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 Originally made for the Federal Government to support the war effort, however many failed the stringent government inspections yet were definitely serviceable.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.

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

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 Springfield Rifle Musket, Type 1

The newest weapon in the Civil War Arsenal is an 1863 Rifle Musket. I purchased this weapon many years ago because it was so clean and straight. This weapon looks as though it was just removed from the crate it was shipped in. The stock is smooth and clean with hardly a scratch on it, the metal looks as good today as it did 154 years ago and the lock plate and hammer still have its rainbow of casehardening colors.

Manufactured in Springfield Massachusetts at the Springfield Armory the 1863 Rifle Musket is a .58 caliber single shot muzzleloader with a 40” round barrel and three barrel bands. A total of 273,265 were produced making it the most common of all Union weapons.

Iron mountings. All metal parts finished bright except for the lock-plate and hammer the rear sight is sometimes blued, as are the barrels bands. The ramrod is either tulip type or straight type shank and the front sight doubles as a bayonet stud.

If you have any questions about this weapon or any of the other weapon in my arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West. Thanks for stopping by.

Dahlgren Camp 98, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Formed in the late 1870’s Son Of Veterans was an organization started to preserve the memory of the Union Veterans who served in the “Great War of the Rebellion”. The SUVCW, originally named the Son of Veterans was founded by Major Augustus P. Davis to ensure the preservation and principles of the Grand Army of the Republic or GAR and to provide assistance to Veterans. It was based on the principles of Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty.

Davis’s vision for the SV was as follows:

The Sons of Veterans is destined to become the great military organization of the country, that glory of its supremacy, that healing of the sense when its national hymn are that none other not thus reared can know or feel. Through this organization the declining days of the Union Veterans will be made pleasant, his record of service to his country preserved, his memory honored, patriotism promoted. While if the dire necessity of the nation should dictate, the Sons of Veterans, uniformed, drilled and equipped would come at once to her defense with the glory of there fathers surrounding them, each heart pulsating in unison. With the rising and falling of the Nations emblem. And who would be powerful enough to prevail against such a host?
The Sons of Veterans, “Dahlgren Camp 98” was from the South Boston area which would have made the Grandfathers, Fathers, Uncles, neighbors and friends who served in the “War of Rebellion” pretty tough war veterans…..after all 150 + years later it’s still a pretty tough neighborhood.

My research leads me to believe the Dahlgren Camp were the Sons of Veterans who served in the South Boston Heavy/Light Artillery, it’s a little confusing but I think there designation changed more than once during the war.
So all this brings me to this Model 1863 Springfield Rifle Musket, Type 1. It’s not in very good condition but it definitely saw war service and it has the Dahlgren Camp medallion. My best guess is that it was displayed in a “Sons Of Veterans Hall” in South Boston at one time.

If you happen to stumble on this article and you have any history to offer on the Sons of Veterans, Dahlgren Camp give me a shout…..you can contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com Attn: Gene West…thanks for stopping by.

Civil War Guns

Sitting around the house today not knowing what to do, outside the snow is coming down and there calling this the storm of the century with up to 2 feet of snow and 50 MPH winds expected, sounds cold to me….

Anyway I decided to take some photos of my history room, a.k.a. the “Civil War Arsenal”. As you can see many of my antique weapons are displayed throughout the room. I recently had a carpenter build the racks that the rifles are mounted on, all in all I think the racks came out pretty nice and compliment the rifles and corresponding bayonets.

You’ll also notice some D-Handle, Side Knives, Pikes and Artillery Swords displayed as well. Its my opinion that these weapons should be displayed so friends and family can see and handle them. I don’t quite get the fun in collecting antique guns and swords then putting them in the safe or some out of the way place where no one can appreciate them. But thats just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions.

Also scattered throughout the room are a number of paintings, historical photos, bronze castings and dozens of other historical items. You’ll notice that I am a big “John Paul Strain” fan he is perhaps one of the best artist in his field I have a bunch of his paintings. I also have some of “Karl Anderson’s” sculptures, he’s a less know artist then John however just as good and I believe the best in his field, especially when it comes to historical accuracy.

Well there you have it, another story that no one will read. Just Kidding…. If you have any questions about this post or any of the weapons in the “Civil War Arsenal” feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

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

E.P. Bond Enfield Rifle Musket, JS/Anchor


At the outbreak of the War Between the States the Confederate Central Government contracted for the purchase of 30,000 Enfield Rifle Muskets to be delivered between October 1861 and April 1862. These Weapons had hand engraved inventory numbers put on the tang of the butt plates, 3 series were to be delivered each numbered 1 to 10,000, with the second series engraved with an A suffix and the third series an B suffix.

This is one of those historically significant Imports.

The Civil War Arsenal newest member is an E.P. Bond Enfield Rifle musket that has many of the distinguishing marks that collectors want to see with any Confederate Imported Weapon. The JS / Anchor is the stamp of John Southgate who was the Confederate States Chief Enfield Inspector, kind of like a quality inspector, hand engraved # 8199 on the tang of the brass butt plate, and B for Bond stamped on the comb of the stock which represents the maker/furnisher of the weapon.

Overall this E.P. Bond Enfield is a beauty, missing its rear adjustable sight is a bummer but it’s not that unusual since they were soldered on and either broke off or fell off due to the barrel heating up during rapid fire. It was missing the rear sling swivel which I replaced with original that I purchased from Lodgewood Mfg.

