Original U.S. Civil War British P-1853 Enfield Three Band Percussion Rifle dated 1863 with Confederate Acceptance Markings
Original Item: One of a Kind. This is certainly something you don't see every day, if at all. This is a great example of the classic P-1853 Percussion Rifle, with brass butt plate, trigger guard and nose cap. This is the long rifle, known as a "Three Band" due to the three steel barrel bands it has. The Lock is simply engraved, marked on the exterior only with a CROWN and DATED 1863. The barrel bears the correct British Proof Markings of the period. The lack of the V.R. monogram lock marking indicates that this weapon was not intended for a British Military contract, but was instead for the Export Market. At the time, this was aimed most specifically at the United States, who were embroiled in its most terrible Civil War.
This rifle is in outstanding condition and on the interior the lock is the stamp of the lock maker R.BRAZIER, and also K.& P. together with the letters GA. This GA marking appears many times internally all over the rifle including the inside face of the percussion hammer, the rear of the breech block, in the wood under
the trigger guard and under the barrel itself. On the butt there is a "Ghost" of a rondel, now not readable but which we know stated BIRMINGHAM SMALL ARMS TRADE in a circle around a Crown over the B.S.A.T. logo.
Most compelling of all, on the top of the wood butt directly in front of the butt plate tang, there is the Confederate Acceptance stamp applied in the Confederacy upon importation showing :
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.
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 surmise that the "GA" markings found on various parts of this rifle refers to the State of Georgia 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.
I rather suspect that this particular rifle arrived in 1864, possibly even in the final consignment of January 1865 and from it's condition probably only saw limited use in the conflict.
A Confederate Marked P1853 Rifle that may have seen service in the American Civil War, ready to display!
Year of Manufacture: 1863
Caliber: .58 inches
Ammunition Type: .577 Lead Ball & Powder with Percussion Cap
Barrel Length: 37 3/4 inches
Overall Length: 55 inches
Action: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded
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