For a time, the lever-action long gun settled the issue of repeat-fire performance for the standard army infantryman. Such breech-loaded weapons were used to good effect during the American Civil War (1861-1865) where there still proved a reliance on single- and double-shot, breech-loading types. In many of the lever-action designs, the reloading function was settled by management of a lever at the trigger area which cleared the firing chamber of spent casings and introduced a fresh cartridge. A tube magazine supplied a near-constant supply of ammunition for the gun. Some of the more famous lever-action rifles emerged from Winchester factories during the mid-to-late 1800s.
Another entry into the lever-action category became the E.G. Lamson Ball Lever-Action Carbine. They were wholly conventional in appearance as lever-actions of the period went - double-banded, two-piece wooden (walnut) stocks, iron sights, tubular magazine (seated under the barrel assembly) and a lever that doubled as the trigger guard. The carbine was chambered in .50 and fired the .56-50 Spencer rimfire cartridge, a self-contained cartridge which was leaps ahead of the old cap-and-ball system. Overall length measured 37 inches with a 20 inch barrel assembly.
The result was a fine lever-action carbine suitable for scouts, sharpshooters, infantrymen and mounted troops - just compact enough to take into close-quarters battle but long enough to reach out to targets at range. The cartridge provided good man-stopping power and range and seven were carried, ready-to-fire, in the tubular magazine. The guns arrived in 1864 and interested the Union Army enough for an order to be secured for 1,000 carbines. These arrived in May of 1865 - though the War Between the States ended in April of that year making the Ball lever-Action Carbine something of a rarity in circulation.
Design is attributed to Albert Ball of Worcester, Massachusetts and manufactured by Lamson & Company of Windsor, Vermont.