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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

1859 Sharps Carbine

1859 sharps carbine
NPS Photo

1859 Sharps Carbine

Caliber: .54

Barrel length: 22"

This carbine was issued to cavalry troops during the Civil War. The shorter length made it easier to handle on horseback. This weapon is rifled and uses a percussion cap. However, unlike other weapons of the time it was a breechloader. A paper cartridge was used inserted into the breach and when it was closed, it cut the back of the paper off exposing the powder to the cap. Many Sharps rifles and carbines were converted to the metallic cartridge after the war. Union cavalry units in Fort Smith such as the Sixth and Second Kansas were issued these carbines during the Civil War.

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