Original U.S. Springfield Model 1822 Flintlock Contract Musket by Asa Waters of Millbury, CT. - dated 1833

Item Description

Original item: One Only. The U.S. Model 1822 Musket was a .69 caliber smoothbore flintlock, with a 42-inch barrel and an overall length of 58 inches. It replaced the previous model 1816 musket, and often is viewed as a further development of that design. One of the most noticeable differences in the Model 1822 is the attachment of the lower sling swivel. The forward part of the trigger bow was provided with an enlargement which was drilled to receive the sling swivel rivet. Previously, the sling swivel had been affixed to a stud in front of the trigger bow.

The Model 1822 was produced by the Springfield Armory, Harpers Ferry Armory, and numerous other contractors, such as Asa Waters of Millbury, Massachusetts. It was eventually replaced by the Springfield Model 1835, 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. Later, many were converted to percussion for further service, and many of these saw service in the U.S. Civil war.

This example however was never converted, and was made contractor produced, as indicated by the markings under the hammer:


It also has markings on the lock plate tail:


Asa Waters II (November 2, 1769 – December 24, 1841 in Millbury) was an American gunsmith and industrialist. He learned gunsmithing from his father, as was very common at the time for tradesmen. He earned a patent for turning a gun barrel in a lathe. In 1808, with his brother Elijah, he founded an armory, which contracted with the government. In 1825 he founded Millbury Bank. In 1823, he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

This example is in very nice original condition, with a lovely patina showing decades of careful cleaning. The 42 1/2" smooth bore barrel still bears some faint markings on the nocks form, but unfortunately they are not legible due to oxidation and powder burn. There is also staining and oxidation on much of the barrel, and also on the barrel bands. The lock is fully functional, however the workings are worn so it will fire at both full and half cock. The metalwork overall has a lovely oxidized patina, which really has a great look now that it has been cleaned up a bit.

The wood stock is in good shape, with a really nice color, though we can see some reddish inclusions in the grain, so it's possible that it was at one time painted over for some reason. There is a visible cartouche on the left side by the lock screws, though we cannot quite make it out. Above this, we can see that the entire area around the barrel tang on the top of the stock was replaced by a wood graft repair, probably due to powder burn and cracking, which was often seen in this area.

The original cleaning rod is still present, and both sling swivels are present, though they are rust frozen, and the upper swivel is partly broken through. The bore is clear but shows much fouling and oxidation, as expected on a musket that saw as much service as this example did. The U S stamping on the butt plate tang is still clear as well.

A very nice example of an early stage in the evolution of the U.S. Musket! Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1833
Caliber: .69"
Cartridge Type: Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 42 1/2 Inches
Overall Length: 58 1/2 Inches
Action type: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loading

History of the Model 1822 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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