RARE RIFLED AND SIGHTED US 1851 PATTERN CADET MUSKET DATED 1853, DELIVERED TO THE US MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT IN 1856

$2,950.00

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Item Code: 172-5749

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Just 300 of the Model 1851 Cadet muskets were rifled and sighted from July to September 1856, and delivered to West Point in October for use by the cadet corps, among whom were many future Union and Confederate officers. An additional 14 muskets were altered in 1857 and 9 in 1858, likely as replacements or additions to the West Point arms. These were drawn from four thousand Model 1851 Cadet muskets were made at Springfield in 1852 and 1853. Following the same lines as the Model 1841 cadet musket, they were smoothbore and look like scaled down 1842-pattern muskets, but are .57 Caliber and use the smaller 1847 musketoon pattern lock. This example has sharp lock plate markings: “Springfield 1853” in three lines behind the hammer and a crisp Springfield eagle over a US forward of the hammer. The barrel shows the correct “V / P/ eaglehead” barrel proofs at left breech and the breechplug shows a matching 1853 date, slightly rubbed, but fully legible. Just 1,160 were made that year.

The barrel and mounts are smooth and in the bright, as would be expected in a military academy arm, subject to more than ordinary “spit and polish.” The metal shows scattered small gray spots primarily along the barrel just above the edge of the wood, and a few tiny dings on the top, between the two rings of the upper band, likely from a gun rack. The lock and hammer show darker, with some thin brown coming up. There is just a tiny bit of peppering on the bolster from firing. The wood shows good finish, a tight fit to the metal, and good edges, with just a little rounding to the forward lock apron from handling. As is natural in a cadet gun, however, there wood has numerous light scratches, dings, and some pressure dents mostly on the butt and side flat from storage and from cadets learning the rudiments of drill. The ramrod channel shows just minor chips and light wear from drawing and returning the rammer.

This rifle shows all the correct characteristics of the 300 arms selected and altered for West Point in 1856. They were rifled with three grooves and provided with a cupped rammer. They were sighted using the Model 1855 long-range rear sight for the rifle musket, graduated to 400 yards along the base and 500 to 900 yards along and at top of the leaf, and attached by a mortice and spanner screw. The front sight was changed at the same time from a brass blade to an iron blade with integral base soldered and riveted to the front ring of the upper band. The rear sight is complete and shows some thin blue, shading to plum. All bands, springs, swivels and cupped rammer are in place. The mechanics and bore are excellent.

The rifle bears several sets of rack markings. The middle band is stamped on top “194” (the left of the 9 is lightly struck, making it look a bit like a 3.) The buttplate tang, in addition to the armory stamped “U.S.,” is stamped “D / 35.” The belly of stock just forward of the triggerguard tang is stamped “75” as well. Whether these were changes in designation made at the USMA or subsequently is unclear. The left breech and forward edge of the triggerguard tang also both bear a cryptic stamp in the form of an “M” with a tail. This likely corresponds to Moller’s note that one example he examined was stamped, “at the extreme breech with an ‘M,’ and another mark resembling an anchor.” (Moller 3. 247.)

This is a very scarce U.S. regulation percussion rifled musket in very good condition that was likely in the hands of many future Civil War officers

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