No Caps, No Guns: The Struggle for Confederate Copper

By Brian D. Kowell
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in October 2023.


In the dark, the Yankee colonel heard the popping sounds from along his picket line and ordered his troopers to their support. As dawn broke, he was surprised by the booming of rebel cannon followed by a Confederate charge to test his lines. As the Confederates withdrew, the colonel inspected his lines, noticing a large copper rolling mill that anchored his right flank. As the colonel clenched his pipe, he needed to make some decisions before the Confederates tried again.

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U.S. Federal Coinage During the Civil War

By Patty Zinn
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022-2023, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger as three parts in December 2022, February 2023, and April 2023.


It is interesting to note that both the Federal Government and the Confederate States minted coins during the Civil War. Most know more about Civil War Tokens than actual coinage produced by the Confederate States. In this article, I would like to talk about some of the unique, short-lived United States coin issues as well as Civil War Tokens. To begin, I would like to present an overview of the Federal Government coin issues, with a focus on the smallest of United States silver coins, called the Trime.

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Civil War Spy Balloons

By Brian D. Kowell
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in April 2023.


Look up in the sky. What do you see? A bird? A plane? A spy balloon? Recently a Chinese spy balloon was seen crossing our skies, only to be later shot down by an F-22 fighter jet. Using balloons to spy are not unique to the Chinese. Their use dates back to the 18th century.

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The Sharpshooter and His Weapon

By Sid Sidlo
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: At the time this article was originally published in The Charger in the fall of 2001, Sid Sidlo was editor of the The Ramrod, the newsletter of the North Carolina CWRT.


Hitting a distant target with a bullet only looks easy. It takes a keen eye, steady hands, a great deal of training and practice, and a good firearm. Even with those qualifications and today’s high-powered rifles, it is difficult to hit a man-sized target at three hundred yards without resting the rifle securely. And the black powder of the Civil War era was not high power. Now imagine firing a rifle at a distant enemy on a battlefield covered with powder smoke, with shell fragments flying around, and with the enemy riflemen and artillery in turn finding you a very desirable target. It took cool nerves under those conditions to estimate carefully the distance to the target, determine the high trajectory needed at the time, and allow for any wind. But that was the task of the Civil War sharpshooter, both Union and Confederate.

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Civil War Roads

By Sid Sidlo
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in the spring of 2001. Its author, Sid Sidlo, was then the editor of the North Carolina Roundtable’s Ramrod newsletter and long-time friend of the Cleveland CWRT.


During the Civil War, almost all roads were of dirt that became quagmires of mud after heavy rains. Only a few hard-surface, all-weather roads existed. These hard-surface, all-weather roads were called “macadamized” roads after their inventor, Scottish civil engineer John Loudon McAdam, who in turn was indebted to the road builders of the ancient Roman empire.

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Mule-Drawn Wagon Trains

By Dick Crews
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2001, 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in the winter of 2001.


Among the many responsibilities of the Union and Confederate quartermaster departments was that of furnishing army supply wagons, the mules and horses to draw them, and their support and repair facilities. A standard wagon body was ten feet long. A canvas top, which usually bore the corps and unit names and identified the nature of the contents, could be drawn closed at both ends. At the front of the wagon there was a box for tools. At the rear was the feed box, and when it was time to feed the mules, the feed box could be set up on a pole to feed the mules three to a side. Grease and water buckets hung under the rear axle.

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Railroads in the Civil War

By Dennis Keating
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved

The American Civil War saw many innovations in military warfare. One of the most significant was the use and strategic importance of railroads in moving troops and supplies to the armies. In 1860, the United States had 200 railroads and 30,000 miles of rail, with 21,000 in the North. In the under-industrialized South, the Confederacy had one-third of the freight cars, one-fifth of the locomotives, one-eighth of rail production, one-tenth of the telegraph stations, and one-twenty-fourth of locomotive production.

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Technology in the Civil War: COLD STEEL!

By Sid Sidlo
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: At the time this article was originally published in The Charger in the winter of 2002, Sid Sidlo, a long-time friend of the CCWRT, was editor of the North Carolina CWRT’s newsletter, The Ramrod.


It is a truism that by the time of the Civil War, the bayonet had outlived its usefulness in combat. Yet like many truisms, it tells only part of the story. Certainly the bayonet was not used in the 1860s as it had been before then. Up through the war with Mexico, the last conflict fought with smoothbore muskets, the bayonet’s value was as a “shock tactic” to disorganize the defenders and take the ground, but not necessarily to win by killing. Men would often break and run from an attack of gleaming bayonets. Most, if not all, of the casualties would be caused by rifle fire, but in a sense the victory belonged to the bayonets.

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