Monument Avenue, Richmond Virginia

Recently I had the pleasure of exploring the great city of Richmond Virginia, the first stop driving up from Florida was in Georgia with a stop at Stone Mountain….but I’ll talk more about that in another post. My concern these days is that Southern Landmarks will be torn down and placed in the Monument Grave yard…..I’m hoping fair minded people can have open discussions and figure out a way to leave the monuments and landmarks without the knee jerk mod mentality reactions that we’ve seen recently.

J.E.B. Stuart Monument

At the far eastern end of Monument Avenue is a traffic circle known as Stuart Circle. The J.E.B. Stuart Monument has Stuart turned in the saddle facing east while the horse faces north, the equestrian bronze perched upon a granite base. The statue was sculpted by Fred Moynihan of New York and was unveiled May 30, 1907 making it the second Monument unveiled on Monument Avenue.

Robert E. Lee Monument

The Robert E. Lee Monument was the first and the largest of all Monuments on Monument Avenue in Richmond Virginia. The Lee Monument association commissioned the adaption of a painting by artist Adalbert Volck into a lithograph, depicting Robert E. Lee on his horse. The bronze was created by French sculptor Antonin Mercie. Apparently Antonin didn’t think that Lee’s horse “Traveler” was the right scale for his sculpture so in place of Traveler he used a larger scale horse, which many have criticized him for….after all Traveler is/was revered by many in the south……Robert E. Lee said on more then one occasion how fond he was of Traveler.

The completed statue was unveiled May 29, 1890. The entire Monument stands 60’ tall with Lee and his horse measuring about 14’.

Jefferson Davis Monument

The Davis Monument is located four blocks west of Lee Circle, with its tall central column surrounded by a Doric colonnade makes it an impressive landmark, the Davis Monument was unveiled June 3rd 1907. The Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned the prolific sculptor Edward Valentine who also was the artist who did the Recumbent Lee marble and the Stonewall Jackson Bronze both in Lexington Virginia as well as the Thomas Jefferson Marble located at Jefferson Hotel in Richmond Virginia…..just to name a few.

Stonewall Jackson Monument

The Stonewall Jackson Monument is located three blocks west of the Davis Monument. The equestrian bronze figure has the galant General Jackson atop his horse “Sorrel” facing North keeping an watchful eye on the Union invaders. Artist William F. Sievers was commissioned by the Daughters of the Confederacy and the monument was dedicated October 11, 1919 at a cost of $40,000. The monument stands a total of 38’ tall with the bronze sculpture measuring 17.5’ and the oval marble base measuring 20.5’.

C.S. Armory Fayetteville, Type III Rifle & Linen Sling

Fayetteville Armory Rifles are some of the most sought after Confederate weapons made. Most Southern weapons made during the war didn’t have much quality control, with most showing obvious flaws in the stock, barrel and hardware. Most collectors including myself find the flaws unique to the weapon and love the story behind the flaws, however the Fayetteville Rifles were above the the quality standard for all Confederate weapons.

Union weapons went through a vigorous inspection process, if the viewing officer found flaws in the quality of the weapon he would reject it sending it back to the maker. The maker then would not get paid for the weapon potentially losing future contracts.

In the South it was a very different story, most armories and manufactures of weapons didn’t have much of a quality system. At the Richmond Armory, the Souths largest weapons factory there was a viewing process but most of the weapons that were viewed and proofed would not pass Northern standards.

However it was a much different story at the Fayetteville Armory. Phillip Burkhart, the former Harper’s Ferry mechanic and John Hall protégé served as master armourer for the Fayetteville Armory. He along with many of the mechanics, craftsman and laborers that worked at the Harper’s Ferry Armory were responsible for making the different versions of Fayetteville Rifles throughout the war.

Some of the equipment that was confiscated by Stonewall Jackson at Harper’s Ferry in May of 1861 was sent by rails to Richmond Virginia the rest was sent to the Fayetteville Armory in North Carolina along with many of the expert mechanics. This would give the Fayetteville Armory the quality equipment and expert craftsman they needed to make such a quality weapon that would even pass the strict quality inspections in the North.

