Capt. Richard Eggleston Wilbourn Eyewitness Account Of General Stonewall Jackson’s Wounding

On the second day of the battle of Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia experienced its greatest tactical success and, at the same time, suffered its most grievous casualty. Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson led his Confederate 2nd Corps on a devastating attack against the vulnerable right flank of the Union Army of the Potomac. The southern assault overwhelmed the unsuspecting Union XI Corps and drove it nearly three miles before the Federals managed to form a defensive position in the densely wooded region south of the Rapidan River know as the “Wilderness.” A little after 9 p.m. Gen. Jackson, anxious to continue the attack, rode forward of the still-forming main Confederate line with members of his staff to assess the situation. In the darkness southern infantrymen mistook them for Union cavalry and fired a volley into the mounted men. Three bullets struck Jackson while others in his party were killed or wounded.

Among those riding with the general was Capt. Richard Eggleston Wilbourn, Jackson’s signal officer. In the chaos that followed, Wilbourn and several others tended to the general and helped get him to an ambulance that carried him to a field hospital where Jackson’s left arm was amputated. The next day he was taken to a safe place south of Fredericksburg to recover. But a week later, on May 10, Jackson died from pneumonia. Before the general died, Capt. Wilbourn wrote an eight-page letter to Col. Charles J. Faulkner, assistant adjutant general on Jackson’s staff, describing in detail the events surrounding the general’s wounding. That letter is preserved in the society’s manuscripts collection. A complete transcription of Wilbourn’s letter appears below.

Transcription:
HQ 2nd Army Corps
May 1863
Col. C. J. Faulkner,
A.A. Gen.
Sir,
At your request I will endeavor to give you a correct account of the manner in which Gen. [Thomas J.] Jackson was wounded. Gen. J. attacked the enemy in the rear near the Wilderness Church on the evening of the 2nd of May and drove the enemy before him till about 9 o’clock p.m. when the firing ceased. The road on which we were advancing ran nearly due east & west & our line extended across this road & at right angles to it, our front being towards Chancellorsville or facing east. The gallant [Brig. Gen. Robert E.] Rodes with his veterans drove the enemy at the rate of nearly two miles per hour, and cheer after cheer rent the air as our victorious columns drove the enemy from his chosen position. I have never seen Gen. J. seem so well pleased with his success as that evening—he was in unusually fine sprits and every time he heard the cheering of our men which is ever the signal of victory—he raised his right hand a few seconds as if in acknowledgement of the blessing and to return thanks to God for the victory. About 9 o’clock the firing ceased and all seemed quiet and Gen. J. ordered Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill to the front to relieve Gen. Rodes whose command had been engaged all the evening and who was consequently ordered back to the rear to rest his troops. Gen. J. now rode to the front and meeting Gen. R. said to him “Gen. I congratulate you and your command for your gallant conduct and I shall take pleasure in giving you a good name in my report,” and rode on to the front passing Gen. Hill, who was in front getting his command in position & fortifying his line—Gen. J. ordered Capt. [James K.] Boswell, his Chief Engineer to report to Gen. Hill for orders and sent Capt. [James P.] Smith, his aide-de-camp off with

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orders. Maj. [Alexander S.] Pendleton, A. A. Gen. had previously been sent off with orders. I had just returned from carrying an order and had just reported that his order had been delivered, when he replied as is his custom “very good.” So there was no one left with Gen. J at this time, but myself and Messrs. Wm. E. Cunliffe & W. T. Wynn of the Signal Corps, and Capt. [William F.] Randolph in charge of the few couriers present. Gen. J with this escort was now at about fifty or sixty yards more or less distance in advance of Gen. Hill who was in advance of his troops. Gen. [James H.] Lane’s Brigade extended across the road just in the rear of Gen. Hill, and commended firing at us from the right for some cause I suppose taking us for the enemy and the firing extended unexpectedly along his whole line. When the firing commenced all our horses had been frightened and started off—some moving into the enemy’s lines. At the first fire some of the horses were shot from under their riders and several persons killed or wounded. Mr. Cunliffe of the Signal Corps fell in a few feet of Gen. J., mortally wounded. Gen. J.’s horse dashed off in the opposite direction, that is to the left, at the first firing, as did all of the escort who escaped this fire & who could control their horses. I was at Gen. J.’s left side & kept there. When we had gotten about fifteen or twenty paces to the left of the road, we came up in a few yards of the troops of this same Brigade on the left of the road and received their fire, as the fire had by that time extended to the extreme left of the Brigade and it was by this last fire that Gen. J. was struck in three places, viz, in the left arm half way between the elbow & shoulder, in the left wrist, and in the palm of the right hand. The troops who fired at us did not appear to be more than thirty yards off, as I could see them though it was after 9 o’clock P.M. He held his reins in his left hand which immediately dropped by his side and his horse perfectly frantic dashed back into the road, passing under the limb of a tree which took off his cap, and ran down the road towards the enemy. I followed, losing my cap at the same bush—but before I could catch his horse & when about fifty yards from where he was wounded, he succeeded in getting

