American Rifleman - March 2015 - 61

AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG/1864

AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

cartridges were available, the latter problem evidenced
in recent tests with a well-made exact reproduction gun.
Despite this, the Morse was issued to the South Carolina
militia. Needless to say, the Morse, no matter its sophisticated firing system, did nothing to stop Sherman.
As spring came north to the Virginia front, with
Sherman doggedly marching in its wake, Maj. Gen. James
Wilson prepared to lead his cavalry corps in a rampage
across Alabama and Georgia in the war's final campaign.
Wilson, an efficient young officer who had served as head
of the Cavalry Bureau in Washington before becoming Chief

How important did
the Spencer become
to the Union during
the war? In 1865,
Maj. Gen. Wilson's
Federal Cavalry Corps
adopted a badge
featuring a Spencer
and crossed sabers
(above), signifying
the fire-and-maneuver
doctrine beginning to
take shape.

MARCH 2015

61

Badge photo courtesy of Fred Grandinetti, Spencer Shooting Society, cascity.com

only on Spencer carbines, but, as previously noted, also in
classic old-school saber charges. On March 2, 1865, Brig.
Gen. George Custer, having learned something about using
repeaters effectively since his Gettysburg standoff with
the rifle-musket-armed 34th Virginia Cavalry Battalion,
confronted the tattered remnants of Early's army at
Waynesboro, Va. Custer dismounted the Spencer-armed 3rd
New Jersey, 7th Ohio and 1st Connecticut Cavalry regiments
and maneuvered them through a woodlot to a position
100 yds. from Early's men. In what had by then become
standard practice, the troopers assaulted the Rebel line,
firing rapidly, while mounted units charged the enemy with
sabers, routing them and almost capturing Early.
One small arm prominent in the war's early stages that
was inarguably obsolete by January 1865 was the .69-cal.
smoothbore musket. Even units that had long favored
smoothbores, most notably the regiments of the Irish
Brigade and the 12th New Jersey Infantry, reported fewer in
their ranks. By the third quarter of 1864, the Irish Brigade's
63rd, 69th and 88th New York and 116th Pennsylvania
Infantry regiments had replaced their smoothbores with
Springfield and Enfield rifle-muskets. Even in the 12th New
Jersey, a unit whose men thought so highly of their beloved
smoothbores that their Gettysburg monument celebrates
"buck and ball," soldiers returning from convalescent leave
or replacing damaged weapons were issued rifle-muskets.
By January 1865, the 78 remaining smoothbores in the
12th were significantly outnumbered by the regiment's 231
Springfield .58-cal. rifle-muskets.
As the Jerseymen contemplated the decline of the
smoothbore, Sherman, having presented President Lincoln
the city of Savannah as a Christmas present, turned
north into the Carolinas. There he encountered minimal
resistance aside from wretched weather, but was opposed
by some soldiers armed with the most advanced arm the
Confederacy ever produced-at least theoretically-the
Morse carbine.
Invented by George B. Morse of New Orleans, the .50cal. Morse chambered a unique center-fire self-contained
copper cartridge that could actually be considered
more modern than the rimfire Spencer and Henry
ammunition, which Southern industry proved incapable
of manufacturing for captured arms. (In December 1864,
a Richmond newspaper editor wrote that such production
should be a national priority.) The Morse round was primed
by a musket cap affixed to an integral nipple in the center
of the cartridge base, which was hit by an internal firing
pin driven home by the gun's partially internal hammer
when the trigger was pulled.
In 1860, Springfield Armory manufactured tooling to
make the Morse and shipped it to Harper's Ferry Armory,
where it was captured by Confederates the following year.
The machinery was shipped south and eventually ended up
at the South Carolina State Works in Greenville, where 1,000
Morse carbines were produced in 1864. The Confederate
War Department rejected the guns, due to the difficulty of
manufacturing ammunition and erratic ignition even when


http://www.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG/1864 http://www.cascity.com http://www.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

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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