The newest addition to the Civil War Arsenal is an 1863 Fayetteville Rifle Type III. Except for the S style hammer the rifle is a close copy to the U.S. Model 1861 rifle-musket. Clean straight lines and brass hardware make the Fayetteville a hard weapon not to like. The type III is different from the type II with its 1863 dated Lock Plate made entirely at Fayetteville. The Type II Lock Plates were made at the Richmond Armory and were very similar to the Richmond Lock Plates with the low profile hump, only difference is the markings on the plate.

Similar to the U.S. Model 1855 rifle the Fayetteville was designed with a stud on the right side of the muzzle for affixing a saber bayonet. Thousands of these fish scale bayonets were fabricated at the armory in 1862-1863. The saber bayonet was replaced with a socket bayonet by late 1863 on the Type IV Fayetteville’s for the remaining portion of the war.

I am looking for a fish scale Saber Bayonet, if anyone knows of one please please contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West. Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any questions about this rifle or any of the other weapons in my Arsenal feel free to ask…..oh and I’m always on the hunt for new weapons to add to my collection, especially Confederate. If you have any and are interested in selling them give me a shout maybe we can make a deal.

Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, Ellenton Florida

After the Seminole War of (1836-1842) which removed many of the Native Indians from Florida, Congress passed the “Armed Occupation Act”. The act promoted settlement of the frontier and offered settlers 160 acres if they would cultivate 5 acres of property for five years. In 1843 Major Robert Gamble Jr. of Tallahassee claimed his acreage along the Manatee River, a region then remote from civilization with the hopes of establishing a sugar plantation. The Mansion took six years to complete using slave labor and local craftsman. Gamble eventually accumulated about 3500 acres and produced large amounts of sugar, but fortune did not favor his efforts. Natural disasters and a fickle Sugar market drove him into debt by 1856 forcing him to sell the plantation in 1859.

The Gamble Mansion or Gamble Plantation also known as the “Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park”, wow that’s a lot to say……also home to the Florida Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, located in Ellenton Florida on the Manatee River. The historic antebellum Mansion is the last remaining on of its kind in the Florida Western Peninsula. A 40,000 gallon cistern fresh water holding tank supplied drinking, cooking and bathing water for those on living on the plantation. At its peak the plantation had between 160-200 slaves maintaining the property and the fields.

The columns and the two foot thick walls are constructed of Tabby an indigos material that substituted for brick. Tabby is made with a mixture of crushed sea shell, lime and sand creating a perfect material for insulating the Mansion from the hot tropical sun and the many sever storms Florida is know for.

At the outbreak of the war in 1861 the Mansion was occupied by Captain Archibald McNeill the famous Confederate blockade runner. Archibald sailed from Europe to ports in the South with great success supplying the Confederacy with supplies needed for the war effort.

Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Secretary of State and President Jefferson Davis escaped Richmond Virginia in April 1865, fleeing the Union Army that was tightening the noose around the Southern capital. Somewhere along there escape they separated and Jefferson was captured in Georgia and imprisioned. Meanwhile Judah who was arranged for the assassination of President Lincoln and feared he wouldn’t receive a fair trial headed further south making his way to the Gamble Mansion. Captian McNiell aided Benjamin in escaping to the Bahamas and then eventually sailing to England arriving with hardly any resources. He went on to establish a distinguished second legal career in London and in 1872 was selected as the Queens Counsel…..similar to America’s Federal Supreme Court Seat.

Meanwhile back in America, Union Raiders destroyed the Gamble Sugar Mill leaving only brick ruins today. However they did spare the Mansion and in 1925 the Mansion and the grounds were purchased by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and donated to the state of Florida as a memorial to Judah P. Benjamin who served three Cabinet positions under Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Today the Gamble Mansion serves as home to the Florida Division United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). In 1937 the UDC installed a memorial plague to Benjamin at the Mansion. Also on the grounds is the Confederate Veterans Memorial Monument erected October 10, 1937.

Ames Enlisted Model 1860 Calvary Saber

Troopers in the field were unhappy with the model 1840 commonly referred to as the “old wrist breaker” they wanted a lighter and more maneuverable Saber. The new model 1860 Saber as the Ordnance Department response. The light Calvary Saber had a blade that was shorter, not as thick or wide, and came with a scaled down scabbard to fit the new blade. The center of balance was moved back more toward the hilt by slimming the overall blade and the tip from the hatchet type tip to more of a sharp point.

