Original U.S. Civil War Era 4th Model P-1853 Enfield Two Band Percussion Export Rifle marked 1862 Tower
Original Item: Only One Available. Offered here is a nice example of the 4th Model Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket, as produced in England with brass butt plate, trigger guard and nose cap. The two steel barrel bands are held on with screw pressure, and are the "Baddeley" type with recessed screws, typical of the 4th model. These were designed to prevent the exposed screws on the bands from snagging on the uniform and other rigging worn by the soldiers.
The lock is marked 1862 / TOWER 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.
As a Confederate destined weapon it should have the right hand side of the butt stamped with a roundel stating BIRMINGHAM SMALL ARMS TRADE, however this marking is now GONE due to wear. The barrel bears British Proof Marks, though they are somewhat faded. They are the correct Birmingham proof marks, with the Crown over Crossed Scepters "Viewed" and "Proved" markings, and the often seen 25 marking. There is also the CROWN / BP marking, usually seen during this time.
This example also has some wonderful personalization markings dug into the right butt stock, which were later covered with filler during servicing. They are however still visible, and there are three sets of initials: G F, F H R, and W F. It was very common for Confederate soldiers to personalize their weapons in this way. Possibly they were initials of the soldiers who carried this weapon into battle. There are additional scratched in markings on both sides of the butt stock, which we cannot quite make out.
The original rear sight was removed long ago, though the location of the base can still be seen on the upper surface of the barrel, and a simple V notch sight has been added in its place. We suspect that this rifle saw use after the war, possibly as a hunting or fowling gun. The front band is missing the screw, and the stock is partly cracked at that point, with some wood filler used under the band to stabilize the break.
A similar Short Rifle edition of this same weapon, dated 1861, 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. Also with the amount of service this rifle has seen, all markings on the wood stock have long since been worn away. We speculate it probably arrived in 1863-4, having been produced in 1862.
The gun is in good condition, with a nice stock and metalwork with a lovely oxidized patina. It does show signs of past pitting and powder burn, especially near the cap bolster. Both sling swivels are now removed, and the upper barrel band does not look to have ever had one, so it may be a replacement. The cleaning rod has been replaced with an earlier pattern type cut off at the end, most likely from a Springfield Musket. The bore is clear, but there is little trace of the original rifling left, probably due to wear. The lock is functional, however it will fire at both half and full cock, so the tumbler is worn.
A very nice example of a personalized P-1853 two band percussion rifle with a possible CSA connection. Ready to display and research!
Year of Manufacture: 1862
Caliber: .58 inches
Ammunition Type: .577 Lead Ball & Powder with Percussion Cap
Barrel Length: 37 inches
Overall Length: 53 inches
Action: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded
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