Original U.S. Springfield Model 1816 Flintlock Musket by Springfield Armory - dated 1819
Original item: One Only. The U.S. Model 1816 Musket was a .69 caliber smoothbore flintlock, with a 42-inch barrel and an overall length of 58 inches. It replaced the previous model 1812 musket, and often is viewed as a further development of that design. Like the Model 1812, the Model 1816 borrowed heavily from the design of the French Charleville model 1777 musket, but had a longer lock plate, a shorter trigger guard, and a longer bayonet than the Model 1812. The Model 1816 also had a more straight lined stock.
The Model 1816 was produced by the Springfield Armory, Harpers Ferry Armory, and numerous other contractors, such as M.T. Wickham. It was eventually replaced by the Springfield Model 1822, which is also considered by many to be a continuation of the Model 1816. These were sometimes referred to as "Whitney Flintlocks" due to the large number made in New Haven, Connecticut by Eli Whitney.
The outbreak of the Civil War in the United States created a large need for percussion muskets, as the number of modern firearms currently on hand was far short of what was needed. To fill this need, updating older design firearms was both faster and more cost effective, so many Model 1816 family muskets still in service were updated to percussion rifles. This example however is still in the original Flintlock Configuration, a rare thing to see!
This very nice example was originally manufactured at the United States Armory and Arsenal at Springfield itself in 1817, as indicated by markings on the tail of the lock plate:
There is also an EAGLE over U.S. on the lock plate in front of the hammer, the standard marking seen on these locks. The side of the barrel nocks form is marked P / Eagle's Head / V, the standard Springfield Armory proof mark in of the era and later, first instituted in 1799, replacing the earlier "Liberty Cap" marking. The barrel tang is dated clearly with 1819, and there is also CO 18 on the barrel just in front of the tang. There are traces of cartouches stamped into the left side of the stock behind the lower lock screw, however we cannot make out anything accurately.
Overall this is a very nice example of a Model 1816 Long Musket, with a great lightly used look. The metalwork overall has a lovely speckled patina of age, acquired from decades of age and cleaning. The iron mounts are all present, and exactly correct. The lock functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full. The main spring is quite strong, so it takes some effort to cock and fire the musket. The iron butt plate is also stamped U.S. and the overall condition of the musket is just lovely.
The stock is in good shape, with a great color, and only light wear from service. There are some repairs around the breech area, which are common due to stress from firing and the wood removed to fit the barrel and lock. There is a crack running back from the rear lock screw, which looks to have split off and been glued back on in the past. There is also a crack running back from the tail of the lock plate, and a chunk missing in front of the flash pan. The cleaning rod is still present, as is the lower sling swivel, however the upper sling swivel is broken off at the barrel band fitting.
A great example of an early American Musket, most likely never reissued for use in the Civil War. It has plenty of research potential and is ready to display!
Year of Manufacture: 1819
Cartridge Type: Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 42 Inches
Overall Length: 57 1/2 Inches
Action type: Side Action Flintlock
Feed System: Muzzle Loading
History of the Model 1816 Musket:
The War of 1812 had revealed many weaknesses in American muskets. The Model 1812 Musket was created in an attempt to improve both the design and manufacture of the musket. The Model 1816 made further improvements, and replaced the Model 1812. The Model 1812 had borrowed heavily from the design of the French Charleville model 1777 musket, and this design was retained for the Model 1816. The Model 1816 had a 42 inch long .69 caliber smoothbore barrel, similar to the Model 1812, but had a longer lock plate, a shorter trigger guard, and a longer bayonet than the Model 1812. The Model 1816 also had a more straight lined stock. The overall length of the weapon was 58 inches.
The Model 1816 musket was originally produced at the Harpers Ferry and Springfield Arsenals between 1816 and 1844. Around 675,000 were made, more than any other flintlock in U.S. history.
The Model 1816 was originally produced as a flintlock musket. Like many flintlock muskets, many of these were later converted to percussion cap, as the percussion cap system was much more reliable and weather resistant.
This model of Springfield musket was used by Texans during the Texas Revolution and by the US Army and militia during the Mexican-American War. During this conflict, the flintlock version of the Model 1816 was preferred by U.S. regular forces, due to percussion cap supply concerns. It was also used during the early years of the American Civil War until around 1862.
Many improvements to the Model 1816 were made, producing the Model 1822, Model 1835, Model 1840, and Model 1842. U.S. Ordnance Department referred to these as different models, but in other U.S. government documents they are referred to as a continuation of the Model 1816. Modern histories are similarly inconsistent in the nomenclature of these weapons.
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