Original U.S. Civil War British P-1853 Enfield 3rd Model Percussion Rifle with Anchor/S mark - dated 1863
Original Item: Only One Available. Offered here is a very nice example of the 3rd Model Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket, produced in Birmingham, England with brass butt plate, trigger guard and nose cap. The three steel barrel bands are held on with screw pressure, as typical of the 3rd model. The lock is marked TOWER / 1863 below the cap bolster, and it is marked with a QUEEN'S CROWN to the rear of the hammer. However, there is no V.R. under the crown. This indicates that this weapon was not intended for a British Military contract but was aimed at the Overseas market, most specifically the United States, who were embroiled in its most terrible Civil War.
This rifle is in used but nice condition has a faint "ANCHOR" / S stamp, used as a Confederate acceptance mark directly in front of the butt plate tang. This marking is somewhat hard to discern and unless you were aware of where it should be would most likely be overlooked. This marking was for JOHN SOUTHGATE Chief CS viewer/proofer for the Confederate English trade. In 1861 has mark was "J.S. over an ANCHOR" which he used until mid 1863, thereafter he used "Anchor over "S" for last half of 1863, 1864 and up until the surrender in April 1865. Photographs of these markings appear in book referred to below on page 12.
The Barrel bears British Proof Marks and a number 25, and the wood butt stock is very faintly stamped with a rondel, partly faded but once marked:- BIRMINGHAM SMALL ARMS TRADE in a circle around a Crown over the B.S.A.T. logo. It is towards the very rear of the butt stock, exactly where our other example had it, and it was also an 1863 Tower example. This example unfortunately is missing both sling swivels.
An identical Short Rifle edition of this same weapon, dated 1862, appears on the Cover of THE CONFEDERATE ENFIELD by Captain Steven W. Knott, U.S.N. (Ret). with a write up on pages 44 and 45. In addition there is a photograph of the proof marks of this known Confederate Soldier's Rifle on the Title page of the book which are completely identical to those on this weapon. This excellent book states that the Confederate Buying Agents, Josiah Gorgas and Caleb Huse purchased over 350,000 European Rifles between 1861 and 1865, over 250,000 of these were the Percussion Enfield Rifled Muskets and 100,000 were Austrian Percussion arms.
The Union also imported Enfields which were highly prized by Federal soldiers more so than the Union made arms apparently. The Confederacy however contracted for the greater number, which in most cases were transported by "BLOCKADE RUNNERS" based in Bermuda. Well documented in the THE CONFEDERATE ENFIELD book.
We found no specific STATE Markings on our rifle, however after 1863 conditions were such that little time was available for such niceties upon importation. The Blockade runner's hay day were in the early years of the war 1861 and 1862 however Caleb Huse was busy right up to 1865 when the last shipment arrived early that year. So we are hanging our hat on this possibly being a CONFEDERATE Rifle on the clear absence of the "V.R." on the lock plate and the faint ANCHOR / S stamping in front of the butt tang.
The wood is complete showing only a couple of age cracks and general wear with the metalwork showing old light rust pitting overall. The sight slide is present, and the bands tighten properly. The the bore still shows clear three-groove rifling, though it is dirty with oxidation. Lock fires, but at both full and half cock, so the tumbler is definitely worn. This is definitely a rifle that was used.
We are sure that this particular rifle really was a Confederate issue, for the reasons stated however without any confederate acceptance marks we cannot verify it saw action with certainty. We offer this very interesting item, ready to display!
Year of Manufacture: 1863
Caliber: .58 inches
Ammunition Type: .577 Lead Ball & Powder with Percussion Cap
Barrel Length: 39 inches
Overall Length: 55 inches
Action: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded
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