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Possible Confederate Enfield pattern 1853


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#1 sundance

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 02:11 PM

I have a friend offering me an Enfield musket marked Tower 1863. He let me take it for a bit to look it over. It's not in the best shape but absolutely passable. The stock is very nice. What caught my interest was the marking on the top of the butt plate tang. The plate is brass and tarnished.  In small hard to read (due to the tarnish) print, perhaps a little less than a quarter inch, it reads  "14 Ga Vol." . So I got excited thinking the 14th Georgia Volunteer infantry regiment. I've read posts on markings found on Confederate Enfield butt plates and see 4 numeral numbers, a letter and