1. Model 1857 12-Pounder “Napoleon” Gun
Named after Napoleon III of France, the “Napoleon” Light Field Gun was a muzzle-loaded smoothbore cannon that fired a twelve-pound round. A mature design with design roots in French artillery (hence the nickname), it was considered safe and reliable, its physical size a good compromise between mobility and killing power.
The Napoleon was used by both sides during the war. It could fire solid metal shot, explosive shells, and grape and canister rounds. The barrel was sixty-six inches long and had a bore diameter of some four and half inches—about the same as the main gun on an Abrams tank. The entire gun and two-wheel mount weighed 2,350 pounds.
The Model 1857 had a range of 1,619 yards. It could fire up to four shotgun-like canister shots per minute, making it deadly against massed infantry at short ranges.
2. LeMat Pistol
An unusual pistol design, the LeMat was designed by Jean Alexandre Le Mat of New Orleans. The pistol saw action with the Confederate Army and Navy, and was theoretically the most lethal handgun of the American Civil War.
The LeMat was a nine-cylinder .42 caliber revolver. Nine cylinders meant it could hold fifty percent more rounds than a typical revolver. The gun was actually two guns in one, because it had a second, larger, single-shot barrel capable of firing shotgun rounds. A selector switch on the side of the gun allowed the operator to switch back and forth between handgun and shotgun modes.
The Lemat was unwieldy, with the two firing mechanisms making it unusually weighty for a handgun. The weight of the cylinder made it rear-heavy, which likely helped aiming.