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 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

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

1863 Richmond Va. Carbine & Linen Sling

Summers almost over which is a bummer but I’ve been busy buying lots of new Southern Weapons for my arsenal. I haven’t been written much lately since I’ve been so busy at work. It’s a necessary evil (work that is) if I want to continue collecting and growing my weapons collection.

Just some of my new pieces include 1863 Richmond long rifle that I purchased from William Adams at the Gettysburg Civil War show back in June, E.P. Bond Enfield with the JS & anchor cartouche and hand engraved inventory # 8199 on the butt plate and 1864 Richmond Virginia Carbine out of a collection from Georgia.

But the Weapon I’ll write about today is the 1863 Richmond Carbine, I purchased this weapon from the good people at Lodgewood Mfg. I believe the carbine was on consignment and while surfing their web site I stumbled upon it, immediately I called David and negotiated a price.

The carbine is in pretty good shape especially for the price I paid. The only replacement parts is the front barrel band and the ram rod, but you can tell the ram rod has been with the weapon for a very long time and is hand made with many forging flaws throughout, oh and its missing the rear sight which is not uncommon for Richmond carbines everything else on the weapon is correct.

The wood stock is complete and has a great aged/blackened color to it, the brass tip towards the muzzle is correct with the extra thickness on the bottom to hold the ram rod. The stock has the Maynard Primer cut out under the lock plate so we know this was made with one of the condemned rifle stocks confiscated when the Harpers Ferry Arsenal was raided back in April 1861.

All the metal on the carbine except for the lock plate has a sweetened chocolate color to it, I’m thinking that this was probably a wall hanger at one time and someone polished the lock plate to make it look pretty (bummer) but at least they didn’t polish the whole carbine. The front pinched sight has been filed down a bit and the butt plate is metal with no U.S. stamp on it.

This weapon has the rear sling swivel that screws into the stock behind the trigger guard generally lost on these carbines. A month or two after I purchased this carbine, Brian Akins from “Rebel Relics” had a confederate linen sling for sale on his web site, so here I go again I call Brian a negotiate a price for the sling.

I wasn’t certain which weapon I would place my new sling on but it seemed as though it was meant for this 1863 Richmond carbine.

So there you have it another story told and another weapon for the Civil War Arsenal. My collection of Richmond rifles is growing quickly, if you have a Richmond rifle, short rifle or carbine that you’d like to sell please contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com Attn: Gene West

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the photos.

1863 Richmond Virginia Short Rifle

1863 was a tuff year for the Confederacy, their dwindling resources left them dependant on using their know how with making weapons for the war effort. Most able men were on the front lines fighting the Northern aggressors or doing whatever was needed to keep them from ravaging their homes, communities and Country.

The job of harvesting trees to make gun stocks, limber carriages and wagons was hard. These jobs were done by experienced lumber jacks, most of which had learned from their fathers. Unfortunately for the South most of these men were fighting the Yankees in one way or the other. I

When Stonewall Jackson raided the arsenal in Harpers Ferry in April of 1861 he managed to confiscate 1000’s of rifle stocks, most were 1st quality stocks that the Richmond Armory used to assemble rifles, however many were 2nd quality stocks that had defects of some sort and wouldn’t pass the quality inspection that qualified them to be issued.

Fast forward to 1863 when all the confiscated 1st quality rifle stocks had been used and the Richmond Armory could not get any black walnut wood from their suppliers, mostly in and around the Macon Georgia area. This created a big problem for the Confederacy, with no quality wood to make rifle stocks how would they continue to fight a war?

As mentioned earlier, Stonewall Jackson’s raid on the Arsenal in Harpers Ferry he confiscated 1000’s of rifle stocks which were used to make Richmond rifle muskets. But the 2nd quality stocks were not used due to their defects. Now the South was in a real jam, they were in desperate need of arms but they had no black walnut to make them with.

So they turned their attention to the 2nd quality stocks that were not perfect but better than nothing. Many of these stocks were splintered and cracked. Southern cavalry troops were in desperate need of carbines and short rifles. By this time the Northern cavalry was armed with breech loading carbines that could be loaded quickly and shoot accurately some were issued Spencer carbines that could hold up to 7 brass cartridges which made them great assets for Cavalrymen.

The Richmond Armory with their master mechanics were forced to make rifles from damaged and broken stocks. Many of these weapons will be assembled using hardware from Union weapons that were found on battlefields.

That brings us to the next example in the Civil War Arsenal. This 1863 Richmond Virginia Short Rifle is made from a mix of old Union parts and Southern parts. Categorized in Paul J. Davies book, “C.S. Armory Richmond” as a Richmond Short Rifle (Old Parts) a total of 461 were made. In June of 1864, 261 short rifles were pieced together and in July of 1864, 200 short rifles were made. There were another 850 of these Short Rifles made categorized in Mr. Davies book as (New Parts) made with 1864 lock plates and brass/copper butt plates.

This Short Rifle has a split stock under the barrel band closest to the breech plug held together with an iron U shaped staple. Removing the lock plate shows the elimination of the primer feed for the Maynard Primer System this proves that this section of the stock is Southern made, or as I like to say “Southern Wood”. However the forward portion of the stock, beyond the stapled barrel band is from a Union Rifle with an iron stock tip and iron screw. The butt plate is iron without the U.S. stamp and the barrel bands do not have the usual U on them. The barrel measures 33” long with a pinched front sight and has the VP and eagle on the left side by the breech plug.

