1862 C.S. Richmond VA. Rifled Musket, High Hump

Machinery captured at the Harpers Ferry Armory by the Jefferson Battalion and the Fauquier Calvary under Captian Turner Ashby April of 1861 at the outbreak of the war are moved to government armories in the South, Richmond Virginia and Fayetteville North Carolina.

September of 1861 the Confederate Government made arrangements with the state of Virginia to take control of the armory in Richmond Virginia. It was understood that most if not all guns made at the armory would go to Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

The Richmond Armory manufactured about 40,000 musket rifles, carbines, and short rifles. They also repaired thousands of battlefield pickups and guns captured from the enemy.

That brings me to the next weapon in my Civil War Arsenal, an 1862 C.S. Richmond Virginia High Hump Rifled Musket. Made with Harpers Ferry wood, displaying a patch box. This may be one of the finest examples of a Richmond High Hump you will ever see.

This rifle musket was assembled between January & April 1862 since none of the parts except for the lock plate and the ram rod are Southern made. In March/April of 1862 the Richmond Armory retooled there dies to reconfigure the hump on the lockplates to what most call today a low profile hump, allowing the user to easily place and remove a percussion cap on the nipple of the lock plate. They also started running out of parts that were captured at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal earlier in April 1861.

We know based on examples of existing muskets made after April 1862, that they had low profile lock plates and they also had a mixture of parts that were manufactured at Harpers Ferry as well as the Richmond Armory.

You can gather more information on this with “Paul J. Davies book C.S. Armory Richmond”.

It’s my opinion all the parts on this weapon are leftover parts manufactured at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal except for the lock plate and the ram rod. I purchased this weapon at a Civil War gun show in Gettysburg PA. a few years back by a reputable dealer. Like so many of the high value weapons in my arsenal my wife did the negotiating and she probably saved me/us a couple thousand dollars. I would have paid whatever he was asking, but she’s not as emotional as I am about the Civil War, she wants the bargain.

If you have any questions about this weapon or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal, feel free to email me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

R.T. Pritchett Rifle Musket, Enfield

Over the last week or so I’ve been struggling with what I was going to write about this week, then I remembered that Greg posted a comment on my article about the 1862 Enfield SH&G #3 Musket, so I thought what better time to write about yet another weapon in my Civil War Arsenal.

The R.T. Pritchett Enfield Rifle Musket, Sinclair & Hamilton Company, (Crown/ SH/C/ Arrow). I think this mark is referred to as Type #2. The mark is on the bottom of the stock close to the trigger guard. The mark is faint but under the right light it is clearly there. I will be using the macro setting on my camera to photo the mark I hope it is clear enough to be seen.

Pritchett was a well known contractor who supplied many Enfield Rifle Muskets and parts to Confederate brokerage houses. Two of the more famous ones were S. Isaac & Campbell and Sinclair, Hamilton & Company.
Pritchett the inventor of the improved bullet for the 1853 Enfield, firing one of his own rifles on a windy, rainy day, shot 98 out of 100 shots in a 7 foot circle at 600 yards. Pretty good shooting especially at that range.

Aside from inventing and building guns Pritchett was also a business man who like so many others took advantage of the financial opportunities the American Civil War had to offer. Another one of those opportunists were Archibald Hamilton. Archibald was the Director of the London Armoury Company; they were a major gun making company in London. The quality of the London Armoury Guns was superior to other London Contractors since the L.A.CO’s parts were interchangeable and the others were not.

Archibald was a major player in the English arms industry, Director of the L.A.Co and was partners in a brokerage firm, this would create the perfect storm for the Confederacy to purchase, ship and receive the much needed weapons.

It wasn’t long before the South became the London Armoury Company’s principal client and it manufactured and shipped more than 70,000 rifles and about 7,000 revolvers (out of a total production run of about 10,000) to the South. However these weapons had to pass through the Union blockades and the number that actually reached the Confederate army is unknown. Confederates acclaimed the Armoury’s guns as the best weapons made in Britain.

Towards the end of the war the London Armoury Company was almost completely dependent on sales to the Confederacy and survived for only a year after the end of the war, dissolving in the Spring of 1866.

So back to the Pritchett Rifle Musket, this gun is in fair condition with a wonderful mocha color stock. The barrel and hardware have a brownish color throughout but no rust. This is one of the first Civil War guns I purchased and I probably paid a little more then I should have but all and all it’s a very nice example of a Confederate Import with the crown/ SH/C/arrow mark.
Your thoughts are welcome, contact Gene West at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com