About Eugene West

My Gr.Gr. Grandfather was Richard Sanford Jones who served in Robert E. Lee's Army of Norhern Virginia, Hampdens Lt. Artillery, 38th Battalion. His story is a fascinating one of family, culture and country. It is one of the many reasons I started collecting antique weapons as well as writing about them. Please spend sometime browsing my site and feel free to forward any comments. civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

Thomas, Griswold & Co. Artillery Saber

The partnership of Henry Thomas Jr. and A.B. Griswold was a welcome combination for the Confederacy in the spring of 1861. New Orleans was the largest city in the South with a population of over 170,000 and there was much money to be made as aggressive entrepreneurs.

Thomas, Griswold & Co. we’re not only manufactures of military goods but importers as well and the large port of New Orleans would give them access to trade ships from Europe filled with many of the supplies the South needed.

Unfortunately there success only lasted a short while, Union Naval forces captured New Orleans April 25, 1862 putting an end to there brisk business and seizing South’s largest port.

For sometime now I’ve been searching for a Thomas, Griswold Artillery Saber……with its brass/bronze scabbard, makers mark ricasso and fine attention to detail, one can make the argument there was hardly a finer sword made South of the Mason Dixon Line.

My new saber & scabbard is in excellent condition, with an almost perfectly straight scabbard that has a sweet mustard patina and the lap seam is almost unnoticeable unlike most other Confederate scabbards.

As for the saber, where do I start….hmmmmmm. The leather grip on the artillery saber is about 75% intact with all its brass wire wrapping in place, the pommel, knucklebow and quillon all have a pleasant patina with some casting imperfections. The blade, fuller and edge are about as nice as any you will see, with its leather insulator still in place and a fine makers mark stamp this saber would rival any Northern made saber/sword.

I have many new pieces in my collection that I’ve yet to post at the Civil War Arsenal, I hope to photograph and write about them soon. In the mean while if you have any questions about this Artillery Saber or any of the other weapon in my arsenal feel free to contact me at civlwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West………oh, and if you have any Southern Weapons for sale maybe we can strike a deal…..I’m always in the market to buy. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see y’all soon.

Artillery Short Sword, Confederate States Armory

It’s believed this artillery short sword was manufactured at the C.S.A. Arms Factory in Wilmington/Kenansville North Carolina. The Armory was owned and operated by Louis Froelich who was born in Bavaria (later part of Germany) in 1817. He and his wife arrived in New York in 1860, eventually settling in Wilmington North Carolina during the spring of 1861 as tensions between the North and South had reached its boiling point.

Froelich was a skilled craftsman and recognized the need for arms and equipment in the Confederacy. He made many different types of Edged Weapons…….D-Handle Knives, short swords, sabers, swords, lance & pikes and just about anything else that would cut through a man or beast.

Unlike most of the edged weapons produced in the South Froelich’s quality standards was higher then most. A smart businessman Froelich named his Armory “C.S.A. (Confederate States Armory) Arms Factory”, he believed that the Confederate Government would recognize his allegiance and purchase goods from him……which they did.

My new short sword has some pitting on the blade which adds to its character, it’s sand cast brass handle has a red hue showing its high copper content and the pommel is about as cockeyed as could be……just some of the details collectors love about Southern Edged Weapons.

The scabbard (in my opinion) is not original to this type of short sword, I believe it to be from a Southern Short Sword however not this style………it’s believed that the frog stud on a Froelich manufactured scabbard would be tear drop shaped, however as you can see in the images above this example is round suggesting that it’s not a Froelich made scabbard (or maybe Froelich used subcontractors to make leather scabbards)…..maybe one day we’ll know…”.🤔

I’d like to thank John W. McAden Jr. & Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. for there book “Louis Froelich, Arms-Maker to the Confederacy” without there book much of what we know about the CSA Arms Factory would be lost to time.

If you have any questions about this Artillery Short Sword or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to ask. Attn: Eugene West, www.civilwararsenal.com thanks for stopping by.

1861 Richmond Rifle Musket

September of 1861 saw the birth of the Richmond Rifle Musket, the Richmond Armory (Old State Armoury) located at the foot of 7th Street along the banks of the James River in Richmond Virginia. The river would supply the Armory the water it needed to turn the machinery to manufacture small arms.

Approximately 2200, 61 Richmond High Humps were manufactured during the last 3 months of the year, all of these weapons lockplates were without the C.S. markings. Most all the parts used to assemble the 61 Richmond’s were ones confiscated from Harper’s Ferry during the raid by Captain Turner Ashby and his men on the 18th of April 1861.

Recently I had the opportunity to acquire a great condition 1861 Richmond Rifle Musket, it had been on my wish list for sometime. I didn’t want a representative model, I wanted the real deal with as many authentic characteristics I could find.