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his reins in his right hand—also disabled—and turned his head towards our lines and he then ran up the road. We were now so far in advance of our troops as to be out of their range. Just as his horse got within twenty paces of where we were first fired at—Mr. Wynn & myself succeeded in catching his horse and stopping him. The firing had now ceased and no one was in sight—save we three—Gen. J. looked up the road towards our troops apparently much surprised at being fired at from that direction, but said nothing. Just then Mr. Wynn saw a man on horseback near by and told him to “ride back & see what troops those are,” pointing in the direction of our troops and he rode off at once—I then remarked, “those certainly must be our troops” and looked at Gen. J. to see what he would say, but he said nothing, though seemed to nodded assent to my remark. He continued looking up the road, standing perfectly still and uttered not a word till Mr. Wynn asked him if he was hurt much, when he replied “severely.” I saw something must be done at once, and as I did not know whether he could ride back into our lines, I asked, “Gen. are you hurt very badly,” he replied, “I fear my arm is broken.” I then asked, “where are you struck,” said he, “about half way between the elbow and shoulder.” I asked, “Gen. are your hurt any where else,” he replied, “yes, a slight wound in the right hand.” I did not think from his looks that he could ride back into our lines for I saw he was growing very weak from loss of blood, nor did I know but what that same Brigade would fire at us again if we approached their line from that directions as we were then directly between our friends and the enemy, and if any difference nearest the enemy, and I was fearful the enemy might come up and demand our surrender as there was nothing to prevent it. I could not tolerate for one moment the idea of his falling into the enemy’s hands. I then asked the question, “Gen. what should I do for

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you” when he said, “I wish you would see if my arm is bleeding much.” I immediately dismounted, remarking, “try to work your fingers, if you can move your fingers at all the arm is not broken,” when he tried & commented, “yes it is broken, I can’t work my fingers.” I then caught hold of his wrist and could feel the blood on his sleeve and gauntlet, and saw he was growing weak rapidly. I said, “Gen. I will have to rip your sleeve to get at your wound”—he had on an india rubber overcoat—and he replied “well you had better take me down too,” at the same time leaning his body towards me—and I caught hold of him—he then said “take me off on the other side.” I was then on the side of the broken arm & Mr. Wynn on the other. I replied and started to straighten on his horse to take him off on the other side, when he said “no, go ahead” and fell into my arms prostrated. Mr. Wynn took the right foot out of his stirrup & came around to my side to assist in extricating the left foot while I held him in my arms and we carried him a little ways out of the road to prevent our troops or any one who might come along the road from seeing him, as I considered it necessary to conceal the fact of his being wounded from our own troops, if possible. We laid him down on his back under a little tree with his head resting on my right leg for a pillow, and proceeded to cut open his sleeve with my knife. I sent Mr. Wynn at once for Dr. [Hunter] McGuire & an ambulance as soon as I ripped up the india rubber, I said to him that I would have to cut off most of his sleeve, when he said “that is right, cut away every thing.” I then took off his opera glass & haversack which were in my way—remarking, “that it was most remarkable that any of us had escaped alive” & he said “yes it is providential.” I was then under the impression that all the rest of the party accompanying him had been killed or wounded, which was not far from the truth. Gen. J. then said to me “Capt. I wish you would get me a skilful surgeon.”

