When Confederate cannons opened fire on Fort Sumter near Charleston, neither the North nor the South were prepared for war. Indeed, neither side understood the great bloodletting they were entering.
The Civil War changed not only America, but warfare itself. The largely agricultural south started from behind. Overwhelmingly, the most popular sidearm for Confederate soldiers was the Colt 1851, when they could get one. With access to the Colt factory cut off, blockade runners smuggled in London marked 1851 Navy Colts to augment the South’s existing stock.
The British Enfield pattern rifle, introduced in 1853, became the mainstay of Confederate infantry. Tens of thousands of the long guns flowing into the South. Most were .577 caliber, which allowed them to use the same .58 caliber ammunition as the Union Springfields.
The only firearm truly created in the South, remains one of the most unique firearms ever invented. The star-crossed LeMat grapeshot revolver, still an awesome close quarters weapon.
A cylinder with nine .42 caliber balls revolving around an 18-gauge shotgun barrel. Man, what’s not to like?
As the war ground to its brutal conclusion, General William Tecumseh Sherman wrote to his wife of the determination of the remaining Southern forces. “The devils,” he wrote, “seem to have a determination that cannot but be admired.”