Rifleman Q&A: An Auger Gun In The Civil War?

posted on June 6, 2021
Q A 2K0406 Lead Auger
The “Ager Gun” was designed by Wilson Ager and was termed the “Ager's Coffee Mill Gun.”

Q. I have heard of a Civil War gun called the “Auger.” Do you have information on that gun? I would like to know how it works and where it was used.

A. The “Ager Gun” was designed by Wilson Ager and was termed the “Ager’s Coffee Mill Gun.” It is sometimes mistaken for the much more famous Gatling gun. Like the Gatling, the Auger was operated by a hand crank and fed the cartridges from a hopper located above the barrel. It differed primarily from the Gatling in that it had multiple chambers but a single barrel.

Several Union units utilized these guns including the 56th New York Volunteers. The Ager Guns were first used in combat at Lee’s Mill during the Warwick-Yorktown siege. As compared to the Gatling, the Ager did not see widespread later use. It was dropped from service at the end of the war.

—Bruce N. Canfield


This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the June 2004 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, "Questions & Answers" was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Evan P. Marshall, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, A.W.F. Taylerson, John M. Taylor and John Treakle.

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