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I said “I have sent for Dr. McGuire and also an ambulance, as I am anxious to get you away as soon as possible, but as Dr. McGuire may be some distance off, I will get the nearest Surgeon to be found, in case you should need immediate attention,” and seeing Gen. Hill approaching the spot where we were, I continued “there comes Gen. Hill, I will see if he can’t furnish a Surgeon,” and as Gen. H rode up, I said “Gen. H have you a surgeon with you, Gen. J. is wounded”—said Gen. H. “I can get you one” and turned to Capt. B[enjamin] W. Leigh who was acting aid de camp to him and told him to go to Gen. [Dorsey] Pender & bring his surgeon. Gen. H. dismounted and came to where Gen. J. was and said “Gen. I hope you are not badly hurt.” Gen. J. “my arm is broken.” Gen. H. “Do you suffer much.” Gen. J. “it is very painful.” Gen. Hill pulled off his gloves which were full of blood, and supported his elbow and hand, while I tied a handkerchief around the wound. The ball passed through the arm, which was very much swollen, but did not seem to be bleeding at all then, so I said, “Gen. it seems to have ceased bleeding, I will first tie a handkerchief tight around the arm” to which he said, “very good.” I then said, “I will make a sling to support your arm,” to which he replied, “if you please.” About this time the Surgeon of Pender’s Brigade, Dr. [Richard R.] Barr came up and Gen. Hill announced his presence to Gen. J. & Gen. H. offered a tourniquet to fold around the arm but as it was not bleeding at the time and seemed to be doing very well, it was not put on. The Surgeon went off a few minutes for some thing & Gen. J. then asked in a whisper “is that man a skillful surgeon.” Gen. H. said, “he stands high in his Brigade, but he does not propose doing any thing—he is only here in case you should require immediate aid of a surgeon or till Dr. McGuire reaches you” Gen. J. “very good.”

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At this time Capt. [Richard H. T.] Adams, signal officer offered Gen. Hill whiskey for Gen. J.—which Gen. H. asked him to drink. He hesitated and I also asked him to drink it, adding that it would help him very much. Gen. J. “had you not better put some water with it”—which was the cause of his hesitation. Gen. H. and I both insisted on his drinking it so and taking water after it, which he did. I then said “Gen. let me pour this water over your wound,” to which he said “yes, if you please, pour it so as to wet the cloth,” which I did & asked “what can I do for your right hand” Gen. J. “don’t mind that it is not a matter of minor consequence—I can use my fingers & it is not very painful.” About this time Lts. Smith & [Joseph G.] Morrison came up and Lt. Smith unbuckled his sword & took it off. About this time Capt. Adams halted two Yankee skirmishers in a few yards of where Gen. J. lay and demanded their surrender. They remarked, “we were not aware that we were in your lines.” Gen. Hill seeing this immediately hurried off to take command, saying to Gen. Jackson that he would conceal the fact of his being wounded. Gen. J. said, ” yes, if you please.” Lt. Morrison then reported that the enemy were in a hundred yards and advancing & said, “let us take the Gen. away as soon as possible.” Some one then proposed that we take him in our arms, which Gen. J. said, “no, if you will help me up, I can walk.” He was immediately raised and started off on foot with Capt. Leigh on his right side and some one, I am not sure who was on the left side to support him. When he walked a few paces he was placed on a litter borne by Capt. Leigh, Jno J. Johnson and two others whose names I am not certain of. Jno. J. Johnson of Co. “H” 22 Va. Battalion was wounded while per-

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forming this duty and his arm afterwards amputated at the socket. I could take no part in bearing the litter as I had not sufficient strength in my right arm to assist, in consequence of a wound received in a previous engagement, so I got on my horse and rode between Gen. J. and the troops who were moving down the road, to prevent if possible them seeing him and was leading a horse belonging to one of the litter bearers, which I also endeavored to keep between him & the troops in order to screen him more effectively. These troops seemed very anxious to see who it was that was wounded, they kept trying to see and asking me who it was, and seemed to think it was some Yankee officer as he was being brought from the front of our lines. To all of these questions I simply answered, “it is only a friend of mine.” Gen. J. said “Capt. when asked just say it is a Confederate officer.” One man was so determined to see who it was that he walked around me in spite of all I could do to prevent it & exclaimed in the most pitiful tone, “Great God that is old Gen. Jackson,” when I said to him, “you mistake it is only a Confederate officer—a friend of mine.” He looked at me in doubt & wanted to believe but passed on without saying any more. As soon as Gen. J. was place in the litter the enemy opened a terrific fire of musketry, shell, grape & C. which continued for about half an hour—to all of which Gen. J. was exposed. One of the litter bearers had his arm broken but did not let the litter fall—then another man just after this, fell with the litter, in consequence of getting his foot tangled in a vine. It was entirely accidental & he expressed great regret at it. Gen. J. rolled out & fell on his broken arm, causing it to com-

