Functional and authentic reproduction ammunition from the American Civil War era.
Operating as usual
𝐓𝐡𝐫𝐞𝐞 𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐜 𝐭𝐲𝐩𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐥 𝐖𝐚𝐫 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐤𝐞𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐠𝐞𝐬
Small arms in the American Civil War were so numerous in design that supplying ammunition of the appropriate type to soldiers in the field was a logistical conundrum. The most common type of ammunition issued to the infantry was the simple paper cartridge, of which there were three basic types:
1. “𝐄𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐚𝐥𝐥” 𝐨𝐫 “𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐢é” 𝐛𝐚𝐥𝐥: the pinnacle of muzzle-loading rifle ammunition design. Consists of one conical lead bullet with a hollow base, lubricated, and sitting atop a charge of gunpowder. Many different Minié-type bullets were manufactured by dozens of arsenals both North and South during the war. British-designed cartridges often featured a smooth-sided projectile sometimes called a “Pritchett” or "Enfield" bullet.
2. “𝐑𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐚𝐥𝐥”: Outdated by the 1860s, but still in common use. Consists of a single, spherical lead shot, sometimes with a lubricated patch for use in rifles, and gunpowder.
3. “𝐁𝐮𝐜𝐤 & 𝐁𝐚𝐥𝐥” 𝐚𝐧𝐝 “𝐁𝐮𝐜𝐤𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐭”: The former is made up of one spherical lead shot sitting atop three buckshot pellets; the latter consists of up to sixteen buckshot pellets. For use exclusively in smooth bore muskets, often by irregular forces or shock troops.
Of course, there were other types of paper cartridges in use, such as those for the Sharps, Austrian, and Whitworth rifles, plus dozens of patterns of metallic cartridges for breech loading rifles and carbines. However, these three basic types of paper cartridges were in the highest demand by the armies of the Civil War.
To browse functional reproductions of these cartridges, go to www.TheJeffersonArsenal.com.
Book your space to tour the historic Antietam battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland with an expert historian and battlefield guide!
The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest single day of combat in American history, and was one of the most significant historical events to occur in the State of Maryland. On September 17th, 1862, 100,000 Union and Confederate soldiers came to grips with one another on the banks of the Antietam Creek in Washington County; nearly one in four would become casualties in the ensuing battle. Today, over 3,000 acres of the battlefield are immaculately preserved by the National Park Service. The landscape which was once "turned red" is now dotted with monuments, headstones, and historic structures.
Join master historian and native Marylander Jon Swain on a three-hour tour of this historic destination.
Tours every Saturday in March at 10am, tickets available at the link below:
Antietam Battlefield Tour | website "Such a storm of balls I never conceived it possible for men to live through. Shot and shell shrieking and crashing, canister and bullets whistling and hissing most fiend-like through the air until you could almost see them... I never expected to come back alive," - Lt. Col. A.S. "Sandie" Pendleton,...
We told you earlier this month to keep an eye out for a special announcement...
Well here it is!
We at the Jefferson Arsenal are proud to offer in-person tours of Antietam National Battlefield led by owner and master historian, Jon Swain.
Tours are scheduled every Saturday in March staring at 10am and last for 3 hours.
See you on the battlefield!
Special Announcement: We are now proud to announce Jefferson Arsenal Tours Live, in-person tours of America's Battlefields Tours every Saturday in March at 10am Led by Arsenal owner and master historian Jon Swain nEXT MONTH: THE BATTLE OF... Reserve Tickets
Stock up now before the busy season hits!
Our Pre-Constructed Cartridges are the easiest and quickest way to use your musket the same way your ancestors did.
Let us do the hard work for you so you can make the most of your range time. And enjoy 20% off while you're at it! Use Coupon code: Cart20
Sale on now, enjoy discounts on our most rewarding product until Friday, Feb 11th.
Don't forget to subscribe to our mailing list to be the first to get special sale info, new product releases, as well as special messages and announcements from owner and historian, Jon.
Winter — Cartridge Sale 20% off all Pre-Constructed Cartridges COUPON CODE: CART20
𝐋𝐨𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐞?
When you think of a Civil War battle, what image comes to mind? You may picture two neat lines of soldiers- one blue, one gray- standing in an open field firing into one another from fifty paces away. This is perhaps the most popular depiction of Civil War combat, but it’s only partially accurate.
There were plenty of battles where exposed lines of infantry blasted away at one another at close range, the soldiers bravely standing out in the open to load and fire their muskets. However, we know that this wasn’t always the manner in which Civil War combat was waged. “𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝒊𝒔,” recalled one terrified New York soldier after the Battle of Antietam, “𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒃𝒖𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒕𝒔 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒈𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒕 𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒏𝒌𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒅 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒕 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒌𝒖𝒍𝒍𝒔 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒆𝒈𝒈𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒔, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒖𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒑𝒂𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒈𝒆 𝒎𝒂𝒏 𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒚.”
