Abraham Lincoln & Guns

     Henry J Reske in his article for US News and World Report called Lincoln a “weapons aficionado with an avid interest in cutting-edge technology.” His interest in weapons was part curiosity and part desire to get the best for Union soldiers and sailors and win the war.  Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson says that Lincoln personally tested both the Spencer seven-shot rifle and the seven-shot carbine. “I think he may also have tested one or more versions of the Sharps single-shot breach-loading rifle,” McPherson adds. “He also tested the ‘coffee-mill gun’—an early version of a hand-cranked machine gun.”

Coffee-Mill Gun

 Manufactured by Woodward & Cox, N.Y. – Single barrel rapid-fire gun mounted on a light artillery carriage. The weapon fired standard issue .58 caliber paper cartridges which were placed inside steel cartridge cases which fed from a hopper into a revolving cylinder were they were placed in the breech and fired, the empty cases then dropping into another hopper to be reloaded by hand with new paper cartridges.

Spencer Repeating Rifle

The Spencer repeating rifle was adopted by the Union Army, especially by the cavalry, during the Civil War.  It was a manually operated lever-action, repeating rifle fed from a tube magazine with cartridges.

 Read Reske’s full article at:  2009http://www.usnews.com/news/history/articles/2009/02/11/abraham-lincoln-a-technology-leader-of-his-time

Reske, Henry J. “Abraham Lincoln: A Technology Leader of His Time,” February 11, 2009.

Tomorrow, Noah Brook (Lincoln’s friend) on Lincoln’s sense of humor and his last hours.  Rita Bay

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