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Original U.S. Civil War Era Possible Confederate Sharps Type Slant Breech Carbine

Item Description

Original Item: IMA has discovered some exciting evidence that may link the Sharps type rifles and Carbines to the Confederacy. For years these unmarked Sharps we found in Kathmandu, Nepal have baffled collectors. The possibility of these Sharps type weapons having any connection to the Confederacy has been a pipe dream. Well not anymore.

Clearly these weapons were not manufactured by Sharps and clearly some of the parts were made in Nepal. However, there is no dispute that the actions of these guns have always been of a far higher quality than achievable in Nepal at that time.

In early 2004 we sent samples of Sharps stock wood to The British Engineerium, part of Brighton University. There testing and an examination indicated the wood to be Honduran Mahogany. Honduran Mahogany is not indigenous to South East Asia that infers that the stock wood originated in the Americas.

In 2008 IMA found a Percussion Revolver that had been included in the Royal Nepalese Armory purchase. This pistol was of a totally unknown design, in fact, the revolver had been photographed back in 2003, the negatives sent to England for inclusion, on page 51, in John Walter's book "Guns of the Gurkhas". For whatever reason the notes taken with each photograph at the time were misdirected and when laying out the book for publication in England it was assumed the revolver bore no markings and consequently might have been a Nepalese attempt to copy a British Beaumont Adams percussion Revolver.

However, in rediscovering the revolver in 2008 it was found to bear the name and address on the top strap as follows: "D.C.HODGKINS & SONS, MACON, GA."

Hodgkins & Sons were pre Civil War firearms importers and may even have done some manufacturing. Upon the outbreak of hostilities however the State of Georgia took over the Hodgkins facility and turned it into the Georgia State Arsenal.

In itself this strange percussion revolver is quite interesting but proves nothing, perhaps only that it was imported to or made at the Hodgkins works at some time before or at the beginning of the U.S. Civil War.

What is significant, however, is that recent research has told us that late in the U.S. Civil War that the Hodgkins plant then known as the Georgia State Armory/Arsenal did undertake the manufacture of Sharps type Rifles and Carbines. Confederate Copy Sharps are rare but not unknown, however, most were the 1858 model type and manufactured in Richmond Virginia. The Sharps type Rifles and Carbines received from Nepal are of the Model 1853 Slant Breach type and cannot be confused with the Richmond 1858 type Confederate models.

So, what Sharps copies were made in Macon Georgia? We have searched and as far as we can find no examples appear to exist.

How about this speculative scenario: Due to shortage of weapons the State of Georgia decides to make Sharps Copies late in the war. As it happened the only samples on hand in Macon were the 1853 Slant Breach Models. Suppose they really did make the tooling and even produced some quantities, but this was so late that issued examples are so rare as not to have been located or perhaps identified as coming from Macon. The shortage of hard wood in the Confederacy was a historical fact but just maybe some furniture grade Honduran Mahogany which had been imported prewar for the furniture trade was pressed into service for the Sharps Stocks.

Then suppose that the war ended and some Yankee "carpet bagger" arrived in Macon and upon finding the Georgia State Arsenal with a pile of half finished breach loading Sharps type carbines and rifles buys the whole kit and caboodle. Some weapons may have been almost complete but the majority would be great quantities of partially assembled weapons and parts.

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