1864 Gywn & Campbell Carbine, Type II

I’ve been tardy in posting photo’s of weapons I’ve written about, but I’ve been so busy at work and home that it’s not allowing me to write, photo and document as much as I’d like to so I apologize for that. The next weapon in the Civil War Arsenal that I’ll be writing about is the 1864 Type II Gwyn and Campbell Carbine. One of the more interesting looking weapons of the Civil War. There were actually 3 versions of this carbine. The first was the 1862 Cosmopolitan of which 1140 carbines were manufactured, next was the 1863 Gwyn and Campbell Type I, 4200 of these carbines were manufactured and finally the 1864 Type II Gwyn and Campbell of which 4002 carbines were manufactured. A total of 9342 carbines were purchase by the Ordnance Dept. for the sum of $197,320.00 as well as 6,300,000 linen cartridges for $132,007.27. The Cosmopolitan (Gwyn and Campbell) gets its name from the manufacturer, Cosmopolitan Arms Company of Hamilton, Ohio. It is also known as the ‘’Gwyn and Campbell” for the owners of the Cosmopolitan Arms Co. “Grapevine” because of the snake like curves in the trigger guard lever and long hammer; “Union Rifle” for the markings on the frame; “Ohio” for the state in which it was manufactured; and “Gross” for the inventor. The inventor, Henry Gross received U.S. Patent #25,259 on August 30, 1859 for the Cosmopolitan carbine. In 1860 the carbine was tested by Erskine Allin, the Master Armourer at the Springfield Armory, and again on June 9, 1860 by the Navy at the Naval Yard Washington with overall success. The actual manufacturing of the carbine was in Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio at the Cosmopolitan Arms Company which had been established in 1860. The firm’s owners were Edward Gwyn and Abner C. Campbell. The first wartime order for the Cosmopolitan carbine was requested by Illinois Governor Richard Yates through his State Quartermaster General’s headquarters at Springfield, Ill. Quartermaster General John Wood in a letter to Major Hagner dated December 12, 1861, requisitioned the Cosmopolitan Carbines for the Governor’s Legion. This letter introduced Edward Gwyn to Major Hagner so that Gwyn could obtain the order to furnish the Cosmopolitan for the Governors troops. Major Hagner in turn contacted General Ripley asking approval to give the order to Mr. Gwyn for 1,140 carbines plus appendages at $27.00 each with delivery in 60 days. The linen cartridge used a .52 caliber bullet weighting 390 grains and using 40 grains of powder, the overall length of the cartridge was 1.63 inches. The overall length of the carbine was 39 inches and it weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces. It does not have a fore stock and all carbines are marked UNION/RIFLE on the right side of the frame. The 19 inch blue barrel has a 3 ½ inch octagon section at the breech; with an iron blade front sight and a folding leaf rear sight graduated to 900 yards (type II versions have a 600 yard graduated rear sight). All major parts are serial numbered and also have an assembly number. The delivery on December 31, 1864 closed out the Gwyn and Campbell contracts during the Civil War. Many Calvary Regiments were issued the Gwyn and Campbell with a few being the 2nd and 3rd Arkansas; 5th, 6th and 16th Illinois; 3rd and 4th Indiana’s; 4th and 8th Iowa; 2nd, 6th and 14th Kansas; 10th, 12th, 14th and 40th Kentucky; 4th and 8th Missouri; 5th and 8th Ohio; 7th Tennessee; and the 3rd Wisconsin. In response to the 1863-1864 Ordnance Dept. survey of officers in the field using the various carbines, 37 officers commented on the Cosmopolitan with 23 considering it fully satisfactory and 14 considering it worthless. The major problem was found to be in the action of the breech mechanism. So that brings me to my 1864 Gwyn and Campbell Type II, which is in good condition. It does have a repair to the stock which is hardly noticeable, aside from that everything else is fine. The bluing on the barrel has worn off over the years but that just adds to the character of the weapon. All of the markings are legible and the action is perfect. The rear sight is the 600 yard graduated style and it has a sling ring on the left side. The serial # is in the 3500 range and the assembly number is 42. I’d like to thank John D. McAulay for all the great research he’s done. Without his book “Carbines of the Civil War” I would not be able to write this article in such detail.

6 thoughts on “1864 Gywn & Campbell Carbine, Type II

  1. Hello Gene,

    I have sent 3 photos which I am sure could have been better. I am in a walker and it’s difficult to move these guns. I can send you other photos if you need a full shot.

    Any help would be appreciated. If you can respond please email me to the above as I’m not very tech oriented…

    Regards, Chief Weaver

    • Chief Weaver,
      Unfortunately I can’t help you with the muzzle loader or the shotgun…….I’m assuming the CW carbine you mention is a Cosmopolitan ? Please confirm and possibly send some images and I will provide any information I have……

      Regards, Gene

    • Chief,
      You have a “Contract Type” Cosmopolitan Carbine, a total of 1140 of these were purchased by the U.S. Government during the War Between The States. It appears as though the stock on the weapon has been heavily sanded and or stripped of its original varnish, that will hurt its value a bit. Seems as though all of its parts are in place however it’s hard to rate the condition of the metal with the images you’ve provided.
      All in all it’s a pretty nice Carbine, below see the attachment I’ve included it will give a brief history of the weapon as well as value. I would rate your weapon to be in “fair” condition…..consider that when setting price.

      Best Regards, Gene West

    • Chief,
      I’m curious about the Cosmopolitan’s condition ( because condition is everything) can you please provide images (pictures) of the butt plate, left and right side of the shoulder stock, and any marking on top of the barrel in front of the breech Block……….
      It appears that the shoulder stock has been replaced of sanded and refinished…….that effects its condition, so before I can give you a value I have to see more details in the weapon.

      Regards, Gene West

  2. Gene,

    I can’t thank you enough for your time and effort spent getting the
    information on the Cosmopolitan Carbine. It’s not often that someone will
    go the extra mile without money being involved. I’ll be 93 on my next
    birthday and it’s time to dispose of some of these guns.

    My wife and I went to Barnes and Noble and the public library on Saturday to
    see what we could find on the muzzle loader/over and under with 2 barrels
    marked PHILA/ but were not successful. Someone suggested Flayderman’s Guide
    to Antique American Arms and we found this to be out of print for years. We
    also checked the Gun Digest, 72nd edition with no luck. Would you have any
    other suggestions?

    Thank you for your kindness,

    Chief Weaver

    • Chief,
      I’ve checked my copy of Flaydermans and found no mention of any over/under shotgun…..generally that’s the go to guide when researching antique American weapons however it doesn’t give much enface on shotguns.
      Google searches may be your best option, but I’m sure you’ve tried that already…..if I think of another research tool I’ll be sure to let you know……

      Regards, Gene

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