So in 1857 the Ames Sword Company received a request from the US Government to provide sample patterns of a new light Calvary Saber made after the French model of 1822 and referred to in the Ordnance Department records as the “new pattern”.

Pre War US Government procurements were as follows.

Prewar 1859-1860
Made by Ames
1856-57 – 1000
1858 – 1800
1859 – 5000
Total. 7800

Wartime 1861-1865
Made by Ames
1861 – 10000
1862 – ——–
1863 – 23500
1864 – 31000
1865 – 10000
Total. 74500

The sword you see here is stamped U.S. ADK, 1862 on one side of the ricasso and Ames Mfg. Co, Chicopee Massachusetts on the other side. One of the branches on the knuckle-bow has an inventory # 18320…..the drag plate on the scabbard is also marked ADK, these initials are of the weapons inspectors who’s name was King.

The blade measures 34” long and the handle is 5.5” for a total length of 39.5” with a small and a large fuller. The leather grip is in excellent condition and has 13 rows of brass wrappings. Overall this is a nice example of a Ames Enlisted Model 1860 Calvary Sword, in my opinion it’s a early version probably from the 1856-57 Government procurements.

If you have any questions about this sword or any of the other items in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

1863 Confederate States, Richmond Carbine & Linen Sling

If you’ve been following the Civil War Arsenal for enough time you know I have a soft spot in my heart for Richmond made weapons. I’m always on the lookout for affordable quality Carbines, Short Rifles and Rifle Muskets.

So recently Rick Burton of http://www.ccrelics.com made available a very good condition 1863 Richmond Carbine with a linen sling. I contacted him and we negotiated a fair price that we both could live with. I received the Carbine shortly after and “WOW” I was extremely impressed with the condition of the weapon.

It was the first CW weapon I’d purchased from Rick and was impressed with the overall experience. His website was user friendly and he had a large selection of neat Confederate pieces (and Union)…..and he’s got some nice edged weapons….if only I was rich…haha

So anyway back to my new 1863 Richmond Carbine, she’s a beauty the stock, barrel, lockplate and all hardware are correct and in very good condition…..heck it’s even got the original rear sling swivel screwed into the stock…..for anyone who doesn’t know the rear sling swivel is generally missing from most Richmond Carbines. And the icing on the cake is that it came with a Confederate Linen Sling, I will admit the sling is not perfect however neither am I…..lol

The butt plate is steel and marked U.S., the rear sight is original and the front sight hasn’t been filed down, the barrel band closest to the breech is Richmond made due to the U being offset, the brass nose cap has a nice patina and the lock plate has very good markings as well as good action. The stock is in great condition with some initials and the year 1865 lightly carved on the right side.

This brings my collection of Richmond’s to 9……6 Carbines, 1 Short Rifle and 2 Long Rifles……not bad if I do say so myself.

If you have any questions about this weapon or any of the other weapons in my Arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

1863 Springfield Rifle Musket, Type 1

The newest weapon in the Civil War Arsenal is an 1863 Rifle Musket. I purchased this weapon many years ago because it was so clean and straight. This weapon looks as though it was just removed from the crate it was shipped in. The stock is smooth and clean with hardly a scratch on it, the metal looks as good today as it did 154 years ago and the lock plate and hammer still have its rainbow of casehardening colors.

Manufactured in Springfield Massachusetts at the Springfield Armory the 1863 Rifle Musket is a .58 caliber single shot muzzleloader with a 40” round barrel and three barrel bands. A total of 273,265 were produced making it the most common of all Union weapons.

Iron mountings. All metal parts finished bright except for the lock-plate and hammer the rear sight is sometimes blued, as are the barrels bands. The ramrod is either tulip type or straight type shank and the front sight doubles as a bayonet stud.

If you have any questions about this weapon or any of the other weapon in my arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West. Thanks for stopping by.

Confederate Light Artillery Saber

Some of the most sought after edged weapons in collectors collections are Confederate swords. Most commonly they are Calvary Sabers and Staff & Field Swords however occasionally Southern Artillery Swords become available.

