IDENTIFIED, SCARCE FIRST MODEL MAYNARD CARBINE CARRIED BY A TROOPER IN CONFEDERATE GENERAL J.E.B. STUART’S VIRGINIA CAVALRY

$7,950.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 526-82

Presented here in fine original condition is a First Model Maynard carbine identified to a trooper in the Confederate 1st Virginia Cavalry, Levi Leopold. German-born Levi Leopold, a thirty-three year old family man with a wife and two children was a merchant in Amelia Court House, VA when he enlisted as a Private in Captain S. S. Weisiger’s local cavalry company on 5 Sep 1861 for a period of one year. The company was later designated Company “G”, 1st Virginia Cavalry and Leopold served in it from the First Battle of Manassas until he was detached to the CS Commisary Dept from March 1863. Private Leopold was captured in action near Yancyville in Louisa County, VA on May 3 1863 and was paroled at Old Capital Prison in Washington DC later in the month. He returned home on May 27 and was hospitalized with ‘varicose veins’ at General Hospital # 9 at Chimborazo. Leopold returned to active duty on January 6, 1864 and rejoined Company “G” and served in the field until the close of the war. The hard fighting First VA Cavalry participated in more than 200 engagements in the war and was one of the very few rebel cavalry units that cut through the Federal lines at Appomattox in April 1865. Levi Leopold returned home to his family and his business after the war. He died in Richmond on November 15, 1897.

The well-favored, single-shot, breech-loading early Maynard carbine used a .50 caliber metallic cartridge and was the invention of New Jersey doctor Edward Maynard who patented his first model carbine in 1851. In 1857, the US government contracted 400 first model carbines and though many more were used, no other official government contracts are recorded. Produced in 1858 and 1859, total estimates of the early models range to the 5,000 count and utilized the Maynard tape priming system for ignition. Early Maynard carbines were listed in the Confederate Ordnance manuals as an official weapon but no such carbines were ever known to be produced in the south, unlike some of the cartridges used in the carbine.

The percussion weapon measures 36½” long, weighs 6 pounds with a black walnut stock but no forend. The round, 20” long, three-groove barrel includes a 5” long octagonal section at the breech. Barrel exhibits some slight movement / wear at the receiver hinge. A standard 3 3/16” long, folding tang rear sight with an open rear sight and a brass blade front sight. Walnut stock is untouched and wears a dark, pleasing patina overall. The heavy robust iron buttplate accommodates an iron patchbox that is stamped “MAYNARD PATENTEE / SEPT 22, 1845 / MAY 27, 1851 / JUNE 17, 1856” in four lines. Stamping overall is thin but readable. All gunmetal wears a dark, plum patina and retains no original case hardening. Frame is stamped “MAYNARD ARMS CO. / WASHINGTON” in two lines on the right side and marked “MANUFACTURED BY / MASS. ARMS CO., / CHICOPEE FALLS”. All stampings clear and sharp. Serial number 4621 found inside the Maynard tape primer door.

The Maynard proved a lightweight, very serviceable and dependable carbine that saw extensive service in the field on both North and South cavalry units. When initially found, there was no soldier identification affiliated with this carbine but once the stock was lightly cleaned, dates, letters and initials surfaced to reveal the identity to Levi Leopold. Visible on the right side of stock in front of the patchbox are the light handcarved markings that read “1861”. Inches away are the letters “Va” and the initials “L L” carved into the wood directly behind the receiver frame. Extensive Confederate records research in the National Archives in Washington DC by professional researcher Vonnie Zullo revealed the identity of engravings as Levi Leopold in the 1st Virginia Cavalry regiment.

The handsome, black walnut stock exhibits the strong ‘feathering’ effect but no government cartouches or sub-inspector stampings are found. Dings and dents are at a minimum. Weapon has no sling bar with saddle ring. Carbine exhibits still crisp mechanics and all screws are very good and not buggered up. Extremely rare, this early First Model Maynard carbine is a super fine representative of an identified, war-dated, Confederate cavalry arm of the Civil War.

Leopold’s weapon is accompanied with all his available CS military compiled service records from the National Archives in Washington DC. This Maynard carbine is a fine identified collectible from one of J.E.B. Stuart’s own cavalrymen.   [ra]

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