CONFEDERATE ORDNANCE “CAPTURED AND COLLECTED” BRIDESBURG RIFLE MUSKET

$3,250.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1164-13

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Some 200,000 thousand firearms captured or collected by CS Ordnance teams and civilians, along with perhaps another 50,000 turned in by CS units, went through the cleaning and/or repair (“C&R”) system of the Confederate Ordnance Department for reissue to Confederate soldiers. The process took place mostly in the eastern theatre, where Lee’s victories left battlefields and arms in Confederate hands, and was concentrated at facilities at Danville, Staunton, Lynchburg, and Richmond. This Bridesburg contract U.S. Model 1861 rifle musket shows a final Confederate C&R inspector’s stamp on the underside of the stock, just forward of the triggerguard, reading “Z.” This has been associated with Captain Louis Zimmer, who supervised C&R operations at Richmond from late 1864 to early 1865, though it is possible inspector letter codes, while indicating specific inspectors, did not use and individual’s initials.

This rifle musket follows the standard configuration for the Model 1861 and all bands, springs, swivels, and rod are in place. Both sights are in place and the rear sight has both sight leaves. 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 metal is smooth overall, with just some pitting to the bolster and adjacent barrel area due to the corrosive effects of percussion caps in firing, obscuring the barrel date, but leaving the V/P/[eaglehead] barrel proofs fully visible. There is some darkening to the wood under the hammer, but no burn-out. The barrel shows a mix of light and dark gray near the muzzle, shading to brown toward the breech. The lockplate shows as a mottled gray and dark gray, but the stampings are sharp. The wood has nice brown tones and a good fit to the metal. There are some darker stains, but no large divots, dings or chips to the forestock, which has good edges along the barrel. The lockplate has a tight fit. The left side shows no cartouches and a little rounding to the edges from handling. A bored soldier, or civilian after the war, carved a small circle with four arcs inside to look like a flower petal on the flat just below the breech, but it is delicately done and not obtrusive. The buttstock shows some dark stains, matching the forestock, and shows a few more handling marks, but not many. There is a little roughness on the top of the wrist at left and right, a few small dings on the comb in front of the buttplate tang, and some scratches on the lower right near the belly. We see no obvious repair work, just a slight, short gap between wood and breechplug tang on the right, likely from removing the breechplug in the Confederate cleaning process before reissue.

Steve Knott’s book on Confederate reissue arms is the go-to source on the subject and there is more work being done. The cataloging of their repairs, their inspector marks, and the wide variety of arms that went through the system is ongoing and provides a real opportunity not only for those looking to acquire a real Confederate-used arm, but also those studying the south’s need for arms and the innovative and systematic ways they tried to compensate for the industrial superiority of the north.  [sr]  [ph:L]

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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