corn stalks, but they wouldn't use corn stalks". How well do you know the weapons of the Civil War.
Average, 25 Qns, F6FHellcat, May 26 22
May 26 22
295 plays
  Weapons of the American Civil War    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This is a quiz on some of the weapons used in the Civil War, which most people don't pay much attention to.
Very Difficult, 10 Qns, LtGreene, Mar 27 11
Very Difficult
1040 plays

Civil War Weapons Trivia Questions

1. Levi Short applied for Patent Application #38424 for a solidified form of this item which shares its name with an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire. What is it called?

From Quiz
Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: Greek Fire

In his application, Short stated that he used saltpeter, charcoal, asphaltum, antimony, sulphur, and naphtha. These he mixed in copper lined wooden tanks and allowed the mixture to rest two or three days to separate liquids from solids. The liquids would then be skimmed off the top and added to any fibrous vegetable material and added to an explosive shell. Looking through "The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies" Series 1, Volume 28 (Part 1), on page 33 we see that Mr. Short's version of Greek Fire appears to have been used against Charleston.

2. What company made the Model 1860 revolver?

From Quiz Weapons of the American Civil War

Answer: Colt

This weapon was very expensive by comparison with Remington and Starrs weapons. It was a remake of the Colt model 1848. It held six .44 caliber rounds, weighed 2lbs 11 ounces, and cost $13.75 (ah, the good old prices).

3. What was the name given to the 8-in., 200 pound Army Parrot Rifle located near Morris Island, SC which fired only 35 or 36 shots between August 22 and 23 1863 before it ceased to be used?

From Quiz Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: Swamp Angel

The Swamp Angel was one of the most famous of Parrot Rifles. It was among the artillery pieces General Gilmore had set up in preparation for the bombardment of Charleston and was manned by a detachment of the 11th Maine Volunteer Infantry. During its brief use, the Swamp Angel fired some 35 or 36 rounds into Charleston, these being incendiary rounds. In a report from Brigadier General John Turner on page 219 of the "The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies" Series 1, Volume 28 (Part 1) it is revealed these rounds may have been Greek Fire rounds. As this same volume makes mention of Levi Short having visited Morris Island prior to the bombardment to alter how the incendiary shells were filled it is possible it was his Greek Fire formula that was used for these incendiary rounds. On the 35 or 36th shot the Swamp Angel burst, rendering it unusable.

4. What caliber was the Starr revolver (there were two, but only one caliber of the two of them is a choise)?

From Quiz Weapons of the American Civil War

Answer: .44 caliber

.44 caliber was the Union army's preferred ammunition. The Union bought 25,000 of these models for $12 each.

5. What was the largest cannon used during the Civil War?

From Quiz Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War

Answer: 20-inch smoothbore gun designed by Thomas Rodman

The smoothbore gun designed by Thomas J. Rodman was cased at Fort Pitt in Pittsburg. The large cannon weighed 117,000 pounds and used 125 pounds of powder to fire. It was only fired four times during the war.

6. "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" Just what was Admiral Farragut referring to?

From Quiz Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: Naval mines

The modern self-propelled torperdo was invented by British inventor Robert Whitehead in 1866, too late to actually be used in the Civil War. Railroad torpedoes are small warning devices that are set off by a train rolling over them that were originally invented in the early 1840s in Britain. Farragut was aboard the USS Hartford, his flagship during the Battle of Mobile Bay, when he is supposed to have said this phrase so it's highly unlikely he would have been worried about railroad torpedoes. And the genus Torpedo is a genus of rays known as torpedo rays or electric rays which live on the sea floor. The term torpedo was used during the Civil War to refer to both naval mines and land mines. Confederate General Gabriel Rains first used land torpedoes at the Battle of Yorktown in 1862. His Rains mines, mechanically triggered land mines, would be the predominant land torpedo used by the Confederacy during the war. But the naval torpedo is the better known of the two basic types of mines. And these came into two basic types, the stationary torpedo and the spar torpedo. The spar torpedo was a bomb attacked to a long pole, or spar. The spar would then be rammed into enemy ships at the water line so as to bring the torpedo up to the ships hull. The attacking vessel would then back off and detonate the torpedo. The most famous use of a spar torpedo was by the H.L. Hunley in sinking the USS Housatonic, the first successful submarine attack in history. Stationary mines were used to try to prevent Federal ships from entering Confederate bays or rivers. The USS Cairo was the first ship sunk by a naval mine in the war.

