Jefferson Davis Thank You Letter To Revd. Jacob A. Walter & Signed Carte De Visite

With the collapse of the Confederacy in the Spring of 1865 Jefferson Davis his wife and company headed South to prevent from being captured by Union troops. With the death of Abraham Lincoln April 15, 1865 his successor Andrew Johnson issued a $100,000 reward for the capture of Davis and accused him of helping to plan the assassination.

President Jefferson Davis, C.S.A. 1861-1865

President Jefferson Davis, C.S.A. 1861-1865

The search for J. Davis intensified through the end on April into the early days of May. Eventually he was captured by Union Troops on May 10 in Irwinville, Irwin County Georgia. On May 19, 1865, Davis was imprisoned in a casemate at Fortress Monroe Virginia.

Jefferson Davis Capture Site

Jefferson Davis Capture Site

Irons were riveted to his ankles at the order of General Nelson Miles, who was in charge of the fort. Davis was allowed no visitors, and no books except the Bible. With his health failing the attending physician warned his life was in danger, but his treatment continued for some months until late autumn when he was finally given better quarters. General Miles was transferred in mid-1866 and Davis treatment and health continued to improve.

General Nelson Miles

General Nelson Miles

While Davis was imprisoned the trial for the conspirators of Lincoln’s death continued, Mary Surratt was found guilty an hanged by the neck until death. Father Jacob Ambrose Walter’s was especially outspoken in the defense of Surratt who was a devout Catholic and a parish member of Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church, Washington DC. The pastor stood beside her on the gallows at her execution praying and holding her hands moments before the trap door swung open snuffing her life.

Mary Surratt

Mary Surratt

Still imprisoned, Davis’s treatment and health improved and he was given more access to family, friends and supporters. During this time he was visited a great many times by Pastor Jacob A. Walter who believed that Davis wasn’t guilty of the treasonous acts the Federal Government had accused him of.

Pastor Jacob Ambrose Walter

Pastor Jacob Ambrose Walter

Not only did Davis receive support from the local Catholic Church but Pope Puis IX after learning that Davis was a prisoner sent him a portrait inscribed with the Latin words “Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis, et ego reficiam vos, dicit Dominus” which corresponds to Matthew 11:28….”Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you, sayeth the Lord”.

The hand written letter of Jefferson Davis to Reverend (Pastor) Jacob Ambrose Walter confirms the kindness and friendship that Davis and Walter shared for each other. It reads:

           Revd. Father

          Accept my thanks for the kindness with
          which you have remembered a captive
          and believe me ever truly.

                                        Your friend
                                        Jefferson Davis
          F. Monroe, Va
          30th Oct. 1866

Also included in the collection is a signed CDV of Jefferson Davis while imprisoned at Fort Monroe. What’s interesting about the image is that it has a U.S. tax stamp on the back that was only used for the calendar years of 1864-1865 leading me to believe that this was given to a personal friend of Davis, probably November or December 1865 while he was held captive. During the first five months of his captivity “he could not have visitors, wasn’t allowed any luxuries or privileges”. I’m certain there isn’t many signed images of Jefferson Davis while held prisoner by the Federal Government in 1865.

Jefferson Davis Signed CDV

Jefferson Davis Signed CDV

If you have any questions about this item or any of the other items in the Civil War Arsenal Museum please contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

Harper’s Ferry Model 1855 U.S. Percussion Rifle Type II, Dated 1860

Between 1857-1861 the Harper’s Ferry Armory manufactured approximately 7300 percussion rifles, with early production rifles (Type I) fitted with brass mounted hardware and later production rifles (Type II) fitted with iron mounted hardware.

For the sake of convenience I will only discuss the later all iron, Type II model. Sometime in mid 1859 the Armory changed over to all iron mountings manufacturing about 3800 of these rifles. They were .58 caliber, single shot muzzleloader, 33”barrels with lug on right side of muzzle for a saber bayonet.

All metal parts were finished bright, tulip type ramrod with swell at point of engagement of nose cap, walnut stocks and patch box on right side. All were fitted with Maynard tape primer compartments and M1858 pattern rear sight.