All in all this is a fine example of the resourcefulness of the South and a great piece of American history; I hope you enjoy the photos.

I buy Richmond carbines, short rifles, and rifled muskets as well as any and all parts regardless of condition. If you have any Richmond weapons or parts for sale please contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com thanks for stopping by, Gene West

1862 C.S. Richmond VA. Rifled Musket, High Hump

Machinery captured at the Harpers Ferry Armory by Stonewall Jackson and his army in April of 1861 at the outbreak of the war are moved to government armories in the South, Richmond Virginia and Fayetteville North Carolina.

September of 1861 the Confederate Government made arrangements with the state of Virginia to take control of the armory in Richmond Virginia. It was understood that most if not all guns made at the armory would go to Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

The Richmond Armory manufactured about 40.000 musket rifles, carbines, and short rifles. They also repaired thousands of battlefield pickups and guns captured from the enemy.

That brings me to the next weapon in my Civil War Arsenal, an 1862 C.S. Richmond Virginia High Hump Rifled Musket. Made with Harpers Ferry wood, displaying a patch box. This may be one of the finest examples of a Richmond High Hump you will ever see.

This rifle musket was assembled between January & April 1862 since none of the parts except for the lock plate and the ram rod are Southern made. In March/April of 1862 the Richmond Armory retooled there dies to reconfigure the hump on the lockplates to what most call today a low profile hump, allowing the user to easily place and remove a percussion cap on the nipple of the lock plate. They also started running out of parts that were captured at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal earlier in April 1861.

We know based on examples of existing muskets made after April 1862, that they had low profile lock plates and they also had a mixture of parts that were manufactured at Harpers Ferry as well as the Richmond Armory.

You can gather more information on this with “Paul J. Davies book C.S. Armory Richmond”.

It’s my opinion all the parts on this weapon are leftover parts manufactured at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal except for the lock plate and the ram rod. I purchased this weapon at a Civil War gun show in Gettysburg PA. a few years back by a reputable dealer. Like so many of the high value weapons in my arsenal my wife did the negotiating and she probably saved me/us a couple thousand dollars. I would have paid whatever he was asking, but she’s not as emotional as I am about the Civil War, she wants the bargain.

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

1862 Richmond Carbine

It was the Fall of 1862 and the South was struggling to keep pace with their Northern counterpart. The Northern government and private contractors were manufacturing about 50,000 long and small arms a month, while in the South the two government armories in Richmond, Virginia and Fayetteville, North Carolina were struggling to piece together 2000 usable weapons a month, I say piece together because many of the Musket Rifles were made from parts captured at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal or from battlefield pickups.

Fast forward 150 years, I’m at the Civil War Gun Show at Gettysburg Pa. hoping to find the Confederate Carbine that’s on my wish list. I’m with my wife (Melinda) and her instructions are to help me find a Richmond Carbine and negotiate a price, which is her expertise. It seems as though non collectors don’t have an emotional connection so there not as likely to over pay for the item there negotiating for. So were walking up and down the aisles and there’s a few OK carbines but there in bad to poor condition and I had my heart set on a cleaner version. When finally there it is the Holy Grail of Carbines, an 1862 Richmond Virginia Low Hump Carbine in good condition. I break down the Carbine hoping that it’s historically accurate. First the lock plate then the barrel next the stock and it seems to be 100% correct. The metal all of which is Southern made (except one barrel band and the butt plate) is got a brown patina (not rust) that is smooth to the touch the barrel has a front pinched sight, the hammer is southern made everything is what you hope to find in an early model Richmond Carbine. The stock is probably the neatest of all the features the carbine has to offer.  The stock is split into 2 pieces under the barrel band closest to the lock plate and there are 2 staples holding it together. I’ve read about these types of Confederate guns and I’ve even seen a few in books but I had never held one.

So to make a long story short I fall in love with the Carbine and my wife works here magic negotiating the best price possible while I’m salivating in the next aisle of the show, I went to the next aisle because I didn’t want to show my hand to the seller who might not have moved off his price.

We spend the rest of the weekend in Gettysburg doing battlefield exploration type stuff, having dinner, drinks and the best pretzels I’ve ever eaten at the Irish Pub. Mean while I can’t wait to get home break down my new Carbine and study it from top to bottom.

We finally get home and there I go taking my new toy apart hoping to find what nobody else was able to find. I use gun oil to clean everything hoping it may reveal that one thing that everyone else missed and low and behold there it is on the left side of the stock  a name carved (ever so likely)into the wood, John Taylor.

So then it becomes my mission to learn more about John William Taylor. It turns out John Enlisted April 21st 1861 in Stafford Virginia, roster of the 9th Virginia Cavalry, Company A and served for the duration of the war. We know that all the Carbines made at the Richmond Armory were issued to Virginia Cavalrymen; we know John was promoted to Cpl. Early 1863 which should have given him leverage in getting issued the Carbine.  So it’s fair to say that This John William Taylor carried this Carbine, HOW NEAT IS THAT!

John William Taylor

John William Taylor Tin Type

This is just one of the many Civil War stories I’m hoping to share with anyone willing to listen and I encourage you to tell one of your neat stories about Civil War finds and artifacts.
If you have any thoughts or questions please contact Eugene West at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com