American Rifleman - March 2015 - 58

THE GUNS OF 1865
Following the Sept. 2, 1864, fall of Atlanta, Gen.
Sherman found himself deep in enemy territory, with
long and vulnerable lines of communication stretching
back to Tennessee, and with Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood's
Confederate army, although seriously battered, still
a functioning force. After sparring with Hood for two
months, Sherman decided to abandon Atlanta and strike
out for the coast, and chose Kilpatrick to command the
cavalry division that would lead the way as the Yankee
army cut a 60-mile-wide swath of destruction to Savannah
and the sea. Rather than contest Sherman's march, Hood
headed off on a quixotic expedition north into Tennessee,
leaving Maj. Gen. Joseph "Fighting Joe" Wheeler's cavalry
and a force of Georgia militia, around 13,000 men under
the command of Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee, to face
Sherman, which occurred November 15.
Kilpatrick had two regiments armed with Spencer
rifles, the 8th Indiana Cavalry, formerly the 39th Indiana
Mounted Infantry, and the 92nd Illinois Mounted Infantry,
in his two brigades. The vast majority of Sherman's infantrymen carried Springfield or Enfield muzzleloading riflemuskets, but repeaters were scattered through the army's
ranks, including Spencer rifles in the 46th Ohio Infantry
and Henry rifles in the 66th Illinois Infantry.
Repeating rifles proved very useful, even critical, to
Union tactical success on occasion during the Atlanta
campaign, and they were soon in action during the
"March to the Sea." On November 22, Kilpatrick's troopers
reached the outskirts of Griswoldville, site of a factory
manufacturing bronze-framed revolver knockoffs of the
Colt 1851 Navy. Joe Wheeler's horsemen initially repulsed a
federal cavalry probe, but then the Yankees were reinforced
by Brig. Gen. Charles C. Walcutt's infantry brigade,
including the Spencer-wielding 46th Ohio. The Buckeyes
threw up log breastworks and delivered a blizzard of
bullets into the ranks of a Georgia militia assault intended
to dislodge them, and the attack collapsed with heavy
casualties. The revolver factory was soon ablaze.

The Blakeslee cartridge
box contained multiple
seven-round tubes of
Spencer cartridges. While
they offered tremendous
firepower, there were at
least two instances of
cartridges detonating
inside them during the
1865 Selma campaign.

After a series of skirmishes in which Wheeler's cavalry
more than held its own, Kilpatrick was presented with
an opportunity to implement his new idea, which may
have occurred to him after federal cavalry combined dismounted firepower and mounted charges to secure victory
at Yellow Tavern in the spring. Union horsemen encountered Wheeler's cavalry dismounted in a defensive position
near Waynesboro, and, following a failed frontal assault,
Kilpatrick launched a coordinated fire-and-maneuver attack.
The 92nd Illinois advanced on foot in a loose formation,
delivering rapid Spencer fire that pinned the Confederates
down while mounted units hit them simultaneously on both
flanks. The Rebels broke and ran. Wheeler rallied his men
and established a second line, which collapsed in its turn as
Kilpatrick launched yet another fire-and-maneuver assault.
His Waynesboro success was no doubt fresh in
Kilpatrick's mind when Sherman bumped up against the
outer defenses of Savannah in mid-December and began
to maneuver around the city in hopes of connecting with
an offshore resupply fleet. As both generals surveyed the
Confederate Fort McAllister, located on the Great Ogeechee
River, Kilpatrick advised Sherman that he had "old infantry regiments, armed with Spencer rifles, who could work
their way up to within easy range and force every man
to keep his head beneath the parapet, and finally force
my way into the fort." Sherman ignored his subordinate's

Christopher Spencer's rimfire, breechloading carbine
became the mainstay of the Union cavalry by 1865, and
captured Spencers were used by Confederates as well
(opposite, top). Spencers allowed Union troops to suppress Confederate defenders and maneuver around them.

58

MARCH 2015

AMERICAN RIFLEMAN



American Rifleman - March 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - March 2015

Contents
American Rifleman - March 2015 - CW1
American Rifleman - March 2015 - CW2
American Rifleman - March 2015 - Cover1
American Rifleman - March 2015 - Cover2
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 1
American Rifleman - March 2015 - Contents
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 3
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 4
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 5
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 6
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 7
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 8
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 9
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 10
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 11
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 12
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 13
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 14
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 15
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 16
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 17
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 18
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 19
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 20
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 21
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 22
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 23
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 24
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 25
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 26
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 27
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 28
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 29
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 30
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 31
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 32
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 33
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 34
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 35
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 36
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 37
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 38
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 39
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 40
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 41
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 42
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 43
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 44
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 45
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 46
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 47
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 48
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 49
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 50
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 51
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 52
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 53
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 54
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 55
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 56
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 57
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 58
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 59
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 60
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 61
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 62
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 63
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 64
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 65
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 66
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 67
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 68
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 69
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 70
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 71
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 72
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 73
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 74
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 75
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 76
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 77
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 78
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 79
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 80
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 81
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82b
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83b
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82c
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83c
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82d
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83d
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82e
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83e
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82f
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83f
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 84
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 85
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 86
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 87
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 88
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 89
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 90
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 91
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 92
American Rifleman - March 2015 - Cover3
American Rifleman - March 2015 - Cover4
American Rifleman - March 2015 - CW3
American Rifleman - March 2015 - CW4
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