American Rifleman - March 2015 - 59

arms are greatly superior to muzzle-loaders for infantry
as well as cavalry." Dyer advocated instituting a program
at Springfield Armory as soon as possible to develop a
breechloading replacement for the rifle-musket, as well
as a "repeater or magazine carbine" for cavalrymen. Dyer
preferred a single-shot for the infantry, as he, and most
other officers, believed foot soldiers needed an arm that
fired a longer range and thus more powerful round than the
shorter cartridges used in the actions of existing repeaters.
Despite Dyer's conclusions, the army in the field had been
issuing Spencer cavalry carbines to select infantry units for
some time. The 7th Connecticut and 7th New Hampshire
infantries used their carbines to good effect in a losing cause

Although most Union infantry in 1865 were equipped with muzzleloading
Springfield or Enfield rifle-muskets, some units such as Sherman's 46th Ohio
Infantry, used Spencer rifles with great effect during the closing battles of the war.
AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

MARCH 2015

59

"Confederate Cavalryman, 1865" by Don Troiani, Corbis Images

suggestion, and had an infantry brigade armed with riflemuskets charge McAllister in a direct assault. The fort
fell, at a cost of 24 men dead and 110 wounded. Whether
Kilpatrick's suggestion would have produced fewer casualties is impossible to determine, but the fact that he
brought it up is evidence that he was thinking about using
repeating rifles in the offensive-and perceived their rapidity of fire as a major tactical advantage.
While Sherman marched on Savannah, Gen. Hood aggressively pushed into Tennessee. Confronted with a well-fortified
Union force under Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield at Franklin
on Nov. 19, Hood launched what would be the last massive
assault of the dying Confederacy, with bands playing "Dixie"
and "The Bonnie Blue Flag" as morale-boosting background
music. The attack failed to take the federal position, and
Hood lost 7,000 men killed, wounded and missing-triple the
Union losses. Among the casualties were 14 generals, including Pat Cleburne, the Army of Tennessee's best tactician and
marksmanship advocate, who was killed. Most of the Yankees
at Franklin shouldered standard rifle-muskets, but the 65th
Illinois Infantry had a company armed with Henry rifles, and
the fire from the 65th was so severe that a Confederate survivor recalled that "men pulled their hats over their faces as if
to shield them from a storm of hail." That leaden hail left the
ground in front of the Federals strewn with bodies.
Schofield successfully disengaged and withdrew toward
Nashville, which led Hood to proclaim victory and launch
a pursuit. Upon arrival at Nashville, the battered and illsupplied Army of Tennessee confronted Maj. Gen. George
Thomas' Union army. To add to Confederate discomfiture,
harsh weather set in as Thomas, whose force outnumbered
Hood's by three to one, began his offensive on Dec. 15,
1864, initiating a number of attacks over the next two days.
The end result at Nashville would no doubt have been
the same with or without Spencers, but the battle provided
yet another example of evolving repeater tactics. At one
point, Brig. Gen. James Wilson's cavalrymen dismounted,
deployed in a skirmish formation and advanced firing
their Spencer carbines as rapidly as possible in the
assault. Under relentless attack, the Army of Tennessee
crumbled and fell back into Georgia, what was left of it
disintegrating along the way.
As 1865 dawned, it was clear to most forward-thinking
officers that the future of firearms lay with sturdy,
weatherproof, self-contained metallic cartridges and
breechloading rifles and carbines in which to fire them.
On Dec. 5, 1864, Chief of Ordnance Brig. Gen. Alexander
B. Dyer advised Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton that
"the experience of the war has shown that breech-loading


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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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