Civil War Firearms
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Long Arms

U.S. Rifle Model 1841 "Mississippi Rifle"

Eli Whitney of New Haven, Conn, made my Mississippi Rifle in 1851. It is one of the 8,879 Mississippi Rifles that was altered at Harpers Ferry or Springfield Armory between 1855 and 1860. The alteration consisted of reboring the barrel from .54 to .58 caliber, and replacing the ramrod with an all steel version without a brass tip. Although designed before the War with Mexico (1846-1848), it remained an effective long arm and was used by both North and South during the Civil War (1861-1865). As the war progressed; however, its use by the North declined as better weapons became available. The South faced a shortage of long arms, so they continued to use them throughout the war. (Flayderman reference number 5J-034.) Snapshot

 
U.S. Model 1861 Springfield Rifle-Musket
The M1861 Rifle-Musket was the most widely used long-arm during the American Civil War. Although tens of thousands were made, finding one today in excellent condition is quite difficult. The Springfield Arsenal made this particular firearm in 1861, the first year of the war. Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms states that Springfield muskets with 1861 locks bring a 25 percent premium. When I got it, it still had this .58 caliber mini-ball lodged in the barrel! The stock is stamped "JL Hutt." According to military records at Ancestory.com, this rifle-musket may have belonged to Jacob L. Hutt who served in the 4th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. I own an original Civil War bayonet for this musket. (Flayderman reference number 9A-313.) Snapshot
U.S. Model 1861 Colt Special Rifle-Musket
At the beginning of the Civil War, the U.S. Government signed contracts with several companies to produce M1861 Rifled Muskets patterned after the Springfield design (shown previously). Sam Colt agreed to provide the muskets, in addition to pistols he was already making for the Union Army. Upon delivery, government inspectors found that Colt had redesigned the firearm and now many parts were not interchangeable with Springfield-made muskets. The Colt Special Musket includes a number of improvements over the Springfield model. They include a better hammer contour, redesigned nipple bolster, and improved rifling. Colt made about 96,700 of these muskets for the Union Army during the war. The lock plate on my musket is marked U.S./Colt's PT F.A. MFG CO./Hartford CT. The lock and barrel are both stamped 1863. This historical firearm is in excellent condition. (Flayderman reference number 5B-255.) Snapshot
 
U.S. Model 1864 Springfield Rifle-Musket
In 2011, a man and his daughter found this musket hidden in the rafters of an old barn in Caroline County on the Maryland eastern shore. In the same barn they also discoverd a Civil War noncommissioned officer's sword wrapped in an old blanket. (Both items are now in my collection.) During the war, local men loyal to the Union joined Company E (Preston Section) of the 1st Regiment Eastern Shore Infantry. Because this type of sword was only carried by sergeants, it is likely that these items belonged to one of the six sergeants assigned to this unit. When found, the bore was blocked and there was damage near the muzzle. It appears that someone filed the area behind the front sight, possibly to remove a socket bayonet that had become stuck. To restore the gun to working condition, I replaced the damaged barrel with another original barrel. It is stamped 1863 and bears U.S. Government proof and acceptance marks (P, V, and an Eagle Head). I own an original Civil War bayonet for this musket. (Flayderman reference number 9A-341.) Snapshot
 
Enfield Pattern 1853 Rifle-Musket
The British pattern 1853 (P53) rifle-musket was the second most widely used infantry weapon during the Civil War. Most were carried by Confederate soldiers. It was the South's answer to the Union's highly effective .58 caliber Springfield. It is well made and accurate. The P53 in my collection was made in 1863 by Tower, a private arms facility in Birmingham, England. P53s made in 1863 are less common than those made in 1862 and 1861, respectively. By 1863, the North had increased their manufacturing capabilities and no longer needed so many imported arms, and the Union naval blockade of the South became more effective and therefore lowered the number of Enfields that the South was able to import. Snapshot

Carbines

U.S. Model 1860 Spencer Carbine
The Spencer carbine was one of the most popular firearms of the Civil War, though it was not issued until the end of 1863. The tubular magazine in the buttstock holds seven .56-56 rim fire cartridges. I contacted Roy M. Marcott, author of the book Spencer Repeating Firearms, and the Spencer firearms expert for Man at Arms Magazine. Mr. Marcott said there is no doubt that this carbine was used during the Civil War. He added that these prized repeating firearms were often issued to units and individuals who had distinguished themselves in combat. According to Mr. Marcott, they were simply too valuable not to put them into the hands of the best people. An examination of the Springfield Research Service database shows that the serial number of this carbine falls within the range of weapons issued to Company C, 7th Indiana Volunteer Cavalry. The 7th Indiana saw action during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Cedar Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. In 1864, they suffered heavy casualties at the Wilderness and participated in the Petersburg Campaign. (Flayderman reference number 9B-086.) Snapshot
 
U.S. Model 1863 Sharps Carbine
Union & confederate cavalry used the Sharps carbine extensively during the Civil War. According to the Springfield Research Service, this carbine bears a serial number that is likely associated with the 1st California Volunteer Cavalry. From 1863 to 1865, this unit escorted immigrant and government wagon trains in the Arizona Territory, Texas, New Mexico, and California. During November 1864, three companies from this regiment were attached to the 1st New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry under the command of Colonel Christopher (Kit) Carson. These elements fought the Apaches at the Battle of Adobe Walls. (Flayderman reference number 5F-029.) Snapshot
 