The stock of my new Richmond has the Maynard Primer Feed Cut and a faint but clear cartouche – SA – Salmon Adams (the Master Armoror) at Harper’s Ferry as well as the Richmond Armory, butt plate has no U.S. stamp on it, brass nose cap is screwed on and has a red hue with casting flaws, barrel has clear VP and eagle (viewed & proof) as well as the cut for the steady pin for the rear sight, the forward and middle barrel bands have no U stamped on them however the bottom band is stamped with an offset U.

With the exception of the barrel, lockplate and hammer all of the metal parts seem as though they were never polished to the standard you would expect, my best guess is the polishing machines were not set up yet, which wouldn’t prevent the weapon from functioning…..so out the door it went.

Still on my wish list is an 1864 Richmond Rifle Musket in good condition, I recently committed to another 64 Richmond Carbine which I haven’t received yet………. but should before long.

I would like to thank Paul J. Davies for his book “C.S. Armory Richmond”, his book (especially when I first started collecting Richmond’s) has helped me to be a better collector. The much sought after and often misunderstood Richmond made weapons aren’t the easiest CW weapons to collect due to all the forgeries………these days I see more fakes then authentic……..I find myself thumbing thru the pages day after day hoping to discover what I missed the day before.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions about this 1861 Richmond Rifle Musket or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact me at www.civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

Kraft, Goldschmidt & Kraft Cavalry Saber – Lewis L. & T.R Moore Wooden Scabbard

Henry Kraft, brother Peter Kraft and Maurice Goldschmidt are the name sakes of “Kraft, Goldschmidt & Kraft” formed in 1861 as military outfitters in Columbia South Carolina. Henry a jeweler and Peter a gunsmith complimented each other’s skills by making some of the South’s finest engraved swords but they also made standard issue enlisted men’s calvary sabers.

Little is known about the wooden scabbards these Cavalry Sabers are housed in. It’s believed they were made by Lewis L. and T.R. Moore of Atlanta Georgia. In Gordon Jone’s book “Confederate Odyssey” he writes that 556 “wooden saber scabbards”were delivered to the C.S. Arsenal at Charleston South Carolina in 1863. So it’s assumed this is one of those wooden scabbards made by the Moore brothers and yes there may have been additional deliveries to the 556 mentioned earlier.

This highly desirable cavalry saber and wooden scabbard serves as testament to the South’s inequality to the North’s industrial revolution, wooden scabbards may have owed as much to practicality as to desperation, thin inferior wrapped leather, small gauge single wire used on the grip, casting flaws on knucklebow and forging flaws throughout the blade. All the qualities that collectors of Confederate weapons love to study.

My new saber and scabbard is just one of my recent acquisitions, it’s been on my wish list for a while and I was able to negotiate a fair price with the seller. The saber measures a total of 39 ½” from pommel to the blade tip with the blade length of 34 ¼”. The blade has a large fuller approximately 27” long with many forging flaws. The brass knucklebow, branches and pommel all have casting flaws and the finest aged patina.

The scabbard measures a total of 36 ¾” from the throat to the bottom of the drag. It’s a testament to the craftsman who made these scabbards, that more then 150 years later they still serve the purpose they were designed for. The wooden scabbard has lots of aged patina only complimenting its history, however it does have some cracks towards the bottom half and I believe the boot style drag has been professionally replaced which does not distract from its character. The scabbard is two pieces of hollowed out carved wood held together with wrapped tin. The throat, ring bands and drag are brass with the darkest hues of brown, red and gold.

This sword and scabbard is typical of so many Southern Weapons that tell a side story of ingenuity, practicality and even desperation……maybe that’s just one of the things that fascinates me and other collectors. I’m thrilled to be the keeper of this piece of American history even if it’s only for a short while.

I’m always looking for new to the market Confederate artifacts, if you have any and are considering selling them maybe we can make a deal. Thanks for stopping by the Civil War Arsenal if you have any questions or thoughts about this posting feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

Confederate Wooden Drum Canteen

Wartime necessity revived an old school design of using carved wood, (generally cherrywood or cedar wood) for carrying water. Secured by two riveted metal bands and three tin strap loops to hold the canteens sling in place. Using the barrel and wheel making technology had changed little from the days of the 1700’s and the South would use any means necessary to supply there troops with the necessities they needed to survive.

Most surviving drum canteens are missing there original slings, which were made of both coarse woven linen or leather and my example is no different. Originally made of leather there is still a small portion of the original sling in place however most is gone. I believe the canteen to be made of cherrywood but that’s just an educated guess on my part.

No longer able to hold water due to shrinkage of the wooden slats around the face plates, however it still has its original mouth piece which is generally lost on most existing examples.