7. What many rounds of ammunition did the Model 1856 Le Mat revolver hold?

From Quiz Weapons of the American Civil War

Answer: 9

This suprised me, since most revolvers are 6-shooters, and you rarely even see an 8-shooter ... but then, it is French.

8. What was the color of JEB Stuart's capes lining and what kind of feather did he wear in his hat?

From Quiz Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War

Answer: red-lined cape and ostrich plume

JEB Stuart, calvary general in the CSA, was known for his flamboyant style. He wore a bright red-lined cape with a black ostrich plume in his hat.

9. Which weapon was invented by a former army lieutenant of Scottish origin who would go on to become governor of the smallest state by area?

From Quiz Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: Burnside Carbine

In his book "Civil War Blunders" author Clint Johnson lists the breach-loading Burnside Carbine as a blunder. Or rather, he states that early models of this weapon were blunders. They used Maynard priming tape, which Johnson compares to modern toy cap guns, and did not include a wooden forestock. The priming tape was prone to jamming after a few shots, and even if the priming tape didn't jam, the barrel would overheat and be too hot to hold even with gloves. These problems would be fixed in latter versions of the carbine and the Burnside Carbine would go on to be the third most commonly used carbine in the Federal cavalry.

10. Where is the Springfield Armory?

From Quiz Weapons of the American Civil War

Answer: Massachusetts

The Springfield Armory sold copies of the Model 1861 to the Union for $15-$20 a piece. They saw use in every major Civil War battle.

11. What Civil War weapon was called the "Old Wristbreaker?"

From Quiz Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War

Answer: 1840 cavalry saber

The "Old Wristbreaker" was a heavy Model 1840 cavalry saber. It was nicknamed that by the soldiers forced to use it.

12. With names like Ketchum and Excelsior, what weapon, that sounds like it should be carried by modern infantry troops rather than Civil War soldiers, was best used in repelling assaults on fortified positions?

From Quiz Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: Hand grenades

There were many different types of hand grenades during the war. Some were nothing more than exploding artillery rounds; the soldiers would light the fuse on and then let roll among enemy troops. Others could be a bit more complicated. The Haynes, or Hanes, Excelsior hand grenade was a softball sized spherical grenade composed of inner and outer shells. The inner shell was studded with nipples for percussion caps. Two arm it, soldiers would unscrew the two halves of the metal outer shell and then place the percussion caps on the nipples before closing the outer shell and throwing the grenade. Impact between the outer shell and any of the percussion caps was supposed to detonate the grenade. Because of this, the Excelsior was just as dangerous to the user as their intended target. The Ketchum was something of a more reliable grenade and the most widely used by Federal troops. It consisted of an ovoid shell, a percussion plunger nose, and stabilizing fins in the rear. The Ketchum came in 1, 3, and 5 pound versions, some sources even list a 2 and 7 pound version. The greatest defect of the Ketchum was that if it did not land at just the right angle the plunger would not be triggered and it could then be thrown back at the troops that had originally thrown it. The Confederate Rains grenade may have been a copy of the Ketchum grenade.

13. About how many Model 1854 Austrian muskets did the South get?

From Quiz Weapons of the American Civil War

Answer: 100,000

These were .54 caliber rifles, mostly with fixed sights.

14. What was a soldier's "housewife?"

From Quiz Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War

Answer: small sewing kit

Commonly carried by both sides, a "housewife" was a small sewing kit.

15. What 13-in. seacoast mortar used during the Siege of Petersburg sounds like it took its name from a Charlie Chaplin movie?

From Quiz Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: Dictator

At about 17,120 pounds, the Dictator was so heavy that it had to be mounted on a specially reinforced rail car. Like other 13-in. seacoast mortars it was able to lob a 200-220 pound shell between two and two and a half miles. Used during the Siege of Petersburg, it had to be set up on a stretch of curved track. Each time it was fired it would move the rail car between 10 and 12 feet. Despite its range, it was only used for just over two months as smaller Coehorn mortars proved more effective.

16. How long was the Starr Carbine rifle's barrel?

From Quiz Weapons of the American Civil War

Answer: 21 inch

This was one of the most popular rifles used by the Union, with a .54 caliber cartridge.

