Civil War Ammunition- Minié Ball Cartridge Rolling and Trivia

Excellent demonstration of how to roll a Minié Ball cartridge used in Civil War Rifles on both the Union and Confederates. A little long but very interesting with loads of additional information about the process and getting ammunition to the soldiers. This gentleman is very good at what he does. This video was done at Battle of Pilot Knob reenactment in Missouri in the fall of 2010.


Perhaps what is your pusher rank I am The first sergeant of the company M the Battery but I’m also the ordnance Sergeant so I got two different uniform Coach that I can wear and so for Simplicity and in my vehicle I just Brought by first sergeant’s coat all Right so it the other ones are at home And what are you going to demonstrate Here for us I’m going to demonstrate the 1861 cartridge when the war started in 1861 they had to come up with a faster Way and an easier way to make a Cartridge for the for the minie ball now The minie ball was invented by a Punishment by the name of Claude minae In the 8th early 1850s in what his Invention was and all he did was make Improvements on the bullet at the time And his name kind of stuck but at his Invention it was more conical in shape It had grease rings and it had a hollow Base now the gases from the ignition of The Gunpowder would expand the skirt Into the rifling now originally rifling Had been invented to try to get more Shots you know before you get to stop And clean your weapon well what it Discovered is that the rive the skirt Here would take to the rifling and then When it comes out of the barrel its Spiraling like throwing a football and Then they found out that the you Increase the accuracy of the weapon and

You increase the range a round ball Musket ball of the american revolution Only went about 75 to 100 yards but by The time of the Civil War in the minie Ball the killing range is now 300 yards To almost 900 yards They said the range of 900 yards would Be a man on horseback that a soldier Should be able to hit somewhere in that Square at 900 yards that’s not saying That all Riflemen were experts because it took 16 Pounds of lead during the war to kill Each man that was killed because it was A lot of lead flying over their heads And so that’s now this is a workstation Of the Arsenal and so the Arsenal was Made up of women and kids 14 and above And it was assembly type of work and so Each each group had a specific job now This first station and I’ve condensed it Down to a one-man operation but this Station here would be with the tube box Here and what they would do with this They would fill it up and this thing Will hold almost 500 tubes now what is It – well this is a tube the cartridge Before becomes a cartridge starts out With a trapezoid yeah and then you make – take two – or two trapezoids and two Tubes to make a cartridge the bullet Will be in one now this one here these Are here mark 4 blanks but what they Would have done they would have sat

There and filled up the tube box with Tubes they said according to the Ordinance manual of 1862 a worker should Be able to manufacture in a 10-hour day 2,000 tubes and so once it’s filled they Would turn it right-side up like I’ve Got this one here and then it go down to The next work station and it would be a Guy and he would take all he would do is Just charge each cartridge with a powder Charge ok then it goes down the next Work station where they’re making the Necessary fold or closing them off like I’ve got this one here yeah and then 10 Would be bundled with the tuba caps and Then 100 hundred bundles would go into The ammunition box and then shipped to The field and in an ordnance sergeant Like myself would take possession of it And it would be my responsibility to Issue to Troops Wow so this is what I’m going to Make is in 1861 cartridge from scratch Now the powder I use is a railroad Ballast that a lot of railroad is used For a road bed so it’s not explosive and That way I can make them and sell them To the spectators as a souvenir because The minie ball and the cartridge is what Did all the damage so the first tube Here is going to hold the greasy bullet Now the bullet was lubricated with a Combination of tallow beeswax and boiled Linseed oil so you didn’t want to

Contaminate the powder charge Okemah dose is a certain right here Thank you sorry I trumped it I’m going To tie it off here wrap it around and Tighten regular granny knot This was not done in the field this was Always just was done in a fixed location In a building now actually they would Have done the opposite way but since I’m Left-handed I must have my my smart Brain on the right side because I’m sure They probably would have found ways the Way they some they say they done it is That you know they made a tube and then They sat this down on there and then Made the second one okay but I’ve kind Of changed it around I put the bullet in The first tube like so and then run it Down and then I make the second tube It’s the same effect yeah you know stay Off it here doesn’t want to cooperate In the second tube would hold a powder Charge so you make you’re making two Tubes that are exactly the thing right Two tubes you’re good we’re gonna be the Same they’re tying it off Well I’m krumping it okay I’m chucking It off yeah So you’d arrive up for the Springfield Was a 58 58 caliber once the bullet is Sized it comes out when it’s cast at 5/8 Oh and then it’s either elsewheres or Nose castle whichever way the bullets Made and then once you run it through a

Sizing die it makes it five seven five So just just a fight you know five Hundredths of an inch smaller so it will Slide down the barrel but you don’t need No wanting to go with it because it’s The skirt when it when the explosion Takes place in the breech that that Skirt it’s going to take you to rifling And no gases can leak around it and so It repels it forward out the barrel now I’m going to slide this on here so You’re sliding the one that’s got the Border right that’s going to hold the Powder charge and keep the cartridge From getting damaged from the grease I Say and then sixty-five grains of powder Would go in each one now what’s that Tool that you have there this is just an Implement for it’s got different Measurements on there is originally for Shotguns and I it’s just the right size To do a 65 gray and that way I don’t Have to bring out a plastic thing to do My my shot loads you know it looks more Period one scoop Like I said they would have went down The line yet they would have filled each One of those and then send it on down But I can I do these one at a time do my Demonstrations what do you rub it oh You’re just chicken I’m just shaking 11 To powder out now each cartridge is Going to have five creases in the Cartridge and that was designed to keep

The powder charge in the cartridge and Not leaked out in the cartridge box now Creased it I tap it the level the powder Charge because I got to make two little Wings here so you’ll make two little Wings and then I fold them into the Middle flatten it out Let that set it out down blend it out Again then it’s going to go back over The top back down and I make the final Crease right here And here you have an 1861 paper Cartridge may just like the original and You can compare this is a is at least 140 45 years old That one’s brand-new the only difference This one has been exposed to the air for A hundred and forty year got to what has Turned to brown originally those Cartridges would have been the same Color as that and off-white You

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