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mence bleeding again and very much bruising his side. He gave several most pitiful groans—but previous to this he made no complaint and gave no evidence of suffering much. After this he asked several times for sprits, which it was very difficult to get. He was much in need of a stimulant at this time as he was losing blood very fast. I went to a Yankee hospital near by and tried to get some sprits for him from their surgeons, but they had none. At this time Dr. McGuire & Maj. Pendleton got up & Dr. McGuire found him in an ambulance very much exhausted from loss of blood & he gave him some sprits—which seemed to revive him somewhat. He was then carried in the ambulance a mile or two to the rear. Just here Maj. P said to me “Capt W., Gen. Hill is slightly wounded in the leg and Gen. Rodes is in command & requests me to send for Gen. Lee & ask him to come here. I wish you would go to Gen. [Robert E.] Lee with this intelligence and send for Gen. [J. E. B.] Stuart. There are a plenty here to take care of Gen. J & you have done all you could do.” I asked Capt. Randolph of the couriers to go for Gen. Stuart and he started for Gen. Stuart. I reached Gen. Lee about an hour before day and found him laying on the ground [a]sleep but as soon as I spoke to Maj. [Walter H.] Taylor, he asked who it was & when told, he told me to come & take a seat by him & give him all the news. After telling of the fight & victory, I told him Gen. J. was wounded—describing the wound—then he said, “thank God it is no worse, God be praised that he is yet alive.” He then asked me some questions about the fight & said “Capt. any victory is dearly bought that deprives us of the services of Jackson even temporarily.” When I returned to Gen J. his arm had been amputated & he was doing well.

Respectfully
R. E. Wilbourn
Capt. & Chief Signal Officer
2nd Army Corps

Confederate Bridle Cutter Pike, Louis Froelich

During the war on Northern aggression the C.S.A Arms Factory in Wilmington North Carolina had contracts to manufacture two types of lances. The first was a straight steel blade, 18” long X 2” at its widest point. Secured to the hickory shaft with a 1” iron pin that was flattened at both ends. The hickory shaft measured approximately 7’ – 9” long with an iron collar at the bottom end of the shaft that was held in place with an iron pin.

The second type of lance was similar to the first with the addition of a sickle shaped bridle cutter. The sickle and the blade are actually two different pieces held in place with the 6 ¾” iron collar. This primitive type of weapon would have been used against Calvary troops charging artillery batteries.

If the user could hook the sickle portion of the blade around the leather bridle portion of the charging Calvary Horsemen they would cut the bridle leaving the rider of the horse with no control and vulnerable to attack from foot soldiers. I’m not certain of any documented use of these weapons but it doesn’t mean they weren’t used in rare instances. By the time of the American Civl War, most of these types of Napoleonic weapons were obsolete…..remember Calvary-men had breach loading carbines such as Sharps and Spencer’s that could shoot up to 7 shots before reloading.

Exactly how many lances and bridle cutters were made by Louis Froelich and Company is not known, but extant examples are extremely rare. An article in the “Home Industry” April 28th, 1864 edition of the Wilmington Journal reported that Froelich manufactured 3,700 lance spears during the war. It’s not clear how many of the 3,700 were bridle cutters but it’s the authors opinion that it’s few at best. As of this blog post there are only 7 Louis Froelich bridle cutters know to exist.