The 1855 Percussion Rifle was to be issued to Sappers and Miners (Engineer’s) in replacement for the dated smoothbore M1847 Sappers & Miners carbine that wasn’t well liked.

1860 Harper’s Ferry Rifle & Saber Bayonet
1860 Harper’s Ferry Rifle & Saber Bayonet

This 1860 Harper’s Ferry Rifle is a fine example of a Type II Model 1855 Percussion Rifle. The stock is in almost perfect condition, it may have been lightly sanded a long time ago however it still has crisp corners on the contours around the lock plate. The metal looks as if it could’ve been made yesterday with barely a blemish on any of its surfaces.

Tucked away in the patch box is an extra nipple as well as a minie ball puller attachment. The breech of the barrel is stamped with rack number 64 and dated 1861, leading me to believe this was manufactured early 1861 since the lockplate is dated 1860.

Harper’s Ferry Saber Bayonet & Scabbard
Harper’s Ferry Saber Bayonet & Scabbard

Also included with my newest relic is a Harper’s Ferry saber bayonet and scabbard which is nearly as clean as the rifle itself. So there you have it another addition to the Civil War Arsenals growing Museum. If you have any questions about this weapon or any of the other relics in my collection please contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

Colt Model 1861 Special Rifle Musket, New Jersey Markings

Colt Model 1861 Special Musket was Manufactured between 1861-1865 with production estimated between 75,000 & 100,000. Originally made for the Federal Government to support the war effort, however many failed the stringent government inspections yet were definitely serviceable. Classified by Colt as “Second Class U.S. Rifle Muskets” many were sold to Northern states to support local Militias. New York outfitters and arms dealer Schuyler, Hartley & Graham sold 2,500 of these muskets to the state of Connecticut in July of 1863. But it seems most were sold to the state of New Jersey based on surviving examples.

Quick identification of the Colt Second Class musket is the “N.J.” on the left side of the barrel and left stock flat opposite the lock plate however the usual Ordnance Department proof (cartouche) or final inspection markings are absent.

58 caliber single shot muzzle loader made with 40” barrels and three barrel bands. Oil stained walnut stock with most metal parts finished “in the white” but bluing was standard on rear sight, nipples, and various screws. The Colt musket has no serial number.

My new Colt rifle musket is dated 1862 on the lock plate and 1863 on the barrel flat. It’s in extremely good condition however at sometime someone has sanded the stock and polished the barrel, fortunately by hand and not an electric buffer.

Included with the musket is a Collins & Co. socket bayonet which would be correct for a Colt musket rifle. All in all this is a pretty nice example of a surviving Union made Rifle Musket.

Thanks for stopping by and looking at my virtual museum. I have many new items that I will be adding shortly, in the meantime if you have any questions about this post feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West.

Little Sorrel Stickpin, Stonewall Jackson’s Horse

Recently I was given the opportunity to acquire this neat piece of Southern history from Matt Hagan of www.museuminvestments.com.

Included with the stickpin is a newspaper article mentioning the stickpin and a tintype image of Benjamin Porter Gooch who enlisted 7-15-1861 in Princeton of Mercer County Virginia (currently West Virginia) as a private in I Co. 59th Virginia Infantry, eventually being promoted to Sargent in the 17th Virginia Calvary.

Benjamin Gooch, Stickpin & Newspaper Article
Benjamin Gooch, Stickpin & Newspaper Article

Born in Somers, Connecticut the foal would be sold to the U.S. Government to serve in its war effort. In 1861, he and a number of other Union horses landed in Confederate hands when Southern forces at Harper’s Ferry overtook their transport train.

Little Sorrel was a Morgan horse, fifteen hands tall, Jackson originally intending to give the horse to his wife, He paid the quartermaster $150 for the gelding, naming him “Fancy.” But after riding the horse, Jackson found the animal’s gait so pleasing he remarked, “A seat on him was like being rocked in a cradle.” Deciding to keep the horse for himself, it quickly became known as “Little Sorrel” once Jackson began using it as his regular mount.

Jackson rode his new horse into some of the most famous Civil War battles, including Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg, and it was Little Sorrel who carried Jackson on the fateful day in 1863 when friendly fire mortally wounded the General at Chancellorsville.

