Original U.S. Civil War Springfield Model 1842 Percussion Short Musket dated 1855 with Possible C.S.A. Modifications

Item Description

Original item: One of a Kind. Here we have a very interesting U.S. Model 1842 Springfield Musket dated 1855, the last year of production for this model. This musket is in very good, honest, “as found” condition, recently coming from an old collection in the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania area. This Model 1842 has some unusual features, which leads us to believe that it has a very good possibility of being a Confederate altered and used longarm.

The Model 1842 Springfield was the last smoothbore musket issued to the United States Army. It was used throughout the Civil War, but both Union and Confederate forces. The Confederates were known to salvage whatever weapons they could get their hands on. In many cases repairing and reissuing the arms as they went. While there is some mystery regarding absolute myriad of altered CS weapons, this Model 1842 possesses a few features.

The most noticeable feature is the fact that the musket has been shortened, approximately 5 ¼ inches. It should be noted that the age of the stock matches the metalwork of the musket perfectly, which leads us to believe that this was a period conversion. The stock, however, is unique in that it does not appear the original stock. Undoubtedly it is a period stock, which just so happens to be made from the same reddish colored walnut used on C.S. Richmond .58 Rifle Muskets. Our belief is that this was a Confederate replacement stock, fitted during the war. Oddly enough, the stock does not have an inspector's cartouche, but a stamped number 27 to the side of the trigger guard.

Other interesting features include the fact that this Musket was mortised for a simple rear sight, yet the barrel is still smoothbore. Perhaps the barrel was lightly rifles following salvage and refitting by the confederates and was soon shot out. A bolster clean out hole and screw was added to the bolster. Finally, a crude blacksmith-made copy of the 1842 ramrod was made for the gun. In addition, the sling swivels have been removed, with the loop for the upper sling swivel being completely filed off. Period Vise marks on the breach are evident, which is yet another hallmark of some CS salvaged and repaired arms.

It is marked with an "American Eagle" over US, and the lock plate tail is clearly marked SPRING / FIELD / 1855. The rifle side plate is thin and not bulged, as typical of the Model 1842 Musket. Previous iterations had had a more pronounced side plate with a bulge in the middle. The barrel nocks form still has V / P / Eagle's Head proof marks visible, even with the powder burn. The butt plate is correctly U.S. marked.

We cannot prove that it is indeed a CS altered weapon, but from our experience, the differing added features add up to being one. This is offered in untouched “attic” condition. The metal shows a heavy patina, with oxidation throughout. The mechanics, however, are perfectly sound with half and full cocks being distinct and crisp. Further research may yield more information.

Almost certainly this musket saw service in the U.S. Civil War, very possibly for the Confederacy. Ready to cherish and display!


Year of Manufacture: 1855 - Modified Later
Caliber: .69"
Cartridge Type: Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 46 3/4 Inches

Overall Length: 52 3/4 Inches
Action type: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loading

The US Model 1842 Musket was a .69 caliber musket manufactured and used in the United States during the 19th Century. It was a continuation of the Model 1816 line of muskets but is generally referred to by its own model number rather than just a variant of the Model 1816. All of these muskets were 58 inches long, with a barrel around 42 inches in length.

The Model 1842 was the last U.S. smoothbore musket produced. Many features that had been retrofitted into the Model 1840 were standard on the Model 1842. The Model 1842 was the first U.S. musket to be produced with a percussion lock, though most of the Model 1840 flintlocks ended up being converted to percussion locks before reaching the field. The percussion cap system was vastly superior to the flintlock, being much more reliable and much more resistant to weather.

The Models 1840 & 1842 were made with thicker barrel walls, with the intention that they could be rifled later, however this example is still in the original smoothbore configuration.

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