SHARPS MODEL 1853 SLANT BREECH CARBINE ID’D TO JOHN GOLDEN, 6TH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY

$5,500.00

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Item Code: 490-1769

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Sharps received only a very small US military contract for the M1853 Slant Breech Carbine, with some 250 guns being contracted for. These guns saw service with the 1st and 2nd US Dragoons on the western frontier in the years prior to the Civil War. The majority of the carbines were sold privately, with some going to state militias.

This particular Sharps Model 1853 Slant Breech Carbine is in about Fine condition. The gun shows use, but no abuse and remains extremely crisp and sharp throughout. The gun is clear marked on the lock plate, to the rear of the hammer: “SHARP’S / PATENT / 1852”, though the 1852 date is a little weaker than the rest of the mark. This is the earlier patent marking, with the apostrophe in the word “Sharp’s”. the tan g of the carbine is marked, “SHARPS / PATENT / 1848” along with the serial number 14624. The matching serial number is present under the barrel, and is concealed by the forend. The top of the barrel is marked in three lines, “SHARPS RIFLE / MANUFG. CO. / HARTFORD CONN.” The left flat of the barrel is marked is marked with a military style sub-inspector’s mark, a single “K”. A similar inspection mark, a single “T”, is present in the stock, immediately behind the sling bar and ring. No other indications of government or military inspection are present, suggesting that these may be state inspection marks, placed on the carbine when it was obtained on the open marked.

The action of the carbine functions perfectly, and the gun is mechanically excellent. The Lawrence Pellet Primer System appears to be complete and functional as well. The falling-block loading system functions correctly as well. During the production of the Sharps M1853 carbine, three different styles of breechblock designs were employed. The earlier, and most desirable to collectors, had a platinum ring that sealed the breech of the carbine. This carbine has the platinum ring breechblock.

The gun retains only traces of its original finish. The lock shows some traces of the original color case hardening mottling, most of which has faded and silvered out, with some dull mottled grays and browns visible in the protected areas. The barrel is mostly a smooth dove gray patina, with scattered areas of old dried oil, and some lightly oxidized age discoloration. Some minute traces of original finish are present in the protected nooks and crannies. The metal is extremely smooth, with very small, scattered patches of light surface pinpricking present on the barrel and breech area. The screws are all in good condition and most retain between 30 – 50% of their original blued finish (a few retain no finish). In general, the screws show light slot wear, but nothing extreme. The bore of the carbine is in Fine condition. It is mostly bright and retains crisp rifling, with some lightly scattered pinpricking and minor pitting along the length of the bore. The gun retains its original and correct early pattern rear sight. The original long pattern military style sling bar and ring are present opposite the lock and terminates on the left side of the brass barrel band.

The brass furniture has a lovely, untouched, mustard patina, which is very attractive. The brass patchbox is lightly scratched with the name and unit information, “John Golden Co K.” several soldiers named John Golden served in Company K of a Union regiment during the Civil War; we have narrowed the ID  to John Golden of Co. K, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry (Rush’s Lancers).

The stock of the carbine rates about Fine+ and remains extremely crisp and sharp throughout. Both the buttstock and forend show the expected array of scattered bumps, dings and mars that are accumulated in military service. The toe of the stock shows a very small and extremely well executed repair that appears quite old.

John Golden was born in Mayo, Ireland and immigrated to the United States. He was working as a laborer in Philadelphia when he enlisted as a Private in Company K, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry on June 20, 1864. At the time he was described as being 18 years old, standing 5’ 5” inches tall with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion.

On-line rosters and civilwardata.com show Golden as enlisting in October of 1861 but his records pulled from the National Archives have enlistment papers from October of 1864 and muster roll reports beginning in September of 1864. There is nothing mentioning reenlistment so it should be assumed the online records with the 1861 enlistment date are incorrect.

Golden was present with the regiment about a month before he began to show signs of sickness in July of 1864. He was admitted to the US General Hospital at Cumberland, Maryland on July 25, 1864 suffering from acute diarrhea and was returned to duty on August 18. He again fell ill with the same malady on September 1, 1864 and was returned to the same hospital. He was returned to duty on September 15, 1864.

Early in December Golden was sent to the regimental hospital suffering from scrofula and was forwarded to the U.S. Post Hospital at Hagerstown, Maryland where it was found that he was suffering from condylomata or genital warts caused by syphilis. He was returned to duty on January 15, 1865.

A little more than a month later Golden entered the hospital yet again. This time he is listed as suffering from piles and on February 27, 1865 he was sent from the regimental hospital to the division hospital at Winchester. He was later transferred to the U.S. General Hospital at Frederick, Maryland for “contusions on the buttock” and was returned to duty on March 10, 1865.

Golden was finally mustered out as part of the 2nd Regiment Pennsylvania Provisional Cavalry at Louisville. Kentucky on August 7, 1865. The 2nd was made up of men amalgamated from the 1st, 6th and 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry regiments.

Overall this is a very crisp and fine displaying example of a fairly scarce and very collectible Sharps carbine.  [ad]

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