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Re: Evidence of soldiers jamming rifles

Along the same line, here is what veteran John McElroy wrote about soldiers cleaning their guns. McElroy served in the 16th Illinois Cavalry and later was publisher of The National Tribune

They employed the very brief halt of the regiment in swabbing out the barrels of their muskets very carefully, and removing the last traces of moisture from the nipples and hammers.

Re: Evidence of soldiers jamming rifles

There is an oft-repeated account of 12,000 muskets recovered from the Gettysburg battlefield with 2 or more charges rammed down the muzzle, including one with more than 20. They all appear to trace to one source-- Major T.S. Laidley, "Breech-loading Musket," United States Service Magazine 5 (January 1865): 67-70. I don't know how "reliable" this source is, or if there are any other corroborating accounts of this fantastic number.

Perhaps Earl Hess discusses the issue in his book on Rifle Tactics?

Re: Evidence of soldiers jamming rifles?

I have read reports of multiple-loaded rifles including some reports of captured rifles loaded with cartridges all the way up to the muzzle.

I always thought such cases came from men who were psychologically unable to pull the trigger. No one noticed they didn't fire during volley fire and they simply reloaded along with everyone else.

Re: Evidence of soldiers jamming rifles

Tim, I know I've read in a couple of places the instances of green, poorly trained troops who in their battlefield stress rammed multiple charges into their guns or fired their ramrods, but off the top of my head I can't remember the specific citations. However, Joseph Glatthaar has a good chapter in General Lee's Army ("Arms and Ammunition"), which discusses the ongoing Confederate issues of mismatched weapons and ordnance, defective ammunition, antiquated weapons, etc.