After Jackson’s death, Little Sorrel briefly lived with Jackson’s widow in North Carolina before moving to the Virginia Military Institute and then to the Confederate Soldiers Home at Richmond’s Robert E. Lee Camp.

Appearing frequently at county fairs and Confederate veteran’s reunions, Jackson’s old horse never failed to draw a crowd. VMI cadets often had to be called upon to stand guard in order to prevent onlookers from plucking hair from the horse’s mane and tail for souvenirs.

As Little Sorrel advanced in age, he couldn’t stand. But, the Confederate veterans fabricated a sling to support the gelding when he had visitors. It was this sling that broke which sent Little Sorrel tumbling to the ground where he broke his neck. Reports indicate there was a round the clock vigil in Little Sorrel’s stall until he took his last breath in 1886.

Little Sorrel’s body was given to a taxidermist who worked partially for money and partially for an agreed amount of the famous horse’s bones, which he eventually gave to a museum in Pittsburgh. Little Sorrel’s hide was stuffed and mounted in a simulacrum of life which can still be seen on display in the VMI Museum. However the story does not end there.

Little Sorrel
Little Sorrel

In 1997, the Daughters of the Confederacy, aghast at the thought of a Confederate animal’s bones being so far from its heroic skin, successfully lobbied to have the bones returned to VMI, where they could be spiritually reunited with their former flesh blanket. In honor of the horse’s service and legacy, they burnt Little Sorrel’s reclaimed skeleton to ashes and buried the remains in front of the “Stonewall” Jackson statue near the parade grounds.

War Horse Little Sorrel, Head Stone
War Horse Little Sorrel, Head Stone

Lost to time is how Benjamin Porter Gooch clipped portions of hair from Little Sorrel, but considering he was a Proud Southern Veteran and lived a short distance from the Virginia Military Institute it’s fair to say he had ample opportunity to get close enough to the Morgan to secure his souvenir.

He cherished the lock of braided hair so, that he had it mounted under glass in a solid gold pendant surrounded by 6 diamonds and 2 amethyst. It must have been a wonderful conversation piece and a souvenir any Southerner would have been proud to wear.

Apparently upon death Benjamin wills the stickpin to his son Carlos A. Gooch who in turn wills it to either his son Ben Gooch or his daughter Mrs. Harry “Gooch” May of Beckley West Virginia and then the story gets sketchy………but now I’m in possession of the stickpin and what a treasure it is. I’ve found two newspaper articles mentioning the Gooch family heirloom reaffirming the provenance.

If you have any questions about this item or any of the other items in my Arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West.

Confederate D-Guard Knife

Crude but eliminatory this D-Handle Knife would have been carried by a Southern soldier. It would have been the perfect utilitarian tool around camp as well a fine fighting blade. Due to its size and weight the Knife would have been used to cut there way through corn fields, clear small branches off trees and the perfect tool for eating and protecting yourself if necessary.

D-Guard Knife
D-Guard Knife

Measuring an overall length of 18.5” this D-Guard knife would have been an easy blade to handle and carry on those long marches not weighing down the user. It’s documented in many letters, diaries and dispatches that Southerners would toss there knives to the side of the road due to them being bulky in size and heavy in weight.

This unmarked clip point D-Guard was probably made by a blacksmith who used a rasp as the blade. There are still impressions of the rasp/file on portions of the center ridge spine of the blade. The handle is 5.5” and the blade is 13” long, it has a ferrule at the base of the grip and a finely shaped quillon.

Unlike most D-Guards that have a large rounded knucklebow or guard this knives guard is very close to the wood grip handle barely allowing room for your fingers. The D-Guard knife is extremely well balanced which is a credit to the makers skill. It does have a false edge and it’s sharpened on both top and bottom. It was designed to kill.

There are remnants of gold paint around the deep crevasses near the ferrule, ricasso, and tang suggesting that this may have been a war trophy brought North after the war and displayed at a GAR Hall, which is not uncommon for Confederate weapons.

