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.

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’.

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

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.

Fake Confederate Artillery Sword

I Recently purchased a Confederate Artillery Sword that was for sale at an online auction, going against my better judgement ( because if something seems to good to be true it generally is) I put my bid in for the sword and won. In about a week my sword arrived and I quickly and carefully removed it from its packaging. I was surprised to have won the auction at the price I paid, not that I paid a little for the sword but I certainly would’a payed more if I purchased it through a reputable dealer.

After carefully studying the sword for a couple of days and having some questions about its authenticity I sent it to one of the leading experts of Confederate weapons in the country. Shortly after receiving the sword the expert called me and said he couldn’t and wouldn’t authenticate the Artillery Sword. Needless to say I was pretty bummed and embarrassed about being fooled into buying the sword. Fortunately there was a 30 day inspection period that allowed me to return the sword, leaving me the cost of shipping only out of pocket…..oh, and a little embarrassed.

I’ve written in earlier post that you should never purchase Civil War Weapons from online auctions….funny how I don’t heed my own advice. I guess it’s another learning lesson on how and how not to buy CW weapons.

I recommend to all potential buyers, DO NOT BUY CW WEAPONS FROM ONLINE AUCTIONS…..FIND A REPUTABLE DEALER AND BUY FROM THEM…….it’s safer, cheaper (in the long run) and just a better overall experience.

Carefully examine the photos of the artillery swords in the photos above, one is real and the other is fake…….can you tell? Its very hard to tell with just a photograph, most would need to handle the weapon.