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The three-day battle of Gettysburg has probably been the subject of more books and articles than any other comparable event. There have been campaign histories, detailed studies of each army or branch of service, accounts of the fighting on one day or area of battlefield, and the combat sagas of a particular brigade, regiment, or individual.
Surprisingly, until this work, no one has analyzed the firearms and other individual soldiers weapons used at Gettysburg in any great detail. The battle was a watershed, with military weapons technologies representing the past, present and future - sabers, smoothbores, rifles and breechloaders, in action alongside each other, providing a unique opportunity to compare performance and use, as well a determining how particular weapons and their deployment affected the outcome and course of battle. Small Arms At Gettysburg: Infantry and Cavalry Weapons In America's Greatest Battle covers all of the individual soldier's weapons - muskets, rifle-muskets, carbines, repeaters, sharpshooter arms, revolvers, and swords - providing a detailed examination of their history and development, technology, capabilities, and use on the field at Gettysburg.
Here we learn that the smoothbore musket, although beloved by some who carried it, sang its swan song, the rifle-musket began to come into its own, and the repeating rifle, although tactically mishandled, gave a glimpse of future promise. This is the story of the weapons and men who carried them into the battle during three days in July 1863.
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