Confederate Artillery Swords are rare, no reason is known for this but the fact remains that three to four officers swords show up for every Artillery sword. So when this sword became available I negotiated the best deal I could to make it apart of my collection.

My new acquired Confederate Enlisted Man’s Artillery Sword is a copy of the Model 1840, Type 1 U.S. Artillery Saber. The Saber has a typical Southern scabbard with a crude lapped seam and brass mounts. The grip retains about 90% of the original leather with the iron wire. The blade is unmarked and has the classic unstopped fuller with very visible fault lines typically found on Confederate swords. The overall length of the sword is 36” with the blade measuring approximately 31” the scabbard measures a total of 34” from the throats to the bottom of the drag. The blade is 1 ¼” at its widest point with a 24” fuller on either side. The sword has what I believe to be many of the characteristics of swords manufactured by the Haiman Brothers of Columbus Georgia.

If you have any questions about this sword or any of the other weapons in my Arsenal contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com Attn: Gene West….thanks for stopping by.

Dahlgren Camp 98, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Formed in the late 1870’s Son Of Veterans was an organization started to preserve the memory of the Union Veterans who served in the “Great War of the Rebellion”. The SUVCW, originally named the Son of Veterans was founded by Major Augustus P. Davis to ensure the preservation and principles of the Grand Army of the Republic or GAR and to provide assistance to Veterans. It was based on the principles of Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty.

Davis’s vision for the SV was as follows:

The Sons of Veterans is destined to become the great military organization of the country, that glory of its supremacy, that healing of the sense when its national hymn are that none other not thus reared can know or feel. Through this organization the declining days of the Union Veterans will be made pleasant, his record of service to his country preserved, his memory honored, patriotism promoted. While if the dire necessity of the nation should dictate, the Sons of Veterans, uniformed, drilled and equipped would come at once to her defense with the glory of there fathers surrounding them, each heart pulsating in unison. With the rising and falling of the Nations emblem. And who would be powerful enough to prevail against such a host?
The Sons of Veterans, “Dahlgren Camp 98” was from the South Boston area which would have made the Grandfathers, Fathers, Uncles, neighbors and friends who served in the “War of Rebellion” pretty tough war veterans…..after all 150 + years later it’s still a pretty tough neighborhood.

My research leads me to believe the Dahlgren Camp were the Sons of Veterans who served in the South Boston Heavy/Light Artillery, it’s a little confusing but I think there designation changed more than once during the war.
So all this brings me to this Model 1863 Springfield Rifle Musket, Type 1. It’s not in very good condition but it definitely saw war service and it has the Dahlgren Camp medallion. My best guess is that it was displayed in a “Sons Of Veterans Hall” in South Boston at one time.

If you happen to stumble on this article and you have any history to offer on the Sons of Veterans, Dahlgren Camp give me a shout…..you can contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com Attn: Gene West…thanks for stopping by.

Louis Haiman & Brother Enlisted Man’s Calvary Saber

Columbus, Georgia was home to perhaps the Confederacies largest sword factory. Prussian born brothers Louis and Elias Haiman were owner/operators of the Columbus Iron Works which at the outbreak of the war was turned into a sword factory where a variety of edged weapons were forged and cast.

It’s thought approximately 8000 Calvary swords were manufactured under Confederate contracts. Patterned after the U.S. Model 1840 Calvary Saber, the Haiman Brothers version was not quite the quality of the Union counterpart. Having casting flaws on the ricasso near the tang, grip wrapped with painted cloth (rather then leather) with a single strand of iron wire and crude seams on the backs of there scabbards.

Most existing examples are unmarked however there are a few that are marked at the ricasso “Haiman & Bro”, the scabbards throats are always iron as well as most drags, ring mounts are always brass with iron rings and some surviving examples have a reddish shade on there hilts due to a high copper content which was the result of periodic shortages of zinc.

The Haiman Brothers operated there factory throughout the war but on April 16, 1865 Union Calvary-men under Major General James Wilson captured Columbus and torched the factory.

The example before you is one I acquired a while back which I would consider to be in excellent condition. The scabbard has the crude seam running up its back with brass mounts, iron rings, drag and throat. I see no signs of paint on the scabbard and it’s free from dents and damage.

