Original U.S. Civil War Confederate C.S. Richmond Percussion Rifle with Type 4 Low Hump Lock Plate - Dated 1864

Item Description

Original item: One of a Kind. This is a truly amazing find, just purchased at a local auction! At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 the Confederacy were counting on support from England for Arms and the tools to manufacture them. Unexpectedly, the Union quickly blocked the Confederate Southern States' ports, eliminating importation of the much needed Manufacturing equipment from England.

The war progressed into 1862 and much to the Washington Government’s surprise, the Confederates had considerable successes, including the capture of the Union Arsenal at Harpers Ferry. This achieved, they immediately transferred all the built M1855 Muskets together with mountains of component parts and most importantly, the Machinery to make them. Using these the South started their own manufacturing plant at the Richmond Armory, in Richmond, Virginia, the Capital of the Confederacy.

In short order production produced the RICHMOND PERCUSSION RIFLE, based on the Springfield M-1855 Percussion Musket with certain improvements including using a RIFLED 40".58 Caliber barrel which served the South until the War's end in 1865. The first "Richmond" percussion muskets had HIGH HUMP lock plates, which were made using the M1855 lock plate mold, designed to house a Maynard Tape Primer system. This meant the hump went almost all the way up to the underside of the hammer, and the first of these were simply marked "RICHMOND, VA", as the armory was not yet officially under CSA control. This changed shortly after, resulting in the TYPE 2 lock plate, identical to the TYPE 1, except it was marked "C.S." over the Richmond address.

It was found that unfortunately the "high hump" of the lock plate, left on to save machine time, was in fact a hindrance in the field, as it interfered with installing a new cap in a timely manner. To fix this, the Richmond Armory began filing off the tops of the lock plates, giving rise to the first LOW HUMP lock plate, the TYPE 3. Then, the original M1855 mold needed replacement, so changes were made that produced a LOW HUMP directly from the mold, resulting in the TYPE 4 lock plate. This change happened at the end of 1862, so by 1863, all C.S. Richmond Rifled Muskets and Carbines were made using the Type 4 LOW HUMP lock plate.

Our example has the Classic TYPE 4 LOW HUMP lock plate, NOT incorporating the Maynard tape primer system used on the M-1855 Muskets from Harper's Ferry. It is not ground off, but originally molded as a "low hump." The barrel is 40" in length and there are traces of proof marks on the breech left facet. The lock is marked C.S. / RICHMOND, VA on the front, with 1864 on the lock plate tail, as per the pattern. The font is correct and identical to other known examples.

We feel this example exhibits a number of Harpers Ferry captured parts in its assembly, such as the tell tale BRASS butt plate and iron barrel bands, all bands stamped with the “U”. The first Richmond Rifles used steel butt plates, but they had moved to Brass by 1863. The original tulip head iron ramrod with an enlarged shank is still present under the barrel, and in good shape.

The lock is fully functional, holding at half-cock and firing at full. The rifle also still retains the correct 3 leaf flip up rear sight, which still functions, though it is stiff. The barrel shows clear 3 groove rifling, showing light use with some light fouling and oxidation in the grooves. There is a fair amount of powder burn around the cap bolster, so this rifle definitely did see some use. The cap nipple cone and cleanout screw look to be arsenal replacements.

Overall condition is very nice, showing a lovely polished patina on the metalwork, with just a bit of light oxidation. The stock is also in very nice shape, with a lovely color . There is a wood graft repair around the barrel tang, which looks to have been done quite long ago. Both sling swivels are present and move easily.

ORIGINAL and fully cleaned to put it in the best light, this is possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity. This could be the crown jewel of your Civil War Collection. Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1864
Caliber: .58"
Cartridge Type: Minié Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 40 Inches

Overall Length: 56 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loaded

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