March 7th, 2017, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Eastern Mass
Originally Posted by Samuel Seeley
(I'm just talking round numbers here - not trying to do an exact computation. Be gentle.)
Assume a man could fire a sustained three rounds per minute.
A Civil War regiment typically was formed with 1,000 men so that would mean one full regiment could fire 3,000 rounds per minute. So roughly equivalent to a .58 caliber mini-gun firing 500 grain bullets (over 200 pounds of lead going downrange each minute).
The XII Corps at Gettysburg had about 17,000 men present for duty there. So maybe they had only 10,000 combat soldiers on Culp's Hill (where the real fighting was - not Little Round Top). That would be 30,000 rounds per minute. According to after action reports Geary's 2nd division (the smallest of the three in XII corps) fired 227,000 rounds just on the 3rd day.
Multiply that by all of the Corps at Gettysburg, and add in artillery. And Confederate fire.
I was re-enacting at Gettysburg for the 135th anniversary in 1998. It was arguably the largest military re-enactment EVER for any time period, anywhere. Approximately 32,000 uniformed reenacts present.
On the third day Pickett's charge was larger than the original battle.
We were in the Union artillery line with about 50 other cannons and there were about 10,000 infantry about 50 yards ahead of us lying down in a line across the 1/2 mile width of the field.
The battle started with a 45 minute artillery duel. Not too bad. Not painful but a lot like the most intense thunderstorm you could imagine. When the Cornfeds got within about 1/4 mile the arty shut down the infantry formed two ranks and started firing. 10,000 muskets at 3-4 rounds per minute sounded like canvas treating or mini-guns going off.
All in all the noise level was intense but not painful. Live rounds are obviously much louder. IMO a re-enactment that size gives a reasonable clue as to what the real thing would have sounded like.