1860 Union Repeating Gun or the Ager Coffee Mill Gun

Invented by Wilson Ager the Ager gun was Manufactured by Woodward  & Cox, N.Y. This single barrel rapid fire gun was mounted on a light artillery carriage and fired the standard issue .58 caliber paper cartridges.  The rounds were placed inside a steel cartridge case and hand primed by fixing a percussion cap to the rear of the casing.  The gun got its nickname "The Coffee Mill Gun" when it was demonstrated for President Lincoln in 1861 and he stated that it closely resembled the contemporary kitchen coffee grinder. In December, 1861 50 guns where ordered by the Army at $735 each. On March 29, 1862 the guns were first used in the Shenandoah Valley against the Confederate cavalry at Middleburg, VA. The Confederate cavalry was taken under fire at a range of 800 yards, suffered severe losses and forced to retreat. It was claimed that the Ager gun could fire 100 rounds per minute however the gun had a tendency to overheat during sustained fire. Spare barrels where provided to try to remedy the problem.  In 1865 the Ager gun was officially replaced with the adoption of the Gatling Gun.  Here is a video of our working model that we use at Civil War Events.

Known Battles in which the Ager gun was used:

  Middleburg

  Williamsburg

  Seven Pines or  Fair Oaks

  Yorktown

  Harpers Ferry

  Golding's Farm

  Harrison's Landing

  Warwick

  Petersburg

Known Units that had the Ager Gun

  96th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment

  28th Pennsylvania Regiment Volunteers

  49th Pennsylvania Regiment Volunteers

  56th New York Volunteers

 

References:  http://www.2ndcavalryreenactors.org/