CONFEDERATE CAPTURED AND COLLECTED BELGIAN ENFIELD BY DRISSEN & CO. WITH C.S. “Q” FINAL-INSPECTOR STAMP

$3,250.00

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Item Code: 1164-08

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This is a very good example of a Belgian made British 1853 Pattern Rifle Musket that was imported for use in the Civil War and ended up in the Confederate Cleaning and Repair system for “captured and collected” arms to be inspected and reissued for use by Confederate troops. An estimated 250,000 weapons collected from prisoners, battlefields, or turned in by Confederate units passed through the system. In the case of repaired arms the type of repair and parts used occasionally reveal a gun’s history. Another indicator of both those repaired and merely cleaned is the presence of a CS Ordnance final inspection mark. This rifle bears a “Q” stamp just forward of the triggerguard, one of the individual C.S.  inspector’s stamps cataloged in the initial study by Steven Knott in 2019.

This rifle musket bears not only the Liege “LEG*” oval proofmark on the left breech, but is marked in several places with the Liege maker’s mark “D[anchor]C” of O.P. Drissen & Co., who is known to have done business with U.S. agents, selling them his “Brazilian Light Minie” rifles, an aesthetically pleasing, and sufficiently deadly, combination of French, Belgian, and British elements. The number of Belgian-made P53 Rifle Muskets imported here is hard to nail down, but gun makers in Liege were familiar with the pattern and having been manufacturing it since their first Crimean War contract for 20,000 of them in 1854 (to be delivered by mid-1855.) Further work followed, with a total of 28,139 accepted by the British from May 1856 to March 1859, and yet another British government contract in June 1859 for 5,000 more. Authors have warned they may appear in U.S. records, invoices, and reminiscences as, “Belgian Enfields,” “Long Enfields,” “Enfields,” or even “Belgian muskets” (for the latter: Schwalm and Hoffman, 170,) and it has been noted that Leige proofing of Drissen & Co. “muskets” jumped by some 20,000 guns in 1862-1863, suggesting substantial involvement with the American market.

This example rates about very good for the metal and good for the wood. It has smooth metal showing silver gray on the barrel, with slightly darker bands from heat bluing, and very crisp markings. The bands, swivels, and rod are in place. The front sight is there. The solder-fastened rear P53 sight is missing, though its outline is visible, and was replaced at some point with a rather clunky block sight fitted to the barrel by a band. The brass elements have a mellow patina, with the nose cap showing just a tad brighter from handling (likely in drawing the ramrod.) The markings are very good on all the metal, the Drissen D[anchor]C stamp appearing on the lock, hammer, breech, breechplug, buttplate tang, etc., along with several sub-inspector marks. The wood has nice color, good edges and tight fit to the metal, and shows some handling marks, mostly on the rear of the stock: some scratches and two short drag lines on the side flat, some light scratches on the right butt flat, a few more on the left with a carved “P” and shallow divot at bottom rear near the buttplate.  Mechanics are perfect, bore is very fine.

This is a very nice Belgian-made P53 by a maker with known Civil War American connections that likely saw some service in Federal hands before passing through Confederate Ordnance for reissue and use against its former owners. It would make a great addition to a collection of European import arms and those carried by Confederates in particular.  [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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