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Richard Gatling - The Gatling Gun

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Richard Jordan Gatling was born in January 1818 in Winton North Carolina, and died at the age of 85 in 1903. Gatling's career as an inventor began when he assisted his father in the construction of machines for sowing cottonseeds, and also for thinning cotton plants. He spent a lot of time in the fields with his father who helped him build some of his inventions. Richard Jordan Gatling was a medical doctor with numerous patents for his farm equipment inventions.

To his credit he came up with the famous 1862-model Revolving Battery Gun, that is now referred to as the Gatling gun. The 1862-model was one of the first reliable Revolving guns, but still had a few problems that needed to be fixed. Richard was not the first to manufacture a multi-fire weapon, but his was the first multi-fire gun used in war because of its fast, rapid fire, and ease to use. Major General Ben F. Butler purchased 12, 1862-model gatling guns for $1000 each and used them successfully at the battle of Petersburg in 1863. In 1865 Gatling's improved model, the 1865-gun was tested by the Ordnance Department. One of the changes between the improved Gatling gun and the old one, was that the new

weapon used rim fire copper-cased cartridges instead of the steel-chambered paper kind. Though this model did not see service, it was adopted officially in 1866. The military was so pleased with the performance of the Gatling gun that it has been used in every battle since it was invented to this day and has been continuously upgraded and improved. Having received government approval, Gatling began to sell his guns throughout the world. This was a big mark in Richards's future, he had gone from working in the fields to developing a gun that is used throughout the military of the world.

The gun was a hand-crank-operated weapon with six barrels revolving around a central shaft. Having a gun that revolves was very difficult because the barrels would not always line up correctly when being fired. The original gun was actually designed to fire the standard military issue paper cartridge of the day, .58 caliber. A .58 caliber bullet has a diameter of an inch and is capable of damaging anything it hits. The paper



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