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Original U.S. Civil War .58 Minié Conversion M1841 Mississippi Rifle by Harpers Ferry linked to Union Soldier - dated 1850

Regular price $3,495.00

Item Description

Original item: Only One Available. A great Civil War Long Gun, the U.S. .54 Caliber Percussion Rifle was in 1841 way ahead of its time and showed stout service in the American/Mexican War. They were well-regarded, and still in arsenal as the tensions rose, culminating in the U.S. Civil War of 1861-1865. They were in a smaller caliber than desired, but with the thick barrel walls used in construction, this proved to not be an issue, as they could be re-bored to accept the now standard .58 Minié ball used by the Springfield model 1855 and 1861 muskets. This not only gave the rifles greater accuracy and stopping power, but also allowed the U.S. Military to standardize muzzle loading rifle ammunition. Some of these conversions were undertaken by Colt, while others were done at the National and State armories.

This rifle was definitely converted, and now has a .58 caliber barrel with three groove rifling. The rear sight was replaced with what looks to be a ladder sight, possibly for sharpshooters, and the right side of the barrel near the muzzle has had a bayonet lug added. This is definitely not a Colt conversion, as they used a bolt-on bayonet lug, and would use the three leaf sight from the Colt revolving rifle in the rear. Per information we received with this rifle on a small note in the patch box, it was carried during the U.S. Civil War by Union Soldier John Zie Easton, who was the owner's husband's grandfather.

While some examples were made by Government contractors, this lovely example was made in 1850 at the United States Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, located in Harpers Ferry, in what was then Virginia. After the outbreak of the U.S. Civil war, The North West corner of Virginia separated itself into West Virginia. This example is in lovely condition, a real great example of this type. The lock plate is marked (EAGLE) / U.S. in the center and HARPERS / FERRY / 1850 across the lock plate tail. There is powder burn around the barrel breech, so there is no date visible there, just a faint P / Eagle's Head, as well as W W / P.

The weapon is fully brass mounted including a brass patch box to the Butt, which was used for storage of patches and sometimes bullets, as well as spare cap nipples, which this compartment has. This way if the nipple broke or was clogged, it could easily be replaced. It was also used to store tools such as the clearing worm and Springfield multi-tool, however there is only the cap nipple in the compartment, without any tools or accessories. There is also a cork muzzle "tompion", used to keep dirt out of the bore.

The stock on this rifle has a lovely red brown color, and has a very nice finish, with the expected wear from age. There are no cracks or other major damage that we can see. It also has a J L B stamp on the left side where cartouches would normally be. Both sling swivels are still present, and it still has the original brass tipped ramrod, though for some reason the threaded end was removed. The lock functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full. We checked the bore, and the rifling is still clear, showing moderate wear from service, with dirt and fouling in the grooves. Previous examples we have had were so used that they were almost smoothbore, so this is definitely a very good example!

An early U.S. issue rifle, converted to .58 for further service during the Civil War and used by a Union Soldier. In really nice Collector's Condition and full of research potential! Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1850 - converted c.1861-1862
Caliber: .58 inches
Ammunition Type: .577 Lead Ball & Powder with Percussion Cap
Barrel Length: 33 inches
Overall Length: 49 inches
Action: Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

History of the M1841 "Mississippi Rifle"

The M1841 Mississippi rifle is a muzzle-loading percussion rifle used in the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War.  When Eli Whitney Blake took over management of the Harpers Ferry Armory in 1842, he set about tooling up under his new contract from the U.S. government for making the model 1841 percussion rifle. Machinery and fixtures for making the 1822 contract flintlock musket had to be retooled or replaced in order to produce the lock and barrel of the new model. Whitney, Jr. had the good sense to hire Thomas Warner as foreman, who, as master armorer at Springfield Armory, had just been making the same kind of major changes there. Thomas Warner had spearheaded the drive to equip the Springfield Armory with a set of new, more precise machines and a system of gauging that made it possible for the first time to achieve, in the late 1840s, the long-desired goal of interchangeability of parts in military small arms. Under his tutelage, Eli Whitney, Jr. equipped the Whitney Armory to do likewise.

The nickname "Mississippi" originated in the Mexican–American War when future Confederate president Jefferson Davis was appointed Colonel of the Mississippi Rifles, a volunteer regiment from the state of Mississippi. Colonel Davis sought to arm his regiment with the Model 1841 rifles. At this time, smoothbore muskets were still the primary infantry weapon and any unit with rifles was considered special and designated as such. Davis clashed with his commanding officer, General Winfield Scott, who said that the weapons were insufficiently tested and refused the request. Davis took his case to the President James Knox Polk who agreed with Davis that his men be armed with them. The incident was the start of a lifelong feud between Davis and Scott.

NOTE: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are not able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services. International customers should always consult their country's antique gun laws prior to ordering.

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