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Antietam Cavalry Weapon

Burnside Carbine

Burnside Carbine


Manufacturer: Bristol Firearms Company, Burnside Rifle Company

Where made: Rhode Island

Model: 1857

Year(s) made: 1857-1865

Burnside Carbine


The Burnside was one of the first breech-loading, and the third most common carbine in Federal Cavalry service, later exceeded in numbers only by the Sharps and Spencer carbines. It was a lever action, single-shot weapon. First and Second (of 5) Models were in service by Antietam. Its inventor, Ambrose E. Burnside, was also at the Battle. About 55,000 of these rifles were delivered to the US Army by the end of the War.

Employment at Sharpsburg

Common in many Federal units early in the War. Captured pieces in Confederate service.

Ammunition Used

Special Burnside design, cone shaped metallic cartridge. Usual load 65 grains powder behind 500 grain bullet.


0.54 inches

Effective range

200 yards

Muzzle Velocity

950 feet per second


9 pounds

Other notes

Photograph and other details from the Smithsonian.1


1   Barber, James G., and Troy Lachance, et al., CivilWar@Smithsonian, first accessed 01 January 2002, <>, Source page: /weapons_burnside.html  [AotW citation 294]


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