ORIGINAL CIVIL WAR .56 CALIBER BILLINGHURST REQUA
BATTERY GUN CARTRIDGE: Patented late in 1862,
the Billinghurst Requa Battery Gun was one of the many
innovations in firearms and artillery developed during
the Civil War. Utilizing fixed ammunition in the form
of brass case cartridges – an advancement in and of
themselves – loaded in piano-hinged steel strips, the
battery gun was capable of firing 25 rounds in a single
discharge, each through an individual barrel.
Employing a crew of three soldiers, and due to the fixed
metallic ammunition preloaded in the hinged strips, the
battery gun was capable repeated discharges with a short
cycle time, providing a significant amount of fire power
on the battlefield of the day. The barrels were
adjustable to increase or reduce the concentration of
fire on the impact area, and the battery of barrels
could be elevated or depressed as a group.
The Union Army purchased a small quantity of these guns
and they are recorded as being used in the siege of
Charleston, South Carolina, at Ft. Wagner, and to guard
the approaches to Washington D.C. There is some belief
that the Confederacy may have purchased a very small
number of these guns prior to the embargoes, but
definite records have not been found.
The .56 caliber cartridge features a brass rimmed case
with a pinhole in the base to allow the ignition to
reach the powder. This specimen is full form with no
dents, damage or other signs of abuse, the brass has a
nice patina and the lead bullet is full form.
Manufactured in relatively limited numbers when compared
to other Civil War ammunition, and rendered obsolete by
the firearm developments in the post war years, these
Billinghurst Requa cartridges have never been
particularly common, but they are an interesting
innovation to display with your Civil War cartridges.