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

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

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.

Richmond Style Confederate Pike

In February of 1862, Georgia Governor Joseph Brown gave an address to mechanics throughout the state of Georgia.

Let every army have a large reserve, armed with a good pike, and a long heavy side knife, to be brought upon the field, with a shout for victory, when the contending forced are much exhausted, or when the time comes for the charge of bayonets. When the advancing columns come within reach of the balls, let them move in double quick time and rush with terrible impetuosity into the lines of the enemy. Hand to hand, the pike has vastly the advantage of the bayonet, and those having the bayonet, which is itself but a crooked pike, with shorter staff, must retreat before it. When the retreat commences, let the pursuit be rapid, and if the enemy throw down their guns and are likely to outrun us, if need be, throw down the pike and keep close at their heels with the knife, till each man has hewed down, at least, one of his adversaries.

Governor Brown gave this decree to all good people of Georgia but he was also broadcasting to other States of the Confederacy as well as other armies in the South.

So that brings me to my newest Confederate Pike, thought to be made in Richmond Virginia hence its name “Richmond Pike”. This pike is in very good condition with no cracks or missing parts. The blade has some pitting which just adds to its beauty.

Overall length is 98 ½”, with the spear point blade measuring 12 ½” long, and the iron collar at the base of the pike “ which is generally missing on most examples” measures 7”. The brass collar at the base of the blade measures 2” and is held in place a what appears to be a copper rivet.

The two metal straps that hold the blade in place run down the length of the pike beneath the brass collar and measure 17”. One strap is held in place with two copper rivets and 4 metal screws and the other strap is held in place with one copper rivet and 5 metal screws.

All in all this is a fine example of a Confederate Pike in great condition. 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. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the history.

1863 Richmond Carbine

The newest weapon in the ever growing Civil War Arsenal is an 1863 Richmond Carbine that is in excellent condition with all of its accoutrements still in tact. This is not the only Richmond Carbine I own nor is it the only 63 Carbine in my Arsenal, however it is my first complete Richmond Carbine with everything in place…I.E. pinched sight, ram rod, rear sight, swivel slings,etc…..another neat feature of this Southern weapon is that it’s 100% Southern made.

Most Richmond Armory made weapons were assembled with at least some parts from battlefield pickups and or parts that were confiscated during the 1861 raid of the Harper’s Ferry Armory.

As we inspect the cavity under the lock plate we can clearly see that there is no primer cut finger feeds that would be in place if the stock was manufactured at the Harper’s Ferry Armory. The C.S. Armory, Richmond would eliminate unnecessary machining operations from the stock leaving lock plates cavity central element in the shape of a “mules foot”.

The date on the Richmond lock plate has a “die break in the lower left portion of the 8” which is thought to be a stress flaw in the stamping process during the month of October 1863. During that month the Richmond Armory assembled 300 Carbines.

I love the look of the dark “blackened” wood and hardware especially with the brass butt plate and nose cap. Unlike most Confederate weapons you’ll see these days with missing and damaged parts, probably because most of the better quality weapons are in museums and private collections, this carbine is complete in every way.

This makes 7 Richmond Carbines I currently own. I can’t say any one is my favorite, since there all my favorites for different reasons. But I do tend to favor the newest members of my collection until I purchase the next one, lol….

Hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions about this Richmond or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal please contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

Richmond Lock Plates

Richmond Lock Plates come in a number of different types.

Type1: Would be the high hump lock plates that were stamped 1861 to the left of the hammer and Richmond, Va to the right side. These Richmonds were made before the Armory was transferred to the Confederate Government and were not stamped with the C.S. over the Richmond, Va. Unfortunately I do not have an example of this type of lock plate.

Type 2: Were similar too type 1( high humps) except they would be stamped with C.S. over Richmond, Va. indicating they were weapons that were made after the Armory was transferred to the Confederate Government.

Type 3: Lock plates were lock plates (high humps) that the hump on the plate was either cut or grinded down to allow the user to quickly insert and remove the primer, since the hump usually got in the way, slowing down the loading time of even the best foot soldier.

Type 4: Lock plates that used retooled dies and reconfigured the high hump design lock plate to what most call a low hump. These plates measure approximately 1 5/8″  from the top of the hump area of the lock plate to the bottom of the plate. This alteration was the design of William Wentzel, starting in about April of 1862 throughout the course of the war.

Richmond Rifle Musket, Lock Cavity

Civil War Guns

Sitting around the house today not knowing what to do, outside the snow is coming down and there calling this the storm of the century with up to 2 feet of snow and 50 MPH winds expected, sounds cold to me….

