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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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1854 Austrian Lorenz Rifle

 

1854 Austrian Lorenz Rifle

Caliber: .54

Barrel length: 37 ½"

The Lorenz rifle was imported from Austria by both Union and Confederate governments during the Civil War due to the shortage of weapons. This rifle was a muzzleloader that used a percussion cap for ignition. The bullets fired by this rifle were inferior to the mine ball and the barrels were inconsistent in quality making these poorly performing weapons. Private Henry Strong of the 12th Kansas Infantry who latter was stationed at Fort Smith disliked the Lorenz due to the poor and inconsistent quality of the weapon. Strong claimed he was glad when they replaced his Austrian rifle with a British Enfield.

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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.