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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Spencer Shooting Society (Moderator: Two Flints)  |  Topic: The Spencer Repeating Rifle At Gettysburg 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Spencer Repeating Rifle At Gettysburg  (Read 2391 times)
Two Flints
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« on: March 03, 2007, 09:11:22 pm »


Hello SSS,

I received permission from the Editors of Gettysburg Magazine to reproduce this article, The Spencer Rifle At Gettysburg, written by D. Alexander Watson, which appeared in issue #15, July 1, 1996.  Hope you will read and enjoy the article.

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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2007, 02:58:33 pm »

Two Flints
Thank you for posting this wonderful article.  I think I've read it before, but it's always nice to see good articles.
I wholeheartedly agree with his assertion that people have overlooked Buford's contribution - Both he and David Gregg deserved much better praise than they received for their services to their country in those fateful days.

However, there are several points I found odd:
1) There were ONLY Spencer rifles to be issued to US troops in the summer of 1863; Carbines were being produced, but I do not believe any had been sent to the Feds for issue by that time.  My own rifle, in the 23K SN range was the last of the rifles to be manufactured, and that was in the fall of 1863. The question is, of the 7-10,000 rifles that were sent to the ordinance department to be issued in the Spring of 1863, to whom did they go? Clearly the Michigan boys got 1,000 or so.  What about the rest?  These 10K are  NOT part of the several thousand rifles that went to Wilders' brigade, as those were in a different contract. (Check Marcot)

2) I vaguely recall that Devin's brigade showed up with some Spencer rifles sometime after Gettysburg, as later (if my memory serves me correctly) they returned some Spencer rifles to the ordinance dept to get Spencer carbines. <i>When</i> they got the rifles is the question.  I have always assumed they got them sometime after the battle. But the real tale would be archeological - if there were any piles of spencer casings anywhere up on McPherson's ridge, then Devin probably had a few companies armed with them. Simply the duration of the sustained fire from their brigade suggests this to be <i>plausible</i>, but not necessarily probable.  The first rifles were issued with something like 100 rnds of ammo, which would have been a significant advantage to any dismounted troopers facing Heth on July 1, 1863.

Some original letters from his NJ troops would lend support to this picture as well, if they could be found.  I wonder if anyone at the Historical park would know?  My guess is that their tracking of casing finds would be poor, if even extant.
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Spencer Shooting Society (Moderator: Two Flints)  |  Topic: The Spencer Repeating Rifle At Gettysburg « previous next »
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