The Civil War

Kamehameha Schools - The American Civil War Project

1st Bull Run
Virginia - July 21, 1861

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Battle of 1st Bull Run
Scientist Page

Environmental Conditions

Battles were not usually fought in the rain, or when it was snowing. The soldiers did not want their gun powder to get wet. So battles were normally fought when the sun was out. During the first Battle of Bull Run, the conditions were hot, in the low nineties, sunny, and probably humid. The conditions have not changed much since that July in 1861. The temperature is still around the eighties to nineties, and it is often very sunny and humid by Manassas in July.

 

Topograph Map of the Battle Movements

Map

The Union's movements during the battle are signified in blue.

The Confederates are seen in red.

 

Hand Grenades

Hand grenades were weapons of more advanced technology that had not yet been mastered during the time of the Civil War. They were normally ineffective because of their fuses, so the grenades were oftentimes tossed between lines until they exploded. Hand grenades were used by the Union during the siege of Vicksburg.

Federal Hand Grenades

The Federal, or Union Army, was more experimental with hand grenades than the Confederate Army. The Union grenades used wooden tails and paper flights, that look like streamers, to make sure that the grenade would hit on the nose where the impact fuse was located. The Ketcham Grenade was made of this design, with a flat, raised disk nose that when pushed in, would cause the grenade to explode. The Haynes Excelsior hand grenade was created in 1862. It came in two halves, which opened up to reveal an inner sphere that released the explosion. The grenade was was lined with spikes which had percussion caps on top that when hit sank in, causing a spark to light the ammunition.

Hand grenades

Left: Ketcham Grenades with wooden tail fins, Right: Haynes Excelsior Grenades.

 

Confederate Hand Grenades

The Confederate Army mainly stuck to the already tried and tested hand grenades. These were normally small, about six pounds, with a modified weapons shell. Some of the grenades were just a round about 2.5 inches in diameter with a paper fuse. They also stole some of the Union's ideas for hand grenades. The Rains Grenade was the same as the Ketcham Grenade except with a light cloth streamer and a modified head. The Adams Grenade was also similar, but for a paper streamer. There were also larger rampant grenades, which were rolled down hills. The grenades of this era were normally not dangerous to handle, due to ineffective fusing.

Hand grenades

Bottom: Rains Grenade with paper streamer, Left: Rains Grenade, Right: sphere hand grenade, Far right: Adams grenade.

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