17. What was the Stonewall Jackson Medal?

From Quiz Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War

Answer: 2-inch medal bearing the image of Jackson

A medal manufactured bearing the image of Jackson was to be presented to members of the Stonewall Brigade; however none were ever awarded and they remained in crates in a West Indies port at the war's end.

18. The French names for this weapon was Canon obusier de 12 and Canon de l'Empereur, but what name was it known by in the US that sounds like someone born on Corsica?

From Quiz Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: Napoleon

Officially the Model 1857 Napoleon or the 12-pounder Napoleon, this smoothbore cannon was first developed in France in 1853. The name Napoleon was not a reference to Napoleon Bonapart, but rather to his nephew Napoleon III. Experienced crews were said to be able to fire three shots a minute with this cannon. Napoleons may have made up between 36% and 39% of all Federal artillery pieces at the Battle of Gettysburg. The Model 1857 was a hybrid gun-howitzer; it was slightly smaller and lighter than earlier 12-pounder guns yet took the same powder charge. It's ability to fire shot, case shot, shells, and canister shot made it a good all round field piece and it was considered unsurpassed as a short range anti-personnel weapon.

19. What caliber was the first machine-gun-like weapon used by the Confederate army?

From Quiz Weapons of the American Civil War

Answer: 1.57

1.57 (!) This round weighed 1lb. The weapon was crank operated and often overheated. It could fire 65 rounds per minute with a maximum effective range of 2,000 yards.

20. What Union general invented a breech-loading carbine before the Civil War?

From Quiz Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War

Answer: Ambrose E. Burnside

Before the war, Union General Ambrose Burnside invented the breech-loading carbine. It was originally produced by his Bristol Firearms Company. Most of the 55,567 Burnside carbines bought by the Federal government during the war were manufactured by the Burnside Arms Company.

21. What company made the US Model 1860 Rifle?

From Quiz Weapons of the American Civil War

Answer: Spencer

Spencer contributed to the sucess of the Union while only making the M1860 Navy and M1860 Army rifles (their other rifle, M1865, never entered service).

22. What was the Dry Land, or simply Land, Merrimack?

From Quiz Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: An ironclad railroad battery

During the Peninsula Campaign, with McClellan gaining control of the Richmond and York River Railroad and having blinds built to conceal his operations Lee turned to Confederate Chief of Ordnance Josiah Gorgas for help in constructing a railroad battery to counter potential railroad batteries he feared McClellan would be constructing. This operation was coordinated with the Confederate Navy and was designed by one of the principal designers in converting USS Merrimack to CSS Virginia, Lt. John M. Brooke. The result, called either the Dry Land Merrimack or the Land Merrimack, was constructed by the same yard that had converted the Merrimack in the Virginia, and was built to similar specifications as the casemate of the Virginia. Because of this its believed that the armor was similar to the Virginia's. It was armed with a single 32-pound cannon. Only the car carrying this battery had armor plating, the locomotive used to move the battery was unarmored with only cotton bales providing any kind of protection for the crew in the cab. The Dry Land Merrimack saw it's only action at the Battle of Savage's Station. According to one Federal prisoner, the battery killed or wounded a hundred men and 30 horses. Lt. James E Barry commanded the Dry Land Merrimack in her only engagement with York River Railroad engineer N.S. Walker driving the locomotive. Barry ordered the battery to pull back only after she came under attack from a battery of Federal Parrot guns due to the locomotives lack of armor protection. The Dry Land Merrimack was not the only example of railroad ironclads. Both sides would construct iron armored railroad cars.

23. Who, of New York, invented a telescopic sight of 4x used by marksmen?

From Quiz Weapons of the American Civil War

Answer: Morgan James & James Morgan

He invented it in 1848, and priced it at about $20. It was mounted on the benchrest.

24. What did it mean to "worm a bullet?"

From Quiz Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War

Answer: to unload a firearm

To "worm a bullet" was to unload an unfired bullet from a muzzle-loading rifle. A soldier would use a screw-type device called a "worm" to his rifle ramrod, insert it downt he gun barrle, screw it into the soft lead then remove it.

