C.S. Armory Fayetteville, Type III Rifle & Linen Sling

Fayetteville Armory Rifles are some of the most sought after Confederate weapons made. Most Southern weapons made during the war didn’t have much quality control, with most showing obvious flaws in the stock, barrel and hardware. Most collectors including myself find the flaws unique to the weapon and love the story behind the flaws, however the Fayetteville Rifles were above the the quality standard for all Confederate weapons.

Union weapons went through a vigorous inspection process, if the viewing officer found flaws in the quality of the weapon he would reject it sending it back to the maker. The maker then would not get paid for the weapon potentially losing future contracts.

In the South it was a very different story, most armories and manufactures of weapons didn’t have much of a quality system. At the Richmond Armory, the Souths largest weapons factory there was a viewing process but most of the weapons that were viewed and proofed would not pass Northern standards.

However it was a much different story at the Fayetteville Armory. Phillip Burkhart, the former Harper’s Ferry mechanic and John Hall protégé served as master armourer for the Fayetteville Armory. He along with many of the mechanics, craftsman and laborers that worked at the Harper’s Ferry Armory were responsible for making the different versions of Fayetteville Rifles throughout the war.

Some of the equipment that was confiscated by Stonewall Jackson at Harper’s Ferry in May of 1861 was sent by rails to Richmond Virginia the rest was sent to the Fayetteville Armory in North Carolina along with many of the expert mechanics. This would give the Fayetteville Armory the quality equipment and expert craftsman they needed to make such a quality weapon that would even pass the strict quality inspections in the North.

The newest addition to the Civil War Arsenal is an 1863 Fayetteville Rifle Type III. Except for the S style hammer the rifle is a close copy to the U.S. Model 1861 rifle-musket. Clean straight lines and brass hardware make the Fayetteville a hard weapon not to like. The type III is different from the type II with its 1863 dated Lock Plate made entirely at Fayetteville. The Type II Lock Plates were made at the Richmond Armory and were very similar to the Richmond Lock Plates with the low profile hump, only difference is the markings on the plate.

Similar to the U.S. Model 1855 rifle the Fayetteville was designed with a stud on the right side of the muzzle for affixing a saber bayonet. Thousands of these fish scale bayonets were fabricated at the armory in 1862-1863. The saber bayonet was replaced with a socket bayonet by late 1863 on the Type IV Fayetteville’s for the remaining portion of the war.

I am looking for a fish scale Saber Bayonet, if anyone knows of one please please contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West. Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any questions about this rifle or any of the other weapons in my Arsenal feel free to ask…..oh and I’m always on the hunt for new weapons to add to my collection, especially Confederate. If you have any and are interested in selling them give me a shout maybe we can make a deal.

1863 Dickson, Nelson & Co. Rifle

With the outbreak of the war in 1861, William Dickson (a planter from Alabama), Owen Nelson (an attorney from Tuscumbia) and Lewis Sadler (a physician) started the Shakanoosa Arms Company. Operations began at there first plant in Buzzard Roost, Colbert County, Alabama. A $7000.00 advance for funding to manufacture U.S. Model 1841 “Mississippi” type rifles for the state of Alabama was received.

In the summer of 1862 the Shakanoosa Arms Company was forced to move its operation to Rome Georgia in fear of the nearing Union forces, after a while at this location the armory again suffered a setback when there building was destroyed by fire. Again they were forced to move to Adairsville, Georgia under the name Dickson, Nelson & Company and in August 1863, Union advances forced them have to move further south to Macon, Georgia. Finally in February of 1864 the company moved to its final home in Dawson, Georgia.

Rifles under the supervision of inspecting officer, Captain B.J. McCormick were to conform to the U.S. Model 1841 Mississippi pattern, having 33” barrels of .58 caliber and stocks 48” in length. Brass hardware on these rifles included a straight butt plate, two piece trigger guard, barrel bands and nose cap with many of these parts having casting flaws throughout and some having reddish color indicating high copper content.

