Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Burnside Carbine

Yesterday, I mentioned that Mr. Stilling had a Burnside carbine with him at the presentation.  I had never heard of one, but figured that perhaps the Burnside in question was none other than Union General Ambrose Burnside.  I was about to ask if he was, when Mr. Stilling said he was.

So, Wiki and sources here I come.

One site was offering two Burnside 4th Model carbines.  One was an early four-digit serial number, .50 caliber carbine for $2,500.  The other was a .54 caliber 1863-1864 one for $2,999.

According to Wikipedia, the Burnside  was a breech-loading carbine in wide-use, designed and patented by Ambrose Burnside who resigned from the Army before the war to devote himself full-time to his invention.  It used a special brass cartridge that was also designed by Burnside.  He designed the carbine in 1855.

In 1857, his design won a carbine competition at West Point against 17 other models, but even so, few were ordered until the Civil War came about.  Then came an order for 55,000 and eventually that number rose to 100,000.

It was the third most-popular cavalry carbine after the Sharps and Spencer (I'd heard of them before.)

Burnside was actually a poor officer and had begged Lincoln not to place him in command of the Army of the Potomac before the Battle of Fredericksburg, saying, "I was not competent to command such a large army as this."

I Didn't Know That.  --Old Secesh

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