US MODEL 1855 HARPERS FERRY RIFLE MUSKET FOUND AT SPANGLER’S SPRING – ROSENSTEEL COLLECTION

$6,950.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 899-03

This Harpers Ferry Rifle Musket was part of George Rosensteel’s Civil War National Museum; later the museum incorporated the Electric Map. While inheriting his Uncle John Rosensteel’s Round Top Museum collection, George would over the next several decades add many locally found artifacts to this growing museum.

In 1971 George Rosensteel sold the building to the Federal Government and donated over 89,000 artifacts which make up the bulk of the National Park Service collection today. Prior to this time, material was removed from the museum collection and added to the private Rosensteel family collection of George and Emily Rosensteel, including this US Model 1855 Harpers Ferry Rifle Musket. Upon the death of George and Emily in the mid-1990’s, the collection passed to their daughter Angela Rosensteel Eckert and her husband Larry Eckert. In 1972 Mr. Eckert became the curator of the Rosensteel Collection owned by the National Park Service, a position he held until retirement in 1992.

In the summer of 1984 this musket was sold by an Eckert family member to a local gun dealer, a Mr. Ross Kircher, who operated a shop at 105 East Middle St. in Gettysburg, buying and selling military antiques. It was during this time that the tag stating that this firearm was found in Spangler’s Spring at Gettysburg was lost. Ownership would pass to a private collector in Orange, VA and remained in his possession for the next 34 years until The Horse Soldier handled the collection in 2018.

This firearm, an untouched US Model 1855 Harpers Ferry Rifle Musket, shows evidence of being a Confederate used firearm. A Confederate arsenal blacksmith-made ramrod replaces the standard Model 1855 ramrod. The rear sight leaf has been removed along with the Maynard tape primer door on the lockplate. A documented US Model 1855 Harpers Ferry Rifle identified to a Mississippi soldier killed in action in Barksdale’s Charge on July 2, 1863 exists in a private collection. Research at the US Army Heritage and Education Center uncovered a document from this soldier’s commanding officer. In the letter the officer states, “We received the Model 1855 Harpers Ferry Rifle Muskets. The men are shooting ‘high’. With the rear sight removed the men are shooting dead on. They also removed the door on the lockplate.” Sans middle barrel band.

All metal furniture has a dark olive patina. Lockplate markings forward of the hammer, “US / Harper’s Ferry”; “1860” behind hammer. Breech markings not visible due to the dark patina and pitting. The walnut stock has a dingle US government cartouche. Carved into the stock is, “W.F SS”, which could be the owner’s initials or a company nickname. Wood loss around the iron buttplate due to being outside in the elements for a period of time; no doubt an early Gettysburg pick up.

A nice Harpers Ferry musket found at Spangler’s Spring shortly after the battle and displayed for many years at the “Electric Map Museum” and in the Eckert home for many years.  [ws]

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