25. Which North Carolina born dentist invented a weapon that they believed could lead to fewer people killed in battle?

From Quiz Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: Richard Gatling

Dr. Richard J. Gatling was born in Hertford County, NC in 1818, but was living in Indianapolis, Indiana when the war began. His Gatling gun was meant to actually reduce the number of soldiers on a battlefield by placing multiple barrels in a single gun. With six barrels in early models and needing only a handful of men to operate, the idea of reducing the number of troops on the battlefield, and therefore the number of men killed in battle, seems plausible. However, despite its potential the Gatling gun's biggest adversary was the head of the U.S. Army Ordnance Department, who refused to consider the weapon at all. Few Gatling Guns made their way into Army hands, those that did actually had to be purchased privately by field commanders. Major General Benjamin Butler purchased a dozen Gatling guns and 12,000 rounds for $12,000. Eyewitnesses claim he used them following his defeat at Drewry's Bluff in 1864 to cover his retreat. The Federal Navy showed more interest in the weapon, though even there few were purchased due to failures to mass produce the Gatling gun in significant numbers. The Gatling gun is often considered the first machine gun, though it is more accurate to say that it is the forerunner of the modern machine gun. It was a hand cranked weapon whereas a true machine gun does not rely on external sources to maintain continuous firing. Still, the Gatling gun actually survives today as multi-barreled weapons such as the M61 Vulcan rotary cannon and the M134 Minigun are clearly descended from the Gatling gun.

26. How long is the Whitworth rifle with its bayonet attached?

From Quiz Weapons of the American Civil War

Answer: 49 inches

The barrel length was 33 inches. This rifle was made in Britain and used by the Confederate Army.

27. What kind of cartridges were used in the Sharp carbines?

From Quiz Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War

Answer: either linen or paper

During the Civil War the cartridges were linen or paper. After the war metallic cartridges were used.

28. Which future commanding general and 1864 Presidential candidate translated a bayonet exercise manual translated from French while a captain in the Army Corps of Engineers?

From Quiz Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: George B. McClellan

All these men served in the Federal Army during the war, but only McClellan was an 1864 Presidential candidate. John Cochrane was the 1864 Vice Presidential candidate for the Radical Democrat Party. He commanded the 1st Brigade of the VI Corps' Third Division at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Both Benjamin Butler and Lovell Rousseau were Vice Presidential Candidates in the National Union Party and thus potential running mates to Lincoln. Lovell Rousseau raised the Louisville Leigon, the unofficial name of the 5th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry Regiment, early in the war which would help to keep Louisville from falling to the Confederates in September 1861. He would then go on to lead the 1st Brigade of the Army of the Ohio's Second Division at the Battle of Shiloh before becoming a divisional commander under George Thomas and then the Commander of the District of Tennessee forces during the Third Battle of Murfreesboro. Butler is perhaps the best known of these three Vice Presidential candidates. He commanded Federal forces at the Battle of Big Bethel, which proved a defeat for the North. Then in August of 1861 he commanded the Army forces involved in the joint Army-Navy operations which took Forts Hatteras and Clark in the Battle of Hatteras Inlet, aka the Battle of Forts Hatteras and Clark, which would pave the way for Ambrose Burnside's North Carolina Expedition the following year. Butler would find himself put in charge of the occupation of New Orleans in 1862 before being given command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina in late 1863. This command would develop in the Army of the James which Butler would command until January 1865. In a letter dated New Year's Eve 1851 General Winfield Scott submitted McClellan's "Manual of Bayonet Exercises" to Secretary of War Charles Magill Conrad with the recommendation that it should be made a part of the "System of Instruction". This manual shows that using a bayonet was not as simple as just putting it on the end of a musket and simply stabbing someone with it. It includes instruction on the various foot work used in using a bayonet, how to parry with a bayonet, fencing with a bayonet, how to conduct a fencing salute with a bayonet, even attacking with the butt of the musket.

29. What was the shape of the Minié ball?

From Quiz Weapons of the Civil War

Answer: Conical

Despite the name, the Minié ball was not ball shaped at all but rather conical. Developed by Claude-Étienne Minié for use in his Minié rifle, the Minié ball was a soft lead projectile that was designed to take advantage of the rifling in rifles and rifled muskets. The hollow base of the Minié would expand to fit in the grooves of the rifling when the gun was fired, trapping more of the gasses behind the bullet and thus increasing muzzle velocity, which would also increase range. Because the grooves in rifling are in a spiral, this expansion would also help to impart spin to the bullet, helping to increase its accuracy.

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