U.S. Model 1863 Burnside Carbine

This is the third most commonly used carbine by Union cavalry during the Civil War. It is a single-shot breach loader that fires an unusual cone-shaped .54 caliber cartridge. The round is placed in a rotating mechanism that moves it into the breach when the lever is closed. Based upon information from the Springfield Research Service, my carbine was likely issued to the 3rd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry in April 1864. The name "Evans" is hand engraved on the receiver below the serial number. I believe this refers to Pvt John D. Evans, Co. L, 3rd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. He was a wagon maker who joined the Union Army in August 1862 and remained in this regiment until the end of the war. In 1864, his unit participated in Sherman's Atlanta campaign, the Union assault on Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia, the Battles of Franklin and Nashville in Tennessee, the Siege of Atlanta, and operations against Confederate forces led by Nathan Bedford Forrest and John B. Hood. When President Teddy Roosevelt ordered U.S. arsenals to dispose of obsolete Civil War weapons in 1901, the Burnside carbine sold for 3 to 8 cents each. Today, a Burnside carbine in good condition brings $2,000 and up. (Flayderman reference number 9B-046.) Snapshot

Sidearms

Colt Model 1849 Pocket Pistol
The Model 1849 Colt Pocket Pistol was extensively used during the Civil War and the post-war period. Its small size made it a handy defensive weapon for soldiers, miners, and gamblers. The cylinder of the Model 1849 Colt Pocket Pistol is engraved with the scene of a famous stage coach robbery. This pistol's 4 inch barrel is imprinted with the Colt New York address. It has the early Type 1 brass trigger guard and back strap. The grips are vintage with over 90% of their original finish. The action is tight and in good working order. All serial numbers match. (Flayderman reference number 5B-042.) Snapshot
 
Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver

The 1851 Navy revolver was one of the most popular sidearms during the Civil War. The term "Navy" was used to indicate .36-caliber, rather than the .44-caliber required by the Army. Despite its name, it was carried by both Army and Navy personnel. Officers on both sides were required to purchase their own uniforms and weapons, and many elected to arm themselves with the Model 1851 Colt revolver. According to the Colt Factory Letter, my pistol was shipped from the Colt factory to J. P. Moores & Sons on October 16th, 1861. This NYC firm was closely allied with COL Sam Colt and sold large quantities of his firearms to the Union Army during the Civil War. (Flayderman reference number 5B-053.) Snapshot

 
Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver

During the Civil War, the .44 caliber Colt Model 1860 Army revolver was carried by officers and cavalry soldiers on both sides. According to the Colt Factory Letter, it was shipped on January 17th, 1863, to the U.S. Government Arsenal on Governor's Island, NY. From there, records of the Springfield Research Service indicate it was likely issued to Company G, 2nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry, 59th Regiment Volunteers. This unit saw action at Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Chancellorsville, Petersburg, and was at Appomattox when Robert E. Lee surrendered to U.S. Grant. Each side of the vintage one-piece black walnut stock bears the inspection and approval cartouche of a government inspector. All serial numbers match, except for the barrel wedge which is not marked. This historic handgun is accompanied by an original Colt .44 caliber bullet mold and a vintage tin of Eley percussion caps. (Flayderman reference number 5B-092.) Snapshot

 
Remington New Model Army Revolver
The .44 caliber Remington New Model Army revolver was the second most widely issued Union handgun during the Civil War. It was the chief competitor to the Colt Model 1860 Army. Many preferred it over the Colt because of its sturdy frame, better sight, and easier means of changing cylinders. My Remington Revolver was made in 1863. The Springfield Research Service lists a pistol in the same serial number range (less than 100 off) that was issued to the 118th Illinois Volunteer Mounted Infantry. This unit participated in the Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs and the siege of Vicksburg. The barrel is marked "Patented Sept. 14, 1858/E. Remington & Sons, Ilion, New York, U.S.A./New Model." (Flayderman reference number 5E-015.) Snapshot

Double-Barrel Shotgun

Double Barrel Percussion Shotgun (Circa 1860)
I believe this double-barrel muzzle-loading shotgun was built in the U.S. about 1860. The rear-action percussion locks are marked "G. Goulcher," the same American lock maker who made the lock on the half stock Kentucky sporting rifle shown earlier. The underside of the barrels is marked Drisket & Waroux. This Belgian company made shotgun barrels from 1856 to 1872. This type of shotgun was more than a casual arm during the Civil War, especially with Confederate outfits. Some southern units were armed principally with double-barrel shotguns. Many emigrants on the western plains also carried shotguns for protection and hunting. Although 140 years old, this shotgun is in remarkably good condition and remains in working order. (Flayderman reference number 17-025.) Snapshot

Reproductions & Commemoratives

Model 1860 Henry Repeating Rifle
Uberti made this excellent copy of the Model 1860 Henry Rifle. It has been aged to look like an original Henry. The octangular barrel and lever have been browned, the brass receiver left unpolished, and the walnut stock stressed and darkened. It is chambered in .44-40. During the Civil War, a Confederate officer referred to the Henry as "that damn Yankee rifle you could load on Sunday and shoot all week long." While a regulation rifled-musket could fire three rounds per minute, the Henry could fire an astounding 24 rounds in the same time. This was due to the successful use of metallic cartridges, a tubular magazine below the barrel, and a lever-action that cocks the weapon before chambering a new round. The Union Army purchased about 1,700 Henry rifles during the Civil War. After the war, these rifles played a significant role in taming the American West. Snapshot
 
Colt Civil War Centennial Commemoratives
Colt made this pair of .22 caliber pistols in 1961 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the American Civil War. They are less than 1/2 the size of an actual M1860 Colt revolver. They are single shot and the cyclinder must be removed to reload. My father gave these pistols to my brother and me when we were young boys. They have consecutive serial numbers. Snapshot


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