CONFEDERATE CAPTURED AND COLLECTED J.P. MOORE ENFIELDCONFEDERATE CAPTURED AND COLLECTED J.P. MOORE ENFIELD

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Item Code: 1175-02

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J.P. Moore was in the gun business in New York from 1822, and the firm existed under several names until about 1870. Moore’s are study and collecting area of their own. Moore sold the U.S. government 22,000 “Long Enfield Rifles” during the war, and another 1,280 “American Rifles, Long Enfield Pattern,” and likely a good number of others to states or on the commercial market. Moller remarks that little is known about his sources, but they included rifles and parts imported from Britain, perhaps by the operation of “J.P. Moore’s Sons, some barrels from Colt and perhaps from Belgium, parts from the Robbins and Lawrence Enfield fiasco by way of Eli Whitney, and other elements, perhaps entire guns through connections with Orison Blunt, also of New York City.

This follows the general pattern of the 1853 Enfield has a standard British lockplate with crown to the rear of the hammer and “1861 / TOWER” stamped forward. The brass butt plate, triggerguard, nose cap, and sides crew washers are typically British, as is the long rear sight, the rounded clamping barrel bands, and knurled rammer. The swivels are present, as is the British style nipple protector and chain. The barrel proofs, however, include an anomalous “1861” date. The barrel is generally smooth metal, showing gray with a dusty brown overlay. The wood to metal fit is good, though the wood shows some dings and handling marks, as well as an incised cross on the right butt flat, and some small, shallow divot at the entry of the rammer to the stock, on the forestock just below the barrel, and at the wrist.  Mechanics functional but a bit sloppy; bore is mostly clean with good rifling, small amount of pitting near muzzle.

More significant that J.P. Moore’s chaotic business dealings is the presence of the “Z” final inspection stamp of a Confederate Ordnance officer working the CS cleaning and repair system preparing “captured and collected” arms for reissue. The basic text on these is Steven Knott’s 2019 study, which cataloged a number of different arms passing through the system and the work done on them, along with several inspector’s stamps, including this “Z.” At the time the mark was associated with Capt. Louis Zimmer, who supervised C&R operations in Richmond from late 1864 to 1865, but subsequent cataloging of marks indicates they did not necessarily reflect the inspector’s initials. Knott estimates that as many as 200,000 weapons captured or collected by CS ordnance teams or civilians during the war, along with another 50,000 turned in by CS forces, may have passed through the system, mostly from eastern battlefields that fell under Confederate control.

Moller notes that Moore’s US sales of his American made Enfields seem to have ceased after 1862, but his search for Enfield parts continued, indicating longer production. The 1861 dates on this, however, point to early war use and likely capture. This is an interesting Civil War rifle musket on a number of fronts. [sr] [ph:L]

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