American Rifleman - July 2011 - 45

When the Union and Confederate
armies faced each other for the
first time near Bull Run Creek in
Northern Virginia, they were armed
primarily with a hodgepodge of
obsolescent smoothbores.

A

Shots

BY JOSEPH G. BILBY

s two amateur armies
groped to find and
fight each other across
the Northern Virginia
countryside in the stifling
heat of July 1861, they did so with
a variety of arms, the vast majority of them obsolescent-if not
altogether obsolete.
At first glance, it would seem
that since the United States had
adopted a new family of military
small arms a half-dozen years
before, Union and Confederate
armies would have carried 1855
models. This was not the case,
however. Production at the National
Armories at Harper's Ferry, Va.,
and Springfield, Mass., had been
slow. While the small regular army
was rearmed with the new-pattern
guns by 1861, few had been issued
to state militias, and others were
stored in regional federal arsenals.
The Model 1855s, in .58 cal.,
included a rifle-musket with a
barrel length similar to that of
the older smoothbore musket
and a shorter, heavier-barreled
rifle. Both were designed to fire a

Armed with .69-cal. U.S. Model 1842
Muskets on July 21, 1861, the
4th Alabama surges forward in
Don Troiani's "Up Alabamians."

The Guns Of Manassas, 1861
Photos by Hannele Lahti

JULY 2011 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

43



American Rifleman - July 2011

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