Which brings us to the newest weapon in the Civil War Arsenal. Over the past year or so I’ve been on a mission to grow my collection of Confederate poles of all types….Pikes, Lances, Bridle Cutters and Flagstaffs. They make great conversation pieces and display nicely in my War Room/Arsenal. Most collectors like the guns and edged weapons (I do too) but don’t normally collect pole type weapons. Probably because there hard to display, due to there size and even though they were made during the war not many were used during in battle……and many collectors want weapons that have provenance, not pieces that sat in arsenals waiting to be used.

This Bridle Cutter is in great condition, it’s hickory shaft has no cracks and the iron has a nice darkened patina to it. It even has its iron collar at its base which is usually missing on other pikes and lances. Just another great piece of American history with North Carolina provenance, you gotta love the South.

I’d like to thank John W. McAden, Jr. and Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr., there book “Louis Froelich Arms-Maker to the Confederacy”. Without collectors and enthusiasts like them we would know little about the history of pieces like this.

If you have any questions about this Bridle Cutter or any of the other pieces in the Civil War 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

Kenansville D-Guard Artillery Short Sword

The following Confederate Short Sword is attributed to Louis Froelich of Wilmington North Carolina. Mr. Froelich born 1817 in Bavaria (Germany), he and his family soon traveled to Liverpool England where he worked as a mechanic/machinist. June of 1860 he and his family leave Liverpool for New York. By the spring of 1861 he and his family are living in Wilmington North Carolina.

At the start of the War Of Northern Aggression, Wilmington was North Carolina’s busiest seaport and largest city with a thriving German community and probably the reason Froelich chooses it for his home. He takes a job working at the Wilmington Button Manufactory where he is soon promoted as “Director” but the factory closes in the summer of 1861.

Not one to sit idle the highly skilled Froelich recognizes the need for arms and equipment the new Southern Government would need. He soon starts manufacturing quality edged weapons, such as Bowie Knifes, Swords, Pikes, and D-Handles. In September 1861 he partners with a Hungarian immigrant named Bela Estvan and they name there weapons manufacturing firm “Wilmington Sword Factory”. Although the circumstances surrounding their business connection remain unclear, Froelich apparently planned to produce the weapons while Estvan would handle sales and distribution.

Soon after opening the Wilmington Sword Factory they change the name to C.S.A. Arms Factory. The change perhaps reflects the owners concern that potential customers might mistakenly believe the Wilmington Sword Factory was limited to the manufacture of only swords. The change also reflected there devotion to the Confederate States of America. There loyalty apparently impressed the government in Richmond and led to a lucrative arms contract.

During the morning hours of February 1863 the Confederate States Armory catches fire and destroys the industrial complex. Shortly after he dissolves his partnership with Bela Estvan and relocates his armory in Kenansville, North Carolina.

In July 1863 the Union Army storms the town and burns the factory. Not one for giving up so quickly Froelich rebuilds and by November 1863 is producing edged weapons, knapsacks and accoutrements. He is financially troubled at this point due to relocation and fires but he continues to do whatever he can for the Southern Government.

After the war Froelich and his family become farmers, planting orchards of apples trees, pear trees, peach trees, plum, apricot and fig trees. Records show that the family had profits of $2663.25 from their agricultural pursuits in 1870. He must have been as good as a farmer as he was a businessman. Louis Froelich dies of consumption (tuberculosis) in Halifax County N.C. October 27,1873 at the age of 56.

Louis Froelich’s legacy as an arms maker to the Confederacy survives today. The Bavarian craftsman immigrated to America seeking a new life, only to find himself situated in the South as war breaks out. He took advantage of the opportunity to provide for his growing family by manufacturing the much needed weapons and equipment for North Carolina and Confederate Troops.

His skills as an industrial craftsman are evident in examples of his now scarce swords, sabers, bayonets, pikes and Bowie Knives. They were all of high quality and were widely used by the Army of Northern Virginia. For the duration of the war North Carolina armed and supplied its 125,000 troops more effectively than any other Southern State, in large part because of the efforts of independent industrialists like Louis Froelich.

So is everybody still with me? I’m hoping that you haven’t zoned out by now,lol…..