It’s estimated that about 3600 rifles were manufactured from 1862 thru 1865, but there’s no documentation to prove that. It’s the authors opinion that this number is way to high for the number of surviving rifles. Most of the surviving specimens are dated 1864 and 1865.

“Flaydermans Guide to Antique American Firearms” states that there are only 3 recorded 1863 dated lockplates. Two of these lockplates are not attached and the other is on a two-band rifle.

Which brings me to the newest member in the “Civil War Arsenals” ever growing collection. This 1863 Dickson, Nelson Rifle is truly a rare Southern Beauty. Based on Flaydermans Guide, this new addition is the rarest example of any weapon the Arsenal has to offer, making it the forth known 63 lockplate and only the second one attached to a stock.

I first saw this rifle a couple years ago at a gun show in Gettysburg, the fellow that was selling it had a large collection of Southern Weapons. I purchased another from him at the time (63 Fayetteville) that is one of the nicest examples in my collection. I had made him an offer on this rifle but he wasn’t willing to negotiate off his price. Fast forward two years and I ran into him at another Civil War Show and it turned out he still had the rifle. So after a little bit of haggling we settled on a price and I became the new owner of this 1863 Dickson, Nelson Rifle.

This rifle is in very good condition considering its history. The lock plate is dated 1863 ALA. behind the hammer which means the rifle was manufactured through contract for the state of Alabama. Forward the hammer is stamped DICKSON, NELSON & CO. and C.S. on the bottom line. The upper left surface of the barrel is date stamped ALA. 1863/65 (can’t really tell due to pitting)and the under surface of the barrel is stamped with a “windmill” or “Maltese Cross”armorers mark, attributed to Nathaniel D. Cross an inspector at the Selma Arsenal. The rear sight is fixed and located 3 1/8” forward the barrels breech. All of the brass hardware has casting flaws and lots of great patina. The barrel shows three broad lands and grooves and the ram rod appears to be original with some pitting but still showing its thread. The stock is in extremely good condition with the exception of what appears to be bug/termite damage on the left side by the butt plate, but it’s my opinion that this damage was original to the weapon when manufactured and not after the war while in storage, but it’s only my opinion. Included with the purchase of this weapon was an original confederate linen sling which compliments the rifle well based on its condition. I’m not certain it’s original to the rifle but based on the sling folds it’s been on the rifle for a long time.

So there you have it, yet another addition to the Civil War Arsenal. I hope you enjoy the photos, if you have any questions or thoughts on this rifle feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Eugene West, hope to hear from you soon

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 Fayetteville Rifle, Type IV and Bayonet


My story starts in the spring of 2013 at the Gettysburg Civil War show; I was there to purchase a Southern weapon specifically a Richmond short rifle but I never found the one that worked for my collection so I wound up buying a wonderful Confederate D handle Bowie knife that was made from a rasp/file, which I will write about in the near future.

While I was walking around looking at all the neat Civil War artifacts on what must have been 200 tables I came across a gentlemen who was selling off his collection of Confederate Weapons. He is a gun collector whose interest has changed from Confederate to WWII German items. He must have had about 6 or 7 Confederate rifles but the one that stood out to me was a 1863 Fayetteville Type IV rifle with a Fayetteville Bayonet and linen sling that was priced at $14.500.00.

Unlike the dealers that you meet at the shows who are generally willing to talk and negotiate as much as possible to secure the sale this gentlemen was there to sell his collection but wasn’t very willing to negotiate. He knew what the items were worth and he was going to sell them for that price.

After passing his table 3 or 4 times I approached him to inquire about the Fayetteville we exchanged some small talk and then I made him a fair cash offer on the Fayetteville. My offer was lower the then asking price which he did not except but he made me a counter offer which I didn’t except. In the end he was firm at $11,000.00 which I wasn’t willing to do.