What I love most about my new drum canteen is the script carving on the face which reads “J. J. Marshall, 33 rd”. Checking the Historical Data Base leads me to believe that this Drum Canteen was carried by Jesse J. Marshall.

Jesse enlisted 7-1-1861 in Forsyth County, North Carolina as a Corporal. He mustered into Co. I, NC 33rd Infantry. He was promoted to Sergeant 2-1-1862 and then 1st Sergeant 4-1-1863. He was wounded twice, the first was 5-5-1864 at the battle of the Wilderness and the second was 11-15-1864 it doesn’t give the place of the wounding but I’m guessing it was at the siege of Petersburg.

Well, that’s all for now……thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions about the canteen or any of the others items in my arsenal contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West.

Confederate Bayonet Pike

The Civil War Arsenal’s collection of Confederate Pikes has grown again. My new acquisition was probably made in the great state of Georgia and measures a total of 82” long from from the base of the wood pole to the tip of the socket bayonet.

The fabricated bayonet pike at the top of the shaft measures a total of 25 5/8” and has a cross guard just below the attached U.S. bayonet. The attached bayonet does not have the U.S. markings like you’d find on so many existing examples.

There isn’t much information on these Southern Pikes and it’s hard to say if they were made for the home guard, militia, Navy or maybe even Artillery defense, but either way there Southern and there just cool.

Most surviving examples do not have an attached wooden shaft and I’m not convinced the wooden shaft on this example is original to the weapon. Maybe it was attached after the war and was displayed in a GAR Hall in the North or maybe a previous owner wanted a better display example for the war room, one things for sure it’s been attached to the fabricated socket bayonet for a very long time based on the color and petunia of the wood.

Check out the images of this “in the black Bayonet Pike” you’ll see lots forging flaws and hammer marks. If you have any questions about this weapon or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com, attn: Gene West…..Thanks for stopping by.

Merrill Carbine, Old Model

James H. Merrill of Baltimore Maryland manufactured guns as early as 1840 with minimal success. At the outbreak of the war the Federal Government was desperate to arm there growing army with the weapons needed to defeat the Rebel forces.

In the fall of 1861 after correcting some quality issues the Ordnance Department trail board found with the plunger,

Merrill Carbine, First Type Breech Plunger

Merrill Carbine, First Type Breech Plunger

which was made of iron and was used to push the paper cartridge into the barrel chamber acting to prevent gas from escaping from the breech. Mr Merrill secured his first Government contract for 600 Carbines, but also an equal number or cartridge boxes, cap boxes, slings and also 60,000 cartridges and 80,000 percussion caps.

The first 600 Carbines were issued to General Stoneman’s calvary consisting of the 11th Pennsylvania and the 1st New York Mounted Rifles. December 24th 1861 the Ordnance Department placed an order for an additional 5,000 Merrill Carbines at $30.00 each.

The Old Model Merrill’s were .54 caliber percussion Carbines and measured 37 3/8”overall length, weighed 6 pounds 8 ounces, the bullet weighed 400 grains with 40 grains of powder, serial numbers were stamped vertically behind the hammer and on the lever latch, the barrel band, trigger guard, butt plate and patch box were all made of brass.

The New Models differ from the previous in that the Lock Plate is stamped to the rear of the hammer the date 63,64 plus it has a small eagle forward of the hammer, no patch box and the lever latch was changed to the round button type latch.

A total of 14,255 carbines and 770 rifles along with 5,502,000 cartridges at a cost of $105,779. Calvary Regiments that were issued Merrill’s were the 27th Kentucky, 1st, 5th, and 18th New York, 1st New Jersey, 7th Indiana 1st and 3rd Wisconsin, 11th, 17th and 18th Pennsylvania and the 1st Delaware.

During the 1863-1864 Ordnance Department survey of officers using the various breech loading Carbines in field use 91 officers responded on the Merrill. The results were Best – 5, Good – 14, Fair – 13, Poor – 16, Worthless – 43.

With little business in post war the Merrill Company closed it doors in 1869.

The Merrill carbine featured is an Old Model with the New Model round button type lever latch.

Merrill Carbine, Button Type Latch

Merrill Carbine, Button Type Latch

I’m guessing it was one of those that failed in the field and was sent back for repair. Serial number 11468 puts it in the issuance range of late 1863.

This was not a arsenal stored weapon, it’s clear this carbine saw hard use and was fired many of times, oh if only it could talk.

Thanks for stopping by and 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.

Kerr Revolver Serial # 9900

Manufactured by the London Armoury Company from 1859 through 1866 with a total production of about 11,500 pieces. With its 54 bore (44 caliber) and single action this 5 shot revolver was a favorite weapon of Confederate officers and calvary men.

