ORIGINAL CIVIL WAR MERRILL CARBINE ID'D TO 18TH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY

$3,250.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 600-07

This original breech-loading cavalry carbine is one of only some 14,500 weapons produced by H. Merrill of Baltimore, MD.

This weapon is a very good example of the First Type Merrill carbine. It is a 54 caliber, single shot, percussion breechloader as used in the Civil War. It exhibits all brass furniture including the brass patchbox, triggerguard and a single barrel band.  The weapon carries serial #5971 on the lockplate behind the hammer and #6602 on the sliding breech tang.

Carbine has a 22 1/8” long, round barrel that shows light to moderate mottling over its length.  All gunmetal shows no original case colors or bluing. Barrel bore is dark and dirty and may have some light scattered pitting.

Carbine was loaded by pulling back the sliding lock on the top breech lever, then lifting and pulling up the lever and inserting the cartridge.   Top flat of the breech lever is marked with “J.H. MERRILL BALTO. / PAT. JULY 1858.” Atop the barrel is the double leaf rear sight. Marked on the iron lockplate forward of the hammer is the three-line address of “J.H. MERRILL BALTO. / PAT. JULY 1858 / APL. 9 MAY 21-28-61.”

Carbine features a dark walnut stock with no visible cartouche and has some small dings and dents consistent with age and use. Iron sling bar and ring are strong and tight to the stock flat.  Patchbox, triggerguard, buttplate and barrel band all wear a rich, bronze patina with scattered dark oxidation spots. Patchbox face bears the lightly scratched initials of “J.H. S.”

Mechanics are crisp and strong.  Original screws good and just slightly buggered.

This early 1st Model Merrill carbine is a scarce specimen of a cavalry arm used by numerous Federal horse regiments during the Civil War. This particular weapon is identified to James H. Shoemaker of Company B, 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry. This is attested to by an early 20th Century label attached to the weapon and the initials scratched into the patchbox.

James H. Shoemaker enlisted as a Private in Company B, 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry on September 19, 1862 in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. At the time of his enlistment he was 20 years old.

The regiment was assigned to the 22nd Corps and the defenses of Washington until June of 1863 when it joined the Army of the Potomac. The regiment saw its first action in the Gettysburg Campaign. Just after that campaign Private Shoemaker was sent to a camp for dismounted troopers but was back with his regiment in November. He took part in the skirmishes and battles near the Wilderness and Spotsylvania before becoming ill and entering the hospital. He did not return to duty until April of 1865.

He was admitted to Hampton General Hospital at Fort Monroe, Virginia on June 19, 1864 being diagnosed with secondary syphilis. He was transferred to New York and then to Knights General Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. On August 7, 1864 he was moved to Haddington General Hospital in Philadelphia where he was treated for anemia. He then moved to Camp Stoneman near Washington on October 31, 1864 where he was treated for debility. He was moved again on November 10th to Giesboro General Hospital in Washington and then on November 26th to Finley Hospital where he was treated for curvature of the spine. From Finley he returned to duty on April 13, 1865.

Private Shoemaker’s service came to an end on October 31, 1865.

Nothing is known about Private Shoemaker’s life after the war.

His full military records come with the item. No pension records were found for him at the National Archives.

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