- Category: Museum Artifacts
The Gatling gun was designed and patented in 1861 by Dr. Richard Gatling, who intended to make the war so terrible it would end quickly. But the gun was used very little in the Civil War.
This is a .45 caliber long Gatling gun of 1875. It used a four man crew, has ten barrels and could shoot up to 350 rounds per minute, controlled by the speed of the gunner turning the crank. The clip held approximately 30 rounds. Originally on an 1883 brass naval ship mount, today it sits on a reproduction Army carriage.
The Army gun and Naval mount were originally purchased by the Wilmington Cemetery Association and mounted in the Wilmington Cemetery in 1924. While in the cemetery, someone tried to load and fire the gun; a .32 caliber bullet became lodged the wrong way in one of the barrels. Vandals cut the gun from its cement foundation and it disappeared in 1962…until seven years later, when it was found dismantled, in a San Pedro dump! It was turned over to the police, who contacted the Society for the Preservation of Drum Barracks and the Wilmington Cemetery and it was identified as the missing gun by the .32 bullet still stuck in one of the barrels. It was kept in the basement of the Banning House, restored in the 1970s, and donated to the Society for Preservation of Drum Barracks. It has been on display since the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum opened in 1987.