Arming the Union through Innovation, Genius, and Agency
Men, Machine, & the Carbine
The Federal Government Buys
"The war stimulated experimentation with and refinement of breech-loading arms, and the government proved an excellent customer for the makers of many types of these weapons"
-Felicia Johnson Deyrup, Arms Makers of the Conneticut Valley
As the United States government worked to supply troops with the needed essentials for the Civil War and struggled to pay for those items, the government got more and more involved in the country’s economy.1
That pattern is clearly seen in the Ordnance Department. The United States’ Ordnance Department was in charge of supplying weapons and ammunition to all Union soldiers during the Civil War, among its other duties. Some of their other tasks were to buy and create weapons and ammunition for the Union soldiers, conduct inspections for contracted material, and keep a monthly inventory of arms being used in the field. Through those processes the Ordnance Department promoted advancements in carbines and even manufacturing in the private sector.
The above drawing is what the ordnance department's crest may have looked like during the Civil War. For the crest's history see the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps website.
1 Heather Cox Richardson, The Greatest Nation of the Earth: Republican Economic Politics During the Civil War (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard university Press, 1997), 5.