- Historic Sites
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Invented by Richard J. Gatling of Indiana in 1861, the Gatling Gun was ironically designed for humanitarian reasons. Gatling was sickened by the large number of Union infantry casualties and set about creating a weapon that he believed would require fewer men on the battlefield.
Ahead of its time, the Gatling Gun at first suffered from gas leakage and ammunition feed problems and rifling problems. Although tested during May and July 1863 at the Washington Navy Yard, and approved by Rear Admiral John Dahlgren, Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, the Gatling Gun received a cool reception from the conservative Army ordnance establishment.
Rear Admiral David D. Porter obtained a few Gatlings, including this one, for his Mississippi Flotilla. Although its use in naval engagements is unknown, the gun was probably used during the last 18 months of the Civil War in river patrols against Confederate guerrillas.
The gun operated by placing a magazine in the feeder and turning the crank (both missing from this gun), which revolved the barrels and discharged the ammunition.
.58 Caliber. 200 rounds per minute.
Location:805 Kidder Breese Street SE,District of Columbia,Washington,20374