The swords hilt has a great patina and is wrapped with painted cloth with a single strand of iron wire which seems to be original to the sword. If you look closely at the images above you will see the castings flaws on either side of the blade, most near the tang just below the hilt which undeniably identifies the sword as a Haiman Brothers Enlisted Man’s Sword. However there are many flaws throughout the length of the blade, which add to its character and beauty.

The overall length of the sword is 42” with the blade measuring 36” long and the scabbard measuring 38” from the top of the throats to the bottom of the drag. The Haiman Brothers sword measures a total of 43 ¾” when sword is set in scabbard compared to its Union counterpart (Model 1840 Calvary Sword) which measures 42”.

If you have questions about this sword or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal email me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West.

S.C. Robinson (Sharps) Carbine

Samuel C. Robinson was a prominent businessman and property owner in Richmond, Virginia at the outbreak of the “war of Northern aggression”. He teamed up with John H. Lester who had migrated to Richmond shortly before the out break of the war. John was a accomplished businessman who moved his wood working machinery from Brooklyn, New York to Richmond, Virginia.

December of 1862 the Confederate Government entered into contract with the S.C. Robinson Arms Company, of which John Lester was superintendent. The contract was for as many Sharps pattern carbines the firm could produce. During the following 15 months (December 62 – March 63) S.C. Robinson’s Arms Co. manufactured around 2000 “Robinson Sharps” carbines.

The factory was taken over by the Confederate Government sometime after March of 1863. and as the war pressed on and the need for Calvary weapons increased the fabrication of weapons was rushed and many of the Robinson Sharps gained a bad reputation among the troops. One report contending that seven out of nine carbines had burst while testing. Investigation determined that improper handling of the arms would cause loose powder to leak into the lever spring mortise in the forestock, resulting in ignition and bursting of the forestock when firing. The problem was eventually solved by milling a half crescent shaped cutout in the bottom of the forestock allowing any residual powder to fall free.

While the S.C. Robinsons Arms Manufactory was in private hands there was approximately 1900 carbines manufactured and approximately 3500 made while under Confederate Government control.

S.C. Robinson Carbines are one of the few Confederate weapons with serial numbers on them, which allows us to understand when a particular carbine was manufactured, giving us better insight into there history. Most Confederate weapons aren’t so kind to the collector and enthusiasts leaving us grasping at straws to there history. In John M. Murphy’s book “Confederate Carbines and Musketoons”, John claims based on his research the lowest serialized S.C. Robinson carbine known to exist is “11” and the highest is “1909” and the lowest serialized Confederate produced carbine is “1925” and the highest is “5463”.

Robinson Carbines measure a total of 38 ½” with barrels that are 21 ½” long. They are .52 caliber and are rifled with six lands. Most barrels were browned, however some were heated blue. The lock plates/ actions were color-case hardened. The earlier versions made by S.C. Robinson are marked on the lock plate behind the hammer “S.C. Robinson / Arms Manufactory / Richmond VA/ 1862” in four lines, the serial number was stamped on the tail of the lock plate. The Government produced carbines are virtually identical to those made by S.C. Robinson except there lock plates are unmarked except for the serial number and the barrels are marked with Richmond VA behind the rear sight.

All this leads me to one of my many new Confederate Weapons. This carbine has been on my wish list for years, it is a carbine manufactured while under Government control with serial number “4469” on the tail of the lock plate, the tang at the rear of the breech block as well as the backside of the sling plate which can’t be seen while attached to the stock. All in all the carbine is in great shape for its age and history. The action is a little sloppy, but that’s to be expected, the stock does have a small crack on the left side above the trigger, beneath the sling ring…..but it’s minimal. Seems as though the horseman who carried this carbine carved his name and company into the left side of the stock (refer to the photos) which makes this weapons that much cooler…..

So there you have it another Greeeeeaaaaat Confederate weapon, I’m currently looking for an early version of the S.C. Robinson Carbine manufactured while privately owned, which should put the serial number below 1900. If you happen to have an early version Robinson Sharps that you’d like to sell give me a shout maybe we can strike a deal. If you have any questions about this or any of the other weapons at the” Civil War Arsenal” contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see ya again.