Hope you’ve enjoy viewing my knife as much as I do owning it. If you have any questions about this D-Guard knife or any of the other items in my arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West.
I’m always looking to grow my Civil War collection if you have any Southern weapons and are looking to sell them give me a shout maybe we can make a deal.

1864 Richmond Carbine

A while back I acquired this 1864 Richmond Carbine to compliment my growing collection of Southern Weapons. I already had in my collection a 64 Richmond Carbine however it had some issues so I traded it and a 63 Richmond Carbine for a killer Thomas, Griswold & Co Artillery Saber, which I’ve recently written about.

My new 64 Richmond is about as good as it gets, the stock is in great shape with a couple of scratches and dings but nothing out of the ordinary for a 155 year old weapon. The barrel, lock plate, barrel bands and trigger guard all have a pleasing brown hue to them and the brass butt plate and the nose cap are a sweet mustard color we would expect from Southern made Brass.

Still fitted with its original rear sight (which is often missing on most Richmond weapons) with both its barrel bands having an offset U, confirming that these were hand stamped and original to the Carbine. The original ram rod is no longer present however it does have a blacksmith made ram rod which in my opinion has been with the Carbine for a long time based on its color.

All of its sling mounts have been removed, my best guess is the the sling rings were more of a hindrance then not so they were cut off……. the top barrel band, trigger guard as well as the sling swivel that gets screwed into the base of the stock are all MIA. An interesting observation is that there’s no indentation mark on the stock or on the trigger guard (where the sling mounts make contact) suggesting that the sling mounts must have been removed when the weapon was first issued.

Another interesting observation is there is only a partial proof mark on the barrel, the V for viewed is clearly present and there’s a very slight impression of the P for proof but there’s no Eagle present. I don’t believe this to be a confiscated condemned Harper’s Ferry barrel…….it has way to many imperfections on the barrel made by the barrel roller machine, these imperfections would not be acceptable by Harper’s Ferry standards, however they would be by Richmond’s Armory standards.

There you have it another Southern Carbine brought to you by the Civil War Arsenal. 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.

Thomas, Griswold & Co. Artillery Saber

The partnership of Henry Thomas Jr. and A.B. Griswold was a welcome combination for the Confederacy in the spring of 1861. New Orleans was the largest city in the South with a population of over 170,000 and there was much money to be made as aggressive entrepreneurs.

Thomas, Griswold & Co. we’re not only manufactures of military goods but importers as well and the large port of New Orleans would give them access to trade ships from Europe filled with many of the supplies the South needed.

Unfortunately there success only lasted a short while, Union Naval forces captured New Orleans April 25, 1862 putting an end to there brisk business and seizing South’s largest port.

For sometime now I’ve been searching for a Thomas, Griswold Artillery Saber……with its brass/bronze scabbard, makers mark ricasso and fine attention to detail, one can make the argument there was hardly a finer sword made South of the Mason Dixon Line.

My new saber & scabbard is in excellent condition, with an almost perfectly straight scabbard that has a sweet mustard patina and the lap seam is almost unnoticeable unlike most other Confederate scabbards.

As for the saber, where do I start….hmmmmmm. The leather grip on the artillery saber is about 75% intact with all its brass wire wrapping in place, the pommel, knucklebow and quillon all have a pleasant patina with some casting imperfections. The blade, fuller and edge are about as nice as any you will see, with its leather insulator still in place and a fine makers mark stamp this saber would rival any Northern made saber/sword.

I have many new pieces in my collection that I’ve yet to post at the Civil War Arsenal, I hope to photograph and write about them soon. In the mean while if you have any questions about this Artillery Saber or any of the other weapon in my arsenal feel free to contact me at civlwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West………oh, and if you have any Southern Weapons for sale maybe we can strike a deal…..I’m always in the market to buy. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see y’all soon.

Artillery Short Sword, Confederate States Armory

It’s believed this artillery short sword was manufactured at the C.S.A. Arms Factory in Wilmington/Kenansville North Carolina. The Armory was owned and operated by Louis Froelich who was born in Bavaria (later part of Germany) in 1817. He and his wife arrived in New York in 1860, eventually settling in Wilmington North Carolina during the spring of 1861 as tensions between the North and South had reached its boiling point.