I have the pleasure of introducing the newest member of the Civil War Arsenal, which is a Artillery Short Sword sometimes referred to as a Kenansville D-Handle or D-Guard. It’s overall length is 21” long, the blade measures 15 ¾”. The spear point blade is about ¼” thick towards the center of the oval shaped cross section. The grip handle is made of walnut and the guards are of steel stock. The grip is basically round in shape except for a flattened area on either side running up about 3 ¼” up from the guard.

Scabbards are extremely rare especially ones with the leather throat belt loop still in tact. The example that we see here is far from complete but it is a survivor with probably about 65% of it intact. The leather they used for these knifes was usually poor quality which became brittle and cracked easy. The design flaw to this scabbard was the leather belt loop would rub against the D-Handle guard. Over time this would tear though the leather loop dropping it from the belt it was attached too hindering it useless.

So that just about does it for now, I hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions about this Knife or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact me.
Attn: Gene West civilwararsenal@yahoo.com

CS Star, Confederate Artillery Short Sword

Even though considered scarce this type Short Sword is one of the more common Confederate edged weapons.

These Short Sword are often reproduced so the buyer needs to beware, however there are many ways of identifying an authentic sword versus a reproduction. If you look closely at the handle you will clearly see the casting flaws. The star at the top of the pommel rarely has the five points you would normally see if it were perfect and even if one side did the other side wouldn’t. The CS on the guard at the base of the handle are barely readable. The handle is hollow and many have holes in them, some were even filled with lead. You’ll also see where the mechanics filed the rough edges.

The brass handles have a high copper content that’s often very noticeable. The blades are crude but cleaner in appearance then the handles, but all still have there flaws. There is a single nonstop fuller that’s about 13” long which is never straight. Believed by many to have been manufactured in Selma Alabama or Macon Georgia.

So that brings me to the next example in the Civil War Arsenal. The overall length of this Short Sword is 24 ½” long with a handle of 5 ½” and blade 19”. It weighs 2 ¾ lbs which would make it cumbersome to carry, especially on a long march with all the gear a foot soldier would have to carry.

Typical of many Confederate weapons you will never find two alike, but I believe that’s the beauty in them. Thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions about this Short Sword or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal email me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

Joslyn Carbine, Model 1864

The Northern Industrial machine was ramping up in 1862. With one loss after another the Union Army was in need of not just better foot soldiers but better weapons to arm them. Procurements were being made with dozens of Northern businessmen to make as many carbines and rifles regardless of the weapons performance. Much of this changed as the war went on but in the early days of the war it was a Mecca of opportunity for anyone who had the know how and ability to make guns.

The inventor of the Joslyn was Benjamin F. Joslyn of Worcester, Massachusetts but in late 1859 William C. Freeman acquired the rights to the weapon and with the help of Senator J.L. Williams received his first Government contract. The early Joslyn carbines were percussion rifles but by October 1861 Benjamin received a patent for a rim fire design that he would implement with the Joslyn 1862 Model.

As the war raced on and there being a urgent need for as many Calvary weapons as the Union Army could purchase, Benjamin received many contracts from the U.S. Government, Ordinance Department, but he could never fill the orders as quickly as promised but it didn’t stop the Government from making contractual commitments with him.

Finally in November 1863, Benjamin after many alterations and patent changes to the Joslyn carbine received his biggest contract from the U.S. Ordnance Department. He was to furnish 15,000 Carbines at a price of $23.50 each. The order stated that the first 1000 would be delivered within 60 days and then 3000 a month until the contract was filled, however patent changes to the breech block delayed this fulfillment. Not until July of 1864 were the first carbines delivered.

The Joslyn Carbine, Model 1864 was a flawed weapon by most officers standards. It had gone through a bunch of improvements since the start of the war but still didn’t meet most evaluators expectations. Nine Officers reported test firing the Joslyn during the 1863-64 Ordnance Department survey. Only one considered it good while the others considered it either poor or worthless. The complaints on the carbine were the breechblock had a tendency to blow open while firing the weapon and there was a problem chambering the Spencer Ammunition. It seems as though the ammunition problem was faulty ammo and improper chamber tolerances for some of the Spencer ammunition.

During the coarse of the war a total of 11,261 Joslyn carbines were purchased by the U.S. Ordinance Department as well as 515,416 cartridges at a cost of $12,935. As the war came to a close there wasn’t much need for carbines, especially carbines that weren’t very good so the Joslyn Firearms Company closed its doors in 1866 and disposed of its equipment at a Sheriffs sale in June 1868.

