5 Unique American Civil War Weapons

The American Civil War ( 1861 to 1865), fought between Confederate and Union forces, was by so far the most bloody and deadly affair in the world’s history. There were many different technologies and weapons used on both sides during the civil war. These new weapons and technologies completely changed the way wars were fought with the future of war. Some of these weapons and technologies were also used in a major war for the very first time.

The American Civil War had its share of unusual deadly weapons. Here’s a look at the top five weapons.

5 Unique American Civil War Weapons

1.Muskets and Rifles

Despite advancements in technology, the soldiers in both Confederate and Union forces on the battlefield fought with the old style guns, muskets. These muskets had very smooth bores and these were also unreliable as it took a very long time to reload them. These were also inaccurate for distance longer than 40 yards. Rifles on the other hand, occurred more reliable during the war period as rifles had shallow spiral grooves and they were accurate for a longer distance range than rifles.


Cannons played a major role and were used by both Union and Confederate forces during the entire war. Cannons were considered as the lion of the battlefield during the entire war. They were loud,huge and packed a punch. There were variety of cannons used in the American Civil War, including M1857 12-pounder “Napoleon”, 24-Pounder Howitzer and the 20-pounder parrott rifle. These cannons were the best weapon, used against the enemy fortification to destroy them . They could fire a bunch of smaller iron balls or a large solid cannon ball.

3.Hot- air- Balloons

Hot- air balloon was one of the interesting new technology used by the Union force. These balloons were used to determine the movements, locations and other activities of the enemy troops. Balloonist would fly right above the enemy armed forces. During the war period, the south soon find out ways to attack the balloonists and shoot them down.

4. Knives , Swords and Bayonets

Many swords and knives were used widely in the civil war, including Model 1832 Dragon Saber, Model 1832 Foot Artillery, Model 1840 cavalry Saber, Model 1932 Dragoon Saber, Model 1860 Light Cavalry Saber, Model 1850 Army Staff and Field Officer’s’ Sword as well as the Bowie Knife. Much of the time the soldiers would use a knife like spike attached to the end of their rifles called a bayonet. Soldiers often had pistols or swords that they use in close battle.

5.Ironclad Warships

Ironclad warships were another great innovation of American Civil war. Like hot air balloons, the ironclad warship was not exactly invented during the war but Civil War was only the period these ironclads saw effective use. These were the ships made of canvas and wood and equipped with iron, which made them much stronger and impervious to attack.


These were the five unique weapons used during the American Civil War. The new advancements in American Civil War weapons played an essential part in the war. During the Civil War massive amounts weapons were invented and huge casualties were the end result.

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