Over the next 5 or 6 months I struggled with my decision not to except his counter offer of $11,000.00 for the rifle and worst of all I didn’t get his contact information (so I didn’t have a name, email, or phone # to negotiate after the show was over). All my research suggested the gun was indeed worth the asking price especially with the Bayonet and sling, so needless to say I was disappointed with myself that I didn’t seize the opportunity and close the deal. I thought I would never have that chance again to purchase a complete stand of rifle at that price.

So fast forward to the Fall of 2013 at the Gettysburg show and all I can think about is the Fayetteville that I’d seen 6 months before. I walked up and down the aisles looking at all the neat Southern pieces, and there were some really nice items for sale so I was certain I was coming home with a new piece for my collection. I had almost completed my first pass of all the tables, disappointed that I hadn’t come across the gentleman with the Fayetteville then low and behold there it is the Fayetteville in all its glory.

I scurry over to the table and introduce myself as the guy who made the cash offer for the rifle at the last Gettysburg show, he remembers my offer and immediately engages with me. After talking with him for a while it seems as though we both want to strike a deal. However the deal that is to be struck is a cash deal and I don’t have the cash with me. So we exchange info. and meet each other a week after the show and the deal was done.

My new Fayetteville is an 1863 Type IV model that is in very good condition unfortunately someone over the years removed the brown finish on the barrel and polished the brass hardware but it must have been done decades ago because the patina is coming back. The stock is in extremely good condition and the action on the lock plate and trigger mechanism is crisp. The left side of the rifle has old world script initials J.E.W. I believe that these rifles were only issued to North Carolinians from certain Co. I will try and research the soldier who carried this weapon during the Civil War.

The Fayetteville Armory, in Fayetteville, North Carolina Altered many seized captured flintlock pistols and long arms. After Stonewall Jacksons raid of the Harpers Ferry Arsenal in 1861 many of the machines to manufacture rifles were taken to Fayetteville North Carolina, which was one Confederate States Arsenals during the war, another being the Richmond Armory.

Many of the experienced workers from Harpers Ferry went to Fayetteville to help set up the machines and to make the rifles that were so needed for the Southern cause. This didn’t stand well with the Government of Virginia who felt by default that the experienced workers from Harpers Ferry should build rifles for the state of Virginia since after all Harpers Ferry was in Virginia at the time.

Anyway I can drone on but you probably won’t listen, haha.

There were 4 types of Fayetteville Rifle made throughout the war.

1. Type I; Early production 1861-1862 was made from captured Harpers Ferry parts. The Lock plate has a high hump (like the early Richmond’s) shape. Lock marks are C.S.A. Fayetteville, N.C. some have brass patch box most do not have C.S.A. on the butt plate.

2. Type II; Low hump and marked with eagle motif, C.S.A. Fayetteville, forward of the hammer. Date of 1862 behind the hammer. Many of the parts are captures Harpers Ferry parts, most brass butt plates are stamped C.S.A.

3. Type III; Lock plate redesign to the contour of the U.S. Model 1861 musket. Markings on rifle are like Type II; however the hammer has a distinctive S contour that is recognizable from across the room and there is a lug for a saber bayonet added to the right side of the muzzle.

4. Type IV; Similar to type III with the exception of slight variance in the eagle die stamp. Accepts a socket bayonet with the front sight acting as a bayonet lug. Lock markings are 1863, 64, 65.

Between 8000 and 9000 rifles of all types were made throughout the war, but most about 5000 were of Type IV. The Barrel is 33”long secured by 2 barrel bands and the hardware on the rifle is brass, many consider this to be the finest quality rifle the South made and it may be the prettiest.

The Bayonet is not an original Fayetteville it is a Drake Bayonet which is almost exact to the Fayetteville made ones. It has an overall length of 22 ½” with the blade being 20 ¼” from behind the neck to the end of the blade. The sleeve on the socket is stamped A.19, probably having to do with a rack # or Co. and infantry #.