CONFEDERATE USED 1862 DATED ENFIELD P53 RIFLE MUSKET WITH ENGRAVED C.S. CONTROL NUMBERS

$3,995.00

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Item Code: G3873

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This is a quintessential example of a British P53 Rifle Musket exported to the Confederacy by running the Federal blockade that has very legible CS control numbers on the buttplate tang and signs of real field use as well. For the first twelve or fourteen months of the war, Confederate agents in Britain acting for the central CS government, and for Georgia and South Carolina, numbered guns headed through the blockade, a practice eventually dropped because it created bottlenecks in the supply chain. On rifle muskets the usual practice was to engrave these “control numbers” on the brass buttplate tang (we pass over Barnett’s use of stamped numbers on the butt plate and other numbering on iron mounted guns.) The guns were numbered from 1 to 10,000, with subsequent numbers starting over, but containing a suffix letter for each additional ten thousand. This one bears the number “6506” over an “A,” indicating it was gun number 6506 in the second ten thousand rifle muskets. (The numbering seems to have been specific to the model of firearm.) For details, we highly recommend The English Connection and The Confederate Enfield.

This is a standard British Pattern 1853 Rifle Musket, made in Birmingham, and supplied to the Confederacy is such large numbers that it is a more typical Confederate weapon than any made in a southern state. The lockplate shows very well and is crisply marked at the rear with a British crown and forward of the hammer with “Tower / 1862,” with an engraved double border line. Hammer and plate have a deep, smoky pewter gray, though some of it may have been touched up. The bore is untouched, dark and shows some pitting, but also rifling. The exterior wood is likewise untouched. The stock has a good, warm brown color, with no breaks or cracks, but does show some lighter spots and handling marks. It also has some wear spots along the ramrod channel indicating the rod has been drawn and returned many times which, like some burnout behind the bolster and corrosion near the nipple, indicates the gun has seen action.

The brass mounts have a matching dark patina. The bottom of the buttplate shows numerous dings from having been placed on the ground. The barrel shows some firing corrosion around the nipple from percussion caps and was obviously buffed and colored at some point, but did not lose any detail. The Birmingham barrel proofs at left breech are clear: the “BP” Birmingham provisional proof, 25 bore provisional bore mark, Birmingham view mark, final 25-bore mark, and Birmingham Proof House mark. The rear sight has been replaced. (These were sweated on and not screw fastened as on US arms and thus are frequently missing.) The sight on it is completely correct, but the color is slightly darker than the rest of the metal. The mechanics of the gun are fine. The rod, bands and swivels are all in place. The screw head are good. Only the one on the breechplug tang shows any sign of turning.

The right butt flat also carries some carved initials that likely belonged to the Confederate soldier who carried it: “BNA,” reading toward the buttplate. Unfortunately, while only eight or so Confederate soldiers show up using those three initials, several hundred more show up with those first and last initials, but with no middle initial specified in the records. A letter “D” is also lightly carved in the stock, facing in the other direction. Even if we took this as a company letter, however, it would not significantly narrow down the list of candidates. We also find a name lightly carved in block letters on the underside of the stock just forward of the triggerguard tang reading, “HAPPE.” Given that government records may well have transcribed the name as “Hoppe,” we have not tried to establish an identification based on it either.

This is a good example of a recognizably Confederate imported Enfield with unambiguous and very legible engraved CS control numbers. Someone replaced a missing sight and cleaned and toned down the surface of the barrel, but the gun generally appears as it came off the field. It is also worth noting that in The Confederate Enfield Knott illustrates a P53 buttplate tang numbered “6672A,” little more than a hundred and fifty numbers removed from this example.  [sr]

DISCLAIMER: All firearms are sold as collector's items only - we do not accept responsibility as to the shooting safety or reliability of any antique firearm. All firearms are described as accurately as possible, given the restraints of a catalog listing length. We want satisfied customers & often "under" describe the weapons. Any city or state regulations regarding owning antique firearms are the responsibility of the purchaser. All firearms are "mechanically perfect" unless noted, but again, are NOT warranted as safe to fire!

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