1862 Enfield, P-1853 Type III Rifle Musket

Over the last bunch of weeks I’ve written about many of the domestic weapons in my Civil War Arsenal, but today I’m going to write about one of my imports muskets. The 1853 Type III Enfield was the most common imported weapon of the Civil War. Both the North and South imported this weapon to the tune of 900,000 from 1861 to 1865.

At the outbreak of the war the Enfield was considered the rifle of choice. The Enfield was the first production gun to use rifling in its barrel and it fired the .577 caliber Pritchett minie ball (which was innovative for its time) and considered by many the prettiest rifle made with its brass accents.

There were many private contractors manufacturing Enfield’s but the better quality Enfield’s were made by the Birmingham Small Arms Factory and the London Armory Arsenals. The reason for this was that these two companies made muskets that had interchangeable parts, the dozens of other gun making companies made muskets that looked the same but the parts would not interchange from one gun to the other. This did not fare well in battle, as one musket failed you could not take parts from another and fix it.

So that takes us to the 1862 Enfield in my Civil War Arsenal. I purchased this musket a few years back on Gun Brokers Auction Web Site. The fellow that was auctioning musket did not know much about it, other then it was old. He was selling off a collection of antique weapons for someone. When I first saw the gun I thought there was no way I’d win the auction, thinking that everyone interested would be jockeying for position. However I did have the winning bid and I think I got it for a great price.

This Enfield is super clean with hardly a mark on it. The stock is absolutely stunning with its tiger wood finish and the barrel and hardware are almost flawless. It has the Birmingham stamp on the right side of the stock with the maker’s name of Joseph Wilson. On the top of the stock by the tang of the butt plate is the stamp of Schuyler Hartley and Graham, or SH over G3. I think 3 and 5 are the most common numbers found on these imports with 1, 2, 4 being less common.

Schuyler Hartley and Graham had Military Goods, stores in N.Y.C. at 19 Maiden Lane and 22 John Street, and are considered by many to be the first store to sell Military accessories, kind of like a modern day Army Navy store.

Because they already had connections overseas as buyers of military accessories the U.S. Government and State Governments turned towards them to purchase weapons (rifles, pistols, swords, etc…). Most of the Enfield’s they purchased were bought for the State Militia’s of Massachusetts and New York.
However some of the weapons that S.H & G sold were sold over the counter to soldiers who wanted better equipment then the Government was issuing, and all officers were required to purchase their own uniforms and swords, so during the war S.H.& G. was the perfect tool for soldiers and officers alike to purchase quality weapons and accessories.

But we know this Musket wasn’t purchased by a soldier over the counter. First of all if a soldier wanted to upgrade his Government Issue weapon he would have bought a breech loading rifle or carbine. But the most telling sign is the Government cartouche on the left side of the stock, which tells us this was imported by S.H. & G for the U.S. Government, very neat stuff. I love it when the markings on the weapon tell the story.

This Enfield is a beauty I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Any questions about this posting or any of the other postings at the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attm: Gene West

18 thoughts on “1862 Enfield, P-1853 Type III Rifle Musket

  1. Most camps say that the SH / G# should be attributed to Sinclair, Hamilton & Co, importers for the Confederacy. Any thoughts on this? I enjoyed the article.

    • Some dealers are selling SH /G # muskets as Confederate imports but It’s my opinion that these imports were Union and SH/C (Sinclair and Hamilton Co.) are Southern imports. I will be writting about those soon. It’s interesting to me that only recently sellers of SH/G# are offering these muskets as Southern, I think it’s because of the premiums that Southern weapons bring, GREED.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and stay tuned for more Weapons from the Civil War Arsenal.

      Gene

  2. Greetings! I have a Enfield in similar shape to the one you described. She’s a beauty. It was made by Sargent, and sons. It has the the BIrmingham stamp. The only info I could find about the maker is they made fine dueling pistols. Have you ever heard of them?

  3. Hi Gene,

    I am quite sure you get this all the time but we have inherited an old rifle (1953).
    We have searched the internet for the past 4 days and can find similar but not the same.

    It has the VR crest along with 1853 tower
    The brass butt has LTC
    C
    32
    The brass barrel end has V5 scrapped into it.
    The barrel length is the strangest thing as its only 27 inch`s long (barrel)
    The are three markings on the barrel but not very clear (it looks like arrows)
    Under the brass trigger there is a crest then IX

    I have attached some photos which may help.

    We are looking to sell the gun.

    Kind Regards
    Paul Roberts

  4. Good Afternoon.

    I have an 1862 Enfield Rifle and I was wondering how I can tell if it is Authentic or some kind of replica.
    Thank you very much for your assistance, it is greatly appreciated.

    • John, provide me with some quality images of the Enfield…….lock plate, left and right side of the stock , barrel and any other markings on the weapon and I will give you my thoughts.

      Regards, Gene West

  5. Hi Gene

    I am going to send you 3 separate emails with pictures of my rifle.
    I am sending the pictures separately since they use up so much band width that they sometimes bounce back.
    If you do not get 3 more emails from me please let me know.

    I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR HELP !!!

    Thank You.

    • John,
      On the very top of the stock just in front of the butt plate where the tang is are there any markings…..also under the stock just behind the trigger guard are there any markings there……
      The important markings are on the stock not so much the hardware……..what I’m looking for are SH/G3 or JS over the imprint of an anchor……these markings will help determine whether they were Union or Confederate………
      Let me know what you find…….

  6. Gene,
    I have an 1862 Tower that I have owned since about 1992. I bought it from a friend that lived in south Florida. When he lived in New York he went to an estate sale and ended up buying this tower. The family said their ancestor was in the Union Army and after the war brought the rifle home. It was said that he picked it up at the surrender of Vicksburg because it was new. Earlier on, I field stripped it to write down what markings I saw. The two inspector stamps with ELG on the stock and a crown with a large A underneath, that is buy the but plate top. JA is on the bottom of the barrel. T&CG on the ramrod. Looks like CV stamped on the top of the barrel next to the two 25s. I can send pictures if you would like. I’m just trying to find out more about my rifle.

    • Mike, Sorry it’s taken so long to respond I was out of town……..please forward any images of the Enfield and I will answer any and all questions to the best of my ability……images should include all markings on stock, barrel, butt plate, ram rod, and any other curiosities…….

      Regards, Gene

  7. Gene,
    I have attached pictures of the mark from my Enfield. To me, it looks like it has the same mark. Let me know what you think and if so, for insurance purposes what would you value my Enfield at? If you would like, you can use the pictures of the Enfield for references.
    Mike

        • Well that’s a loaded question…….it’s “my” opinion that it’s a Union Enfield but most if not all the CW historians are suggesting that it’s a Confederate Import………they are more experienced then I, so I have to differ to there expertise……

          Years ago it was thought that the stamp on the stock of your weapon was the mark of Schuyler, Hartley & Graham, they were located in lower Manhattan at the time of the war…….they were kinda a Army/Navy store of there times…..selling everything military…….

          But now it’s thought the mark is of Sinclair, Hamilton & Co. they were importers for the Confederacy…….it’s still not completely clear who’s mark it is, but one could make the case that there’s a bit of greed causing some to offer these weapons as Confederate due to the premium they bring…….

          Maybe one day it will be figured out, as for now most consider it Confederate………hope I was helpful.

          Regards.

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