Over 9000 revolvers were purchased by the Confederate States in three variations. Most of the wood grips have the JS/anchor viewers mark below the trigger guard. The three variations are serial numbered as follows: 1st 1 – 1050, 2nd 1051 – 2700, 3rd 2701 – 11,500. The highest known serial number confirmed to date bearing the JS/Anchor mark is 9975.

The Kerr (pronounced Carr) was preferred in the field with its ease of maintanence and repair. Having a Lock Plate (similar to a Rifled Musket) built into the wood grip handle allowed for easy repair of its internal hardware with the removal of two screws. It wasn’t as prone to fouling as other revolvers, such as the Colt and Remington and its early pattern arbor pin retaining catch which allowed the user to change cylinders quickly without tools.

Some of the Kerr Revolvers have unquestionable provenance, serial # 1041 was presented by President Jefferson Davis to Captain Given Campbell as well as serial # 8977 which was presented to Colonel Josiah Gorgas, Confederate Chief of Ordnance by the London Armoury Company.

Well known pages from the pocket notebook (ledger) of Lieutenant G. Julian Pratt, Company H, 18th Virginia Calvary. In his ledger (Squad Roll) he documents the names of troops, revolver types, and serial numbers. Among the serial numbers mentioned in his ledger are Kerr Revolvers 9240, 9740, 9927, 9949, 9955, 9961 and 9974. He makes mention of other revolvers Adams, Tranter and Webley but we’ll save that for another time.

My new Civil War Arsenal weapon is a 3rd variation Kerr Revolver, serial number 9900. It’s in good condition for its age, however the cylinder plunger may have been replaced at one time. The wood handle is in good condition with no cracks but on the left side someone has used a small wood screw to hold the handle tight against the frame of the revolver. It’s not uncommon for the wood to separate a bit here which could lead to the grip cracking.

This revolver does not have the JS/Anchor found on so many of the Confederate imported Kerr’s. Revolver # 9974, which is in a private collection from the Pratt ledger (squad roll) doesn’t have JS/Anchor viewers mark either. It’s fair to say that this revolver #9900 which is only 74 serial numbers away from that revolver and only 27 serial numbers away the lowest revolver #9927 in the Pratt ledger (Squad Roll) is a surviving Confederate Import.

Thanks for stopping by the Civil War Arsenal, 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 and if you have any Confederate weapons you’re looking to part with let me know maybe we can strike a deal.

Gettysburg Confederate Reunion Flag

For some time now I’d been on the hunt for a historical Southern flag, but with what original Battle Flags and other Brigade and Calvary flags sell for these days I knew they’d be out the of my budget. Then recently I was on Jeff Bridgman’s website of Historical Flags and there it was, a Southern Reunion Flag that not only had visual impact, historical significance but was also in my budget. I contacted Jeff and negotiated the best price I could for this framed beauty.

My new flag is hand sewn and of satin/silk measuring 18” X 32” with gold painted text that reads “WELCOME COMRADES, JONES VA VOLS. 1863- 1913” celebrating the 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. Unlike most reunion flags of the time this flag is a bit more unusual in that it is facsimile of the 2nd National Pattern Flag, A.K.A. the Stainless Banner with its colorful Battle Flag canton and its white field. This flag was not as liked by most Confederates because of it’s white field background which could be mistaken as a flag of surrender if not viewed in full sight.

Brigadier General John M. Jones, nicknamed “Rum Jones” after his favorite pastime was promoted and served in Major General Edward Johnson’s Division who was attached to Lt. General Richard S. Ewell Second Corps. Jones Brigade consisted of Virginia Volunteers of the 21st, 25th, 42nd, 44th, 48th, and 50th infantry during the battle of Gettysburg.

In May of 63 Jones was promoted to Brigadier General in Edward “Allegheny” Johnson’s division to replace John R. Jones (not related). During the assault on Culp’s Hill, Jones suffered a severe wound in the thigh that put him out of action but he return only to be killed at the Battle of the Wilderness while attempting to rally his wavering men.

The Jones Brigade crossed Rock Creek and up the wooded slopes of Culp’s Hill towards the entrenched Union positions. Although the Southerners greatly outnumbered the enemy at this point of attack the advantage of defense clearly favored the North. Of the 1600 Jones Brigade troops that were present during the campaign 58 were killed, 302 wounded and 61 were missing for a total of 421 casualties or more the 25% casualty rate.

From the Battle of Manasas, Antietam (Sharpsburg), Gettysburg, Valley Campaign, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, 3rd Winchester, Cold Harbor all the way to Appomattox the Jones Brigade was there from start to finish. Wonder how many surviving members were present at the Gettysburg 50th anniversary? Wonder where there Camp was….near Culp’s Hill? Which of there wife’s, children, grandchildren made this flag? Guess I’ll never know the answer to all those questions……but I’m delighted to be the keeper of this war memento, at least while I’m here.

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’.