In the entire history of America, the Civil War was by-far the most deadly, with over 600,000 killed and 1 million (plus) wounded. Compare that to WWII where we lost 400,000 with around 700,000 wounded!
And what makes these comparatives even more mind-boggling is that some of the most deadly weapons – fighter planes, bazookas, tanks – were still decades away from being invented! That said, the Civil War had its share of lethal weapons, so let’s take a look at the top 3 deadliest:
1 – GATLING GUN
Hands down, THE deadliest weapon available at that time. The first multi-barreled machine gun was invented by a doctor of all people. But hey, his intentions were good since Gatling thought it would make the operator so lethal, it might actually make wars obsolete (irony sucks, doesn’t it?)
This bad boy was a .58 caliber, six-barreled gun featuring a hand crank that rotated the barrels. It could fire six hundred rounds a minute (the same as 150 soldiers), and the rotating barrel is alive and well today in modern-day gatling guns as well as co-starring (alongside Arnold) in the “Terminator” movies.
2 – HENRY REPEATING RIFLE
Two words: Assault Rifle. The fastest-firing weapon a soldier could wield at the time.
The Springfield 1861 could only manage 2-4 shots per minute. The Henry Repeater, on the other hand, could spit all 16 shots in its magazine in under a minute.
Oh, and unlike the Springfield, which used separate black powder, a percussion cap and bullets, the Henry combined all three in a single .44 caliber metallic cylinder, basically the modern ammo cartridge used today.
3 – LEMAT PISTOL
Two-guns-in-one. The most lethal (and weird-looking) handgun of the Civil War.
The LeMat was a nine-cylinder .42 cal that held 50% more rounds than a standard revolver. Design-wise, it was a bizarre sight to behold, with a SECOND single-shot barrel that fired shotgun rounds! A switch on the side let the shooter toggle between handgun and shotgun modes!