Froelich was a skilled craftsman and recognized the need for arms and equipment in the Confederacy. He made many different types of Edged Weapons…….D-Handle Knives, short swords, sabers, swords, lance & pikes and just about anything else that would cut through a man or beast.

Unlike most of the edged weapons produced in the South Froelich’s quality standards was higher then most. A smart businessman Froelich named his Armory “C.S.A. (Confederate States Armory) Arms Factory”, he believed that the Confederate Government would recognize his allegiance and purchase goods from him……which they did.

My new short sword has some pitting on the blade which adds to its character, it’s sand cast brass handle has a red hue showing its high copper content and the pommel is about as cockeyed as could be……just some of the details collectors love about Southern Edged Weapons.

The scabbard (in my opinion) is not original to this type of short sword, I believe it to be from a Southern Short Sword however not this style………it’s believed that the frog stud on a Froelich manufactured scabbard would be tear drop shaped, however as you can see in the images above this example is round suggesting that it’s not a Froelich made scabbard (or maybe Froelich used subcontractors to make leather scabbards)…..maybe one day we’ll know…”.🤔

I’d like to thank John W. McAden Jr. & Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. for there book “Louis Froelich, Arms-Maker to the Confederacy” without there book much of what we know about the CSA Arms Factory would be lost to time.

If you have any questions about this Artillery Short Sword or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to ask. Attn: Eugene West, www.civilwararsenal.com thanks for stopping by.

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

Kraft, Goldschmidt & Kraft Cavalry Saber – Lewis L. & T.R Moore Wooden Scabbard

Henry Kraft, brother Peter Kraft and Maurice Goldschmidt are the name sakes of “Kraft, Goldschmidt & Kraft” formed in 1861 as military outfitters in Columbia South Carolina. Henry a jeweler and Peter a gunsmith complimented each other’s skills by making some of the South’s finest engraved swords but they also made standard issue enlisted men’s calvary sabers.

Little is known about the wooden scabbards these Cavalry Sabers are housed in. It’s believed they were made by Lewis L. and T.R. Moore of Atlanta Georgia. In Gordon Jone’s book “Confederate Odyssey” he writes that 556 “wooden saber scabbards”were delivered to the C.S. Arsenal at Charleston South Carolina in 1863. So it’s assumed this is one of those wooden scabbards made by the Moore brothers and yes there may have been additional deliveries to the 556 mentioned earlier.

This highly desirable cavalry saber and wooden scabbard serves as testament to the South’s inequality to the North’s industrial revolution, wooden scabbards may have owed as much to practicality as to desperation, thin inferior wrapped leather, small gauge single wire used on the grip, casting flaws on knucklebow and forging flaws throughout the blade. All the qualities that collectors of Confederate weapons love to study.

My new saber and scabbard is just one of my recent acquisitions, it’s been on my wish list for a while and I was able to negotiate a fair price with the seller. The saber measures a total of 39 ½” from pommel to the blade tip with the blade length of 34 ¼”. The blade has a large fuller approximately 27” long with many forging flaws. The brass knucklebow, branches and pommel all have casting flaws and the finest aged patina.

The scabbard measures a total of 36 ¾” from the throat to the bottom of the drag. It’s a testament to the craftsman who made these scabbards, that more then 150 years later they still serve the purpose they were designed for. The wooden scabbard has lots of aged patina only complimenting its history, however it does have some cracks towards the bottom half and I believe the boot style drag has been professionally replaced which does not distract from its character. The scabbard is two pieces of hollowed out carved wood held together with wrapped tin. The throat, ring bands and drag are brass with the darkest hues of brown, red and gold.

This sword and scabbard is typical of so many Southern Weapons that tell a side story of ingenuity, practicality and even desperation……maybe that’s just one of the things that fascinates me and other collectors. I’m thrilled to be the keeper of this piece of American history even if it’s only for a short while.

I’m always looking for new to the market Confederate artifacts, if you have any and are considering selling them maybe we can make a deal. Thanks for stopping by the Civil War Arsenal if you have any questions or thoughts about this posting feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West