The soldiers “got out of the way” by taking cover behind stone walls, in sunken road beds, and later in the war, in earth works. When these obstacles weren’t available, they were occasionally ordered to lie down on the ground to return fire.
"But wait,” you may say, “Civil War rifles loaded from the muzzle! How would it be possible to manipulate these four-and-a-half foot weapons while lying down?” To answer this question, we can look at two of the most popular infantry manuals of the day: Silas Casey’s 𝘐𝘯𝘧𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘛𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘴 (1862) and William Hardee’s 𝘙𝘪𝘧𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘓𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘐𝘯𝘧𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘛𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘴 (1855). Both of these works contain instructions for loading and firing from the prone: after firing, the soldier would roll to his back and place his musket with “𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒖𝒕𝒕 𝒃𝒆𝒕𝒘𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒆𝒍𝒔, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒂𝒓𝒓𝒆𝒍 𝒖𝒑, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒖𝒛𝒛𝒍𝒆 𝒆𝒍𝒆𝒗𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅.” In this position, he would charge and ram a cartridge, then turn back to his belly to prime, aim and fire.
There are several accounts of Civil War soldiers firing from the prone, both defensively and in the assault. If you haven’t already, go to The Jefferson Arsenal’s page where in a later post, we will examine the fighting at Turner’s Gap in the Battle of South Mountain, when soldiers of the Iron Brigade adopted fire and maneuver tactics that seem to us to be shockingly modern.
“Eyewitness to Battle, Part 2.” National Park Service. Accessed February 1, 2022. https://www.nps.gov/anti/learn/historyculture/eyewitness-to-battle-part-2.htm
Hardee, William Joseph. Hardee's Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics. Memphis: E.C. Kirk & Co., 1861.
Picture: “Courage in Blue,” by Mort Kunstler
As many of my loyal customers know, The Jefferson Arsenal is proudly a veteran owned company. What you may not know is that I served as a Marine Rifleman in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2009-10. While deployed, we conducted two missions: to locate and destroy the Taliban, and to help the Afghan security forces and civilians.
We spent much of our time providing help to the locals. We established relationships with them and tried our best to help their communities in whatever way we could. I'll never forget the look on an Afghan boy's face as he tried American candy for the first time, or the extreme joy of a young girl who was now able to get the education she deserved. I learned that these were the same kind of people trying to live a life free of terror and extremism as those we were protecting back home. They are not just our allies, but our friends. And they need our help now more than ever.
Our community has seen an influx of Afghans arriving to begin a new life, far away from everyone and everything they've known.
The Lutheran Social Services of the DMV have committed themselves to serving these people. The charity is expecting to provide housing and supplies to over 800 arriving Afghans in the next 2 months and are working directly with the communities, no matter their denomination, to provide whatever support they need.
Here at The Jefferson Arsenal, I am carrying the same sentiment I carried in Afghanistan. Between today, August 28th, and next Friday, September 3rd, I will be donating 100% of our profits to this cause.
We deeply appreciate your orders at this time. Please share this post to encourage others to shop to help the cause.
You can also donate here directly: https://lssnca.org/take_action/donate-afghan-allies.html
Or do as my wife and I have done and sign up to volunteer your time to this charity. They need airport pickups, home set-up, as well as food and clothing donations.
It seems to be on the people now to do the right thing by our Afghan friends. After all they've been through, they are truly deserving of our help and a chance to start a new life here. Thank you all for your support. Please pray for Afghanistan, our troops, and our great country.
We're back in business!
Amanda and I had a wonderful wedding and honeymoon, and we're back to work just in time for campaigning season. Click the link below to view our full collection of historically accurate, fully functional products!
Below: Amanda displaying a great example of a punt gun that we found on our honeymoon to Tybee Island, Georgia. These guns were used to harvest massive amounts of waterfowl with a single shot. (No, we don't currently offer cartridges for these guns!)
Thank you all for your continued interest in The Jefferson Arsenal! It’s my honor to announce that next week, I’ll be getting married to the love of my life, Amanda. For those of you who have shot N-SSA for the past couple of years, you may remember Amanda as the beautiful young lady who was expertly handling the Arsenal’s books during those often rainy weekends. She has been with The Jefferson Arsenal since our humble beginnings and has seen us through to the success that we now enjoy. I look forward to many more years of the same devoted companionship that she has blessed me with so far.
That being said, we are taking a few weeks to enjoy the beginning of our next chapter in life together. The Jefferson Arsenal will be back up and running before the end of May, after which we will be proud to continue to offer you the finest and most affordable historically correct ammunition for your smoke pole of choice.
Thank you again for your continued support, and we’ll see you in a few weeks!
The Skip Wizards are a Competition and Demonstration Jump Rope Team based in Jefferson, Maryland.
Keeping in touch with people who love the horses at NFSE!!