Having started the war with no arms industry, the Confederates quickly began to import weapons from abroad. Indeed, throughout the war, foreign gunmakers, especially in England, supplied large numbers of weapons and some 400,000 Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle-Muskets are known to have been purchased in England by agents of the Confederate Ordnance Department (the Federal government purchased some 500,00 of the same weapon) Other models were imported in smaller quantities and saw limited use. In fact, despite the blockade, the importation of arms had been so successful that at the war's end there were more than enough guns, the problem was that there were )ust too few men to carry them. Tens of thousands of Confederate longarms were sold as surplus after the war or else recast in foundries to produce such things as farming implements, in a rerun of the Biblical concept of "swords-into-ploughshares."
The British "Enfield" (1) had two claims to fame, the first of which was that it was used in vast numbers in the Civil War. The other was that it was the inadvertent cause of the Indian Mutiny, as the shooter had to bite the cartridge and then pour the powder it contained down the barrel, and disaffected elements in India claimed that the cartridge was coated in a mixture which included pigs' fat.
The "Brunswick" muzzle-loading, percussion rifle (6) was, in fact, an official British pattern, with a 0.704in caliber (17.88mm). In tests it demonstrated an ability to place the majority of its rounds into a 2ft (610mm) target at 200yd (183m). Note the backsight which was lowered for 200yd and raised (as here) for 300yd (274m) Finally, the Whitworth rifle (10) has one of the earliest examples of a telescopic sight and was clearly used by a marksman.
1 British Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle-musket
2 Belgian Pattern 1842 Short rifle
British Pattern 1853 Enfield Short rifle
Saber bayonet for item 3
Kerr's Patent Rifle, British
British Brunswick Rifle
British Pattern water bottle (canteen)
Cartridge box for British Pattern 1853
rifle-musket and short rifle
British Whitworth Patent Rifle with telescopic sight
The Confederate Ordnance Department encouraged private contractors to supply arms, although most of their efforts at manufacture were unsuccessful. The output of those contractors who did succeed remained pitifully small, in some cases less than 1,000 pieces. The fighting knives are shown here, because with a musket, if the round was fired and the enemy was close at hand, then the issue had to be decided by "cold steel" (i.e., bayonets and knives).
Palmetto Armory, Model 1842 smoothbore musket with bayonet fixed in place and with ramrod in the stowed position
D-guard side knife complete with protective scabbard Dickson, Nelson and Company muzzle-loading rifle with ramrod in stowed position
Davis and Bozeman muzzle-loading rifle with ramrod in stowed position D-guard side knife complete with protective scabbard Tin drum canteen
Later design of Fayetteville muzzle-loading nfle with ramrod in stowed position Unidentified muzzle-loading rifle with ramrod in stowed position Waist belt complete with oval brass CS plate affixed
10 Mendenhall, Jones and Gardner muzzle-loading rifle with ramrod in stowed position and, shoulder strap
11 British Lancaster saber bayonet for item 10
12 Scabbard for item 11
Artifacts courtosy of Virginia Historical Soaoty, R-chmond. Va
Considering the almost total absence of manufacturing facilities in the South at the start of the war, it is a minor miracle that Southern industry was able to produce weapons at all. The diverse surviving examples are testimony to the efforts made in this direction. Not only did Confederate Ordnance supply newly made arms, but also a great many obsolete flintlocks altered to the percussion system (2) and (11).
1 Morse smoothbore muzzle-loading musket, with bayonet fixed in place and with ramrod stowed
2 State of Georgia smoothbore muzzle-loading alteration musket (i.e., original flintlock converted to percussion), complete with bayonet and ramrod
3 Bayonet for item 2
4 J. P Murray muzzle-loading rifle with ramrod in stowed position
5 Boyle, Gamble and MacFee "bowie" bayonet, complete with protective scabbard
6 Cartridge box with embossed State of Georgia seal plate as used by
Confederate foot soldiers
8 Muzzle ramrod for item 7
9 Pulaski muzzle-loading rifle with ramrod in stowed position
10 W J McElroy knife, complete with protective scabbard
11 H C. Lamb muzzle-loading rifle with ramrod in stowed position
12 Late design of Read and Watson muzzle-loading rifle with ramrod in stowed position
The Richmond Arsenal/Armory was the largest producer of longarms for the Confederacy (1) and (14). The Fayetteville Armory, North Carolina (3), and Cook and Brother (9), based in Athens, Georgia, were the largest private arms manufacturers in the Confederacy; they also produced comparatively large numbers of arms. The great bulk of Confederate accouterments were unmarked copies of existing Union materiel, and as a result Confederate accouterments marked as either "CS" or "CSA"
are particularly desirable to modern-day collectors.
1 Early type Richmond Armory muzzle-loading rifle-musket, with ramrod and shoulder strap
2 Raleigh Bayonet Factory socket bayonet, complete with protective scabbard
3 Fayetteville muzzle-loading rifle, early type with ramrod
4 Fayetteville saber bayonet
5 CS embossed cap box
6 CS embossed cartridge box complete with carrying strap
•l'f.'aers courtesy ot fli;ss A Pnrcnaitl Collection
7 Cartridge box, cap box and waist belt
8 Read and Watson muzzle-loading rifle; early type complete with ramrod
9 Cook and Brother muzzle-loading rifle, complete with ramrod
10 CS embossed cap box
11 Georgia Armory saber bayonet housed in scabbard
1? CS embossed cartridge box
13 CS embossed tin drum water canteen with shoulder strap
14 Richmond Armory muzzle-loading rifle-musket; late type
15 Waist belt with brass oval CS belt plate
16 Waist belt with brass frame buckle
17 Waist belt with brass rectangular CSA belt plate
This collection shows swords of Union origin used by Confederate troops Enormous quantities of Union material were captured in Federal arsenals in the Southern states at the beginning of the war and this was supplemented by other substantial captures in the major engagements in 1861 and 1862. Probably the most popular edged weapon of all among Rebel forces was the U.S. Model 1860 cavalry saber, as shown by the many extant specimens in today's major collections.
Model 1849 design of cavalry saber, incorporating three-bar style of hand guard and housed in protective scabbard Typical design of U S officer's sword belt, complete with straps and buckles for attachment to the sword's scabbard
Model 1812 design of Starr saber with simple stirrup style of hand guard Model 1860 design of cavalry saber with variation in style of three-bar hand guard and complete with protective scabbard Model 1850 design of infantry
officer's sword with decorative pommel and hand guard, and complete with protective scabbard 6 Relic of Model 1860 design of cavalry saber housed in protective scabbard Hilt, grip and hand guard are missing, exposing the tang. Featured on the scabbard is a partly obscured inscription that may refer to a military unit; it appears to read "15th .. th. loved the flashing of swords that struggled to be free."
Atufacis coi/nesy of Huss A Pntchard Collection
Atufacis coi/nesy of Huss A Pntchard Collection
The weapons seen here were all made within the Confederacy and items (1) to (5) are both of unsophisticated manufacture and of possibly limited value in a hand-to-hand engagement. The short sword (6) would not have looked out of
Unmarked and still unidentified design of cavalry saber Type of saber design as manufactured by the Nashville Plow Works. Nashville, Tennessee Features distinctive style of grip guard Unmarked and unidentified cavalry saber complete with a wooden scabbard
Unsophisticated style of short sword as used by members of Foot Artillery forces with the Confederacy Sword is complete with a wooden scabbard place being wielded by a Roman I centurion at the time of Julius Caesar. I
Cavalry saber of unmarked and unidentified design Unidentified cavalry saber complete with a scabbard made of sheet copper
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