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.

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