Anyway I decided to take some photos of my history room, a.k.a. the “Civil War Arsenal”. As you can see many of my antique weapons are displayed throughout the room. I recently had a carpenter build the racks that the rifles are mounted on, all in all I think the racks came out pretty nice and compliment the rifles and corresponding bayonets.

You’ll also notice some D-Handle, Side Knives, Pikes and Artillery Swords displayed as well. Its my opinion that these weapons should be displayed so friends and family can see and handle them. I don’t quite get the fun in collecting antique guns and swords then putting them in the safe or some out of the way place where no one can appreciate them. But thats just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions.

Also scattered throughout the room are a number of paintings, historical photos, bronze castings and dozens of other historical items. You’ll notice that I am a big “John Paul Strain” fan he is perhaps one of the best artist in his field I have a bunch of his paintings. I also have some of “Karl Anderson’s” sculptures, he’s a less know artist then John however just as good and I believe the best in his field, especially when it comes to historical accuracy.

Well there you have it, another story that no one will read. Just Kidding…. If you have any questions about this post or any of the weapons in the “Civil War Arsenal” feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

1864 C.S. Richmond Carbine

Finally a 1864 Richmond that was affordable enough to add to the ever growing Civil War Arsenal. This fine Richmond Armory weapon is 100% Southern manufactured. The stock has no cut out for the Maynard Primer system on the mule’s foot, suggesting that it is wood that was shipped up from Macon Georgia and shaped in Richmond Virginia.

The lock plate has a nice brown patina with fine markings that we like to see on these models. The barrel also has a brown patina with clear V.P. and eagle inspection markings however their is no date stamped. The rear sight is missing however it does have the cut for the steady pin which holds the sight straight. The only problem with the barrel is the front sight has been filed down, however based on the color it was done a very long time ago.

The barrel bands are both stamped with the off set U (for up) which tells us they were hand stamped at the Richmond Armory, however the front barrel band is missing its sling and unlike most Richmond Carbines that are missing the rear sling that screws into the stock this one has its correct one. The butt plate and the nose cap are both brass which is common amongst 1864 Richmonds.

If you haven’t noticed by now I should tell you I love these Richmond Armory weapons. I can’t seem to get enough of them. Each and every one tells its own story, I guess that’s what fascinates me about them.

I’m hoping to add more late model Richmonds to my collection over the next year. It’s my opinion that the late 1863 and 1864 models with there brass butt plates and Macon Ga. stocks tell great stories and show case well. So with any luck you will see my collection grow with those models and if I get really lucky I just may have the opportunity to add more short rifles to my collection. I think there my favorite, but like everything else that changes with time.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my garble. I hope you enjoy the photo’s and if you have a Richmond no matter what year or condition and want to sell it, shoot me an email at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn Eugene West

1863 Richmond Rifled Musket

Another fine example of an 1863 Richmond Long Rifle pieced together from a collection of Harpers Ferry captured parts, battlefield pick up parts and Richmond Armory parts. I purchased this Richmond from William Adams at the Gettysburg show in June of 2014. William is one of the leading experts in Civil War weapons, especially in Richmond Armory and Confederate Imports.

Like many of the Richmond’s for sale these days this one has some questionable characteristics that question its authenticity; however that’s the beauty with Richmond Armory weapons. The barrel on this weapon is not Harpers Ferry nor is it Southern made; I believe it’s a Springfield barrel with inspectors marks on it. The stock is split under the barrel band closest to the breach plug with the rear portion of the stock being either a Springfield or Whitney I’m not really sure. The end of the stock closest to the muzzle is from a Springfield rifle with the metal nose cap attached with a screw.

Some of the neat features of this weapon that any collector loves to see when it comes to Richmond rifles is the 1863 lock plate, which is in fine condition, the center barrel band has an offset U (for up) on both sides which suggests that it was hand stamped at the Richmond Armory unlike the Union counterparts that were machine stamped with almost perfect placement every time. And let’s not forget the stock that’s been pieced together under the barrel band.

If this weapon is authentic, (cause whom am I to say it is or isn’t since I’ve only owned it for a short while) it’s fair to say that is was assembled late 1863 when the Richmond Armory was struggling to supply weapons to the front lines because of a shortage of black maple to make stocks from as well as quality steel to produce barrels with.

Either way I love it, I didn’t pay as much for it as I have for others and it tells a story and yes we can debate the story but sometimes that’s half the fun.

I hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions about this weapon feel free to contact me.

P.S. I’m always looking to grow my collection, if you have any Richmond’s that you’d like to sell please contact: Eugene West at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com