I purchased the socket bayonet made by J.R. Field from an EBAY auction. Its not a Salter made bayonet but I thought it was appropriate for the Bond Enfield since it was from a private contractor rather a British government contract.

Hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions about this weapon or any of the other Weapons in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact: Eugene West at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com

1863 Richmond Rifled Musket

Another fine example of an 1863 Richmond Long Rifle pieced together from a collection of Harpers Ferry captured parts, battlefield pick up parts and Richmond Armory parts. I purchased this Richmond from William Adams at the Gettysburg show in June of 2014. William is one of the leading experts in Civil War weapons, especially in Richmond Armory and Confederate Imports.

Like many of the Richmond’s for sale these days this one has some questionable characteristics that question its authenticity; however that’s the beauty with Richmond Armory weapons. The barrel on this weapon is not Harpers Ferry nor is it Southern made; I believe it’s a Springfield barrel with inspectors marks on it. The stock is split under the barrel band closest to the breach plug with the rear portion of the stock being either a Springfield or Whitney I’m not really sure. The end of the stock closest to the muzzle is from a Springfield rifle with the metal nose cap attached with a screw.

Some of the neat features of this weapon that any collector loves to see when it comes to Richmond rifles is the 1863 lock plate, which is in fine condition, the center barrel band has an offset U (for up) on both sides which suggests that it was hand stamped at the Richmond Armory unlike the Union counterparts that were machine stamped with almost perfect placement every time. And let’s not forget the stock that’s been pieced together under the barrel band.

If this weapon is authentic, (cause whom am I to say it is or isn’t since I’ve only owned it for a short while) it’s fair to say that is was assembled late 1863 when the Richmond Armory was struggling to supply weapons to the front lines because of a shortage of black maple to make stocks from as well as quality steel to produce barrels with.

Either way I love it, I didn’t pay as much for it as I have for others and it tells a story and yes we can debate the story but sometimes that’s half the fun.

I hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions about this weapon feel free to contact me.

P.S. I’m always looking to grow my collection, if you have any Richmond’s that you’d like to sell please contact: Eugene West at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com

1863 Richmond Virginia Short Rifle

1863 was a tuff year for the Confederacy, their dwindling resources left them dependant on using their know how with making weapons for the war effort. Most able men were on the front lines fighting the Northern aggressors or doing whatever was needed to keep them from ravaging their homes, communities and Country.

The job of harvesting trees to make gun stocks, limber carriages and wagons was hard. These jobs were done by experienced lumber jacks, most of which had learned from their fathers. Unfortunately for the South most of these men were fighting the Yankees in one way or the other. I

When Captian Turner Ashby and Company raided the arsenal in Harpers Ferry in April of 1861 he managed to confiscate 1000’s of rifle stocks, most were 1st quality stocks that the Richmond Armory used to assemble rifles, however many were 2nd quality stocks that had defects of some sort and wouldn’t pass the quality inspection that qualified them to be issued.

Fast forward to 1863 when all the confiscated 1st quality rifle stocks had been used and the Richmond Armory could not get any black walnut wood from their suppliers, mostly in and around the Macon Georgia area. This created a big problem for the Confederacy, with no quality wood to make rifle stocks how would they continue to fight a war?

As mentioned earlier, Stonewall Jackson’s raid on the Arsenal in Harpers Ferry he confiscated 1000’s of rifle stocks which were used to make Richmond rifle muskets. But the 2nd quality stocks were not used due to their defects. Now the South was in a real jam, they were in desperate need of arms but they had no black walnut to make them with.

So they turned their attention to the 2nd quality stocks that were not perfect but better than nothing. Many of these stocks were splintered and cracked. Southern cavalry troops were in desperate need of carbines and short rifles. By this time the Northern cavalry was armed with breech loading carbines that could be loaded quickly and shoot accurately some were issued Spencer carbines that could hold up to 7 brass cartridges which made them great assets for Cavalrymen.

The Richmond Armory with their master mechanics were forced to make rifles from damaged and broken stocks. Many of these weapons will be assembled using hardware from Union weapons that were found on battlefields.

That brings us to the next example in the Civil War Arsenal. This 1863 Richmond Virginia Short Rifle is made from a mix of old Union parts and Southern parts. Categorized in Paul J. Davies book, “C.S. Armory Richmond” as a Richmond Short Rifle (Old Parts) a total of 461 were made. In June of 1864, 261 short rifles were pieced together and in July of 1864, 200 short rifles were made. There were another 850 of these Short Rifles made categorized in Mr. Davies book as (New Parts) made with 1864 lock plates and brass/copper butt plates.

This Short Rifle has a split stock under the barrel band closest to the breech plug held together with an iron U shaped staple. Removing the lock plate shows the elimination of the primer feed for the Maynard Primer System this proves that this section of the stock is Southern made, or as I like to say “Southern Wood”. However the forward portion of the stock, beyond the stapled barrel band is from a Union Rifle with an iron stock tip and iron screw. The butt plate is iron without the U.S. stamp and the barrel bands do not have the usual U on them. The barrel measures 33” long with a pinched front sight and has the VP and eagle on the left side by the breech plug.

All in all this is a fine example of the resourcefulness of the South and a great piece of American history; I hope you enjoy the photos.

I buy Richmond carbines, short rifles, and rifled muskets as well as any and all parts regardless of condition. If you have any Richmond weapons or parts for sale please contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com thanks for stopping by, Gene West