Calvary regiments which were issued Joslyn carbines were: 4th and 8th Indiana, 1st New York Dragoons, 19th New York, 13th Tennessee, 9th Pennsylvania, 3rd West Virginia, 1st Wisconsin, 1st Nebraska, 1st Nevada and the 11th Ohio.

So that brings me to the next example in the Civil War Arsenal. This 1864 Model Joslyn has a Serial # 6620 and is in relatively good condition. With a crisp trigger mechanism and a clean stock this Josyln probably never saw much service. It has two cartouches on the left side of the stock suggesting that it was issued and likely stored in an armory after the war.

I’d like to thank John D. McAulay for his historical research and devotion. His book “Carbines of the Civil War” is a must for anyone collecting Union Carbines. This book is an easy read and great reference for Civil War weapons collectors, if you don’t own it, buy it now.

If you have any questions about this carbine or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Eugene 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

Clip Point D Guard Bowie Knife

Here’s a Confederate D Handle knife that’s been in my collection for quiet some time. It doesn’t get as much respect as some of the other D-handle knives due to its size, but it would have been the perfect knife for a foot soldier to carry since it was small and lighter in weight then most of the heavy and clumsy D-Handles.
The overall size of the knife is 15 ½” long, with the handle measuring 5” and the blade measuring 10 ½”. This Clip point Knife has a 2 ¾” false edge and the blade is 1 ½” wide. The Blacksmith kept the natural sweep of the blade which occurs when the edge is forged.
It’s my guess this knife was made from an old file, even though there are no teeth marks on the blade. It’s pretty simplistic in nature but still very well made. The Guard is thick at the pommel where it’s fastened to the handle (about 1/8”) but the area of the quillon where the blade meets the handle is very thin, measuring about 1/16” or thinner. Proof that the D-Handle was crafted with a hammer by a blacksmith or mechanic.
The blade and the guard both have a nice blackened patina to them however the ferrule at the base of the handle appears to be pewter, which may be the neatest feature of the knife. The scabbard is long gone to time but it’s my opinion it would have been leather or pigs hide.
Well there you have it another Confederate D-Handle Bowie Knife. If you have any questions about this knife or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to email me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

Petersburg Virginia, Civil War Battlefield

Virginia and Civil War equals Battlefields, and I love it. The Petersburg National Battlefield is a historic landmark for Civil War geeks and American history fans to explore. So many monuments, exhibits, walking paths, you can spend days there exploring.

The siege of Petersburg lasted nearly 10 long months. From June of 1864 thru April of 1865 the largely out numbered Confederate Army lead by General Beauregard protected Richmond from capture with intricate defensive lines of trenches and earthworks throughout the high ground.

With nearly 70,000 casualties during the siege ( 42,000 Union and 28,000 Confederate) on June 18th 1864 the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery sustained the largest loses of any regiment as 850 men advanced across a cornfield to capture a Confederate line. With no Union troops to protect there flanks the Confederates opened fire mowing down 632 Union troops in a mere 10 minutes, unfortunately for the Maine regiment not one man reached the Confederate line.

But the Battle of the Crater is what Petersburg is mostly known for. The 48th Pennsylvania Infantry tunneled a mine shaft 500 feet long, under the area where the Confederate line was. On July 30, 1864 they packed cavities under the Confederate line with 8000 pounds of explosives and ignited the fuse. The blast killed more then 300 South Carolinians and created a large gap measuring 170” long, 110” wide, 30” deep in the Confederate line.

Brigadier General William Mahone is largely credited with rallying the Confederate troops, counter attacking the Union troops as they rushed into the crater, he would later say it was like a “turkey shoot”. The Union attack failed due to poor planning and leadership. Union Casualties were staggering, with 504 killed, 1881 wounded 1413 missing or captured for a total of 3,798 versus Confederate casualties of 1491 with 361 killed, 727 wounded and 403 missing or captured. Many of the Union losses were from Ferrero’s United States Colored Troops. Major General Ambrose Burnside was relieved of his command shortly after his role in the debacle.