• Rifle Regiment arriving at Belle Point, 1817. Artwork by Michael Haynes

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

1853 British Enfield

1853 British Enfield
NPS Photo
 

1853 British Enfield

Caliber .58

Barrel length: 39"

During the Civil War both the Union and Confederate Armies were in desperate need of good weapons to arm its men. The Springfield Armory was making good rifled muskets at this time but was not able to keep up with the demand. Therefore, the two governments had to look to other countries to obtain more weapons. The British Enfield was an excellent choice and the north and south utilized them throughout the conflict. This weapon used a percussion cap for ignition so it was similar to previous percussion rifles. However, the weapon could be loaded as fast as the earlier smoothbore muskets and more accuracy than earlier rifles due the invention of the minnie ball.

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Did You Know?

Park staff and volunteers demonstrating using lindstock and slowmatch to ignite the cannon's primer

The soldiers who came to Fort Smith in 1817 were still using some 18th century technology and drill. The cannon was discharged using a lindstock and slowmatch to ignite the primer, which originally was loose powder or a turkey quill filled with powder.