The Enfield Pattern 1853 was a .58 caliber Minié-type muzzle-loading rifled musket, used by the British Empire from 1853 to 1867. Manufactured in England, 900,000 were used by the South during the Civil War.

The Enfield had an accuracy range of 200 to 300 yards, but expert marksmen used them on targets up to 500 yards away. When the Enfield was introduced by the British Army in 1858, it replaced the Brown Bess musket, which was only accurate to 50 yards. The vastly increased killing power of infantry weapons was devastating in the Civil War, especially at the beginning of the War, when most generals still favored large volleys at close range. Their damage was made even more devastating by the Minie ball, which flattened out to three times its width when it hit flesh, leaving gaping wounds and shattered bones.

The Enfield rifle-musket was also one of the causes of the Indian Rebellion. In Colonial India, in 1857, 300,000 Hindu Sepoys in the British East India Company’s armies in India were issued the new rifle. Loading the rifle required required soldiers to tear open the prepared, greased cartridge, pour the gunpowder down the barrel, and ram the cartridge (which included the bullet) down the barrel with ram-rod.

Insurrection against British rule was brewing 1857, and rebels and religious leaders opposed to British Colonial Rule flamed the rumor that the cartridges were lubricated with beef tallow. The Indian Army was comprised almost completely of Hindus, who believed cattle were deities, and that beef tallow on their lips would cause them to lose caste. Convinced the British were trying to damn their eternal souls, the soldiers rebelled and slaughtered their British masters at forts all over India. There were months of massacres, wide spread murder, mutilation and torture, and retribution and reprisals from both sides. At least 200,000 people died.





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