Original U.S. Civil War B. Kittredge & Company Marked Frank Wesson Two-Trigger Military Carbine

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. A wonderful Frank Wesson .44 caliber, 24" octagonal barrel, serial number 1314 single-shot breechloader in very good condition. During the Civil War, Frank Wesson supplied approximately 3,000 of these carbines to B. Kittredge & Company of Cincinnati. Kittredge then supplied 760 to Indiana, 1,366 to Kentucky, and others to Kansas and Missouri. Most were then issued to units from those states and had the marking:


Added next to the standard barrel marking:

OCT 25 1859

This fine carbine has a blade front sight, two leaf rear sight, smooth stock, and the early style frame with the slotted link on the right side near the breech. Sling swivels are fitted on the underside of the barrel and the lower tang. It is offered in very good condition with metal parts turing a wonderful plum color.

In July 1862, Brigadier-General J. T. Boyle of Kentucky complained about Gallagher guns, calling them 'worthless'. He stated that 'They snap often, the cartridge hangs in after firing; difficult to get the exploded cartridges out often with screw-driver; men throw them away and take musket or any other arm. They are unquestionably worthless.' He then requested 'Sharps, Wessons, Ballards, or any other kind of carbine.' He mentioned that Wesson carbines can be had for $25 or less from Cincinnati.

The Wesson carbine was used primarily by the Union armies, as the Confederacy did not manufacture rim fire cartridges. However, in November 1862, the Confederacy did arrange for the smuggling of 10 Wesson rifles, and 5,000 cartridges to Texas, via Cuba. These rifles were smuggled by Harris Hoyt, who was brought to trial in January 1865. The rifles at that time cost $25 each, the cartridges $11 per thousand.

Wesson carbines were in use at battle of Gettysburg in 1863, and at the battle of Westport in 1864.

In January 1863, the state of Ohio had 150 Wesson carbines on hand. At that time, they also had 54,000 Wesson cartridges. The 11th Cavalry regiment was issued 100 Wesson carbines and 400 Spencer repeating rifles. The states of Kentucky and Illinois purchased 2000 for their state militias.

In July 1863, in a letter to Major S.B. Shaw, St. Louis, Mo, T.F. Robinson, Quartermaster-General of Kentucky reported that portions of two Kentucky regiments had been armed with the "Wesson Cartridge Rifle", were pleased with it, and would not exchange it for any other rifle.

Following the Lawrence Massacre on August 21, 1863, the surviving men formed a rifle company, using Wesson rifles. These weapons, along with their revolvers were carried at all times.

Kentucky purchased 1366 Wesson carbines, Indiana purchased 760 for their cavalry, from B. Kittredge & Co., Cincinnati, and the numbers for Ohio, Kansas and Missouri are not known. Individual soldiers of Kansas and Missouri purchased an unknown number of these rifles. Missouri had over 690 in their regimental armories in 1864.

In 1862, the 7th Kentucky Cavalry was issued 500 Wesson carbines at a price of $25 each. In the summer of 1863, individuals from the 11th Regiment, 1st Battalion, Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, purchased 200 Wesson rifles. Companies I and L were also issued Wesson rifles by the state. At least 300 individuals from the 5th Missouri State Militia (MSM) Cavalry purchased this weapon during the war, some of which were used during Price's Raid. In that raid, the men of the 5th were placed on specific parts of the battlefield in order to take advantage of their more rapid rate of fire. Troopers from the 3rd MSM also carried Wesson carbines. At that time, the cost of this carbine was $40 each. The 48th Illinois Infantry carried an unknown number of Wesson carbines, and ran out of ammunition for these rifles during the Battle of Ezra Church (part of the Atlanta campaign) on July 28, 1864. During that battle, some regiments expended 100 bullets per soldier. At the Battle of Westport, also during Price's Raid, some men of the 19th Kansas State Militia carried this rifle.

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