CONFEDERATE ORDNANCE CLEANED AND REPAIRED (C&R) US M1861 BRIDESBURG DATED 1863

$3,250.00

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Item Code: 490-2428

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This M1861 rifle musket recently came out of North Carolina. Stock markings and at least one barrel band show it to have been captured and reissued by Confederate ordnance authorities. Some minor postwar alterations show it saw civilian use as well, perhaps by a Confederate soldier who took it home. The lockplate bears an 1863 date and U.S. Bridesburg maker stamp with eagle. The Bridesburg Machine Works, also referred to as Alfred Jenks and Son, was run by Barton Jenks of Philadelphia and was one of the more productive and successful U.S. contractors for longarms, delivering more than 92,000 rifle muskets during the war (most of the Model 1861 configuration,) with deliveries starting in August 1862.

The hammer and lock plate were cleaned and are now bright with some scattered dusty brown, the lock showing smooth metal toward the back and pitting under the bolster and forward that matches the pitting on the bolster and breech flat near the nipple from firing. The barrel date remains partially visible and reads 1863, matching the lock. The wood has good color and surface, and has a tight fit to the metal. The edges around the lock are very good at the rear and show just slight rounding from handling forward of the lock and on the left flat. There are scattered handling marks, but the stock overall is very good. Some faint lines on the side flat might borders of cartouches. The buttstock is very good. The buttplate and breechplug tang fit tightly, as does the base of the barrel. The barrel shows V/P/[eagle head] proofs and a “JM” subinspector stamp on the left side flat. The sights are in place. The rear sight is the correct 1861 pattern and shows some faded blue. The leaves are in place. The barrel is pitted aft of the rear sight, but is smooth forward, showing a steel gray with a thin dusting of brown at the edges Ramrod, bands and springs are in place.

The rod, springs and bands are in place. The upper and lower bands are typical U.S. manufacture, but the middle band shows the characteristically offset directional “U” of southern made arms, particularly Richmonds, and a small “x” on the lower edge. More significantly, the underside of the stock forward of the triggerguard is deeply struck with a “D” and a “Z,” the latter of which is associated with Captain Louis Zimmer, who supervised Confederate Ordnance cleaning and repair operations at Richmond from late 1864 to early 1865. The “D” is not recorded in Knot’s book (“Captured and Collected” Confederate Reissued Firearms,) but it has the same form as the A, Q, T, and F that have been recorded along with Zimmer’s “Z” mark and is certainly also a C.S. inspector.

Confederate ordnance teams and civilians collected some 200,000 firearms, along with perhaps another 50,000 turned in by CS units, that went through the cleaning and repair system of the Confederate Ordnance Department before inspection and reissue. Most of these guns came from eastern battlefields that Confederate victories left accessible and the repair work was concentrated at facilities at Danville, Staunton, Lynchburg, and Richmond.

Two elements suggest the rifle had a civilian life as well. First, the sling swivels have been professionally removed from the middle band and the triggerguard, which would not be acceptable on a military arm. Secondly, a decorative brass escutcheon, a pointed oval in shape, has been inlet in the top of the wrist. Neither detracts much: guns were too useful around the farm and for hunting. The cleaning of the lockplate and the hammer are likely more recent, as is the clean-out screw. The barrel may have been lightly cleaned, but is toning back down.

This rifle saw service on both sides during the war and merits a place in a  Confederate collection. Only recently has scholarship caught up on these arms and enabled collectors to read the clues they carry. They testify not only to the South’s desperate need for arms, but to its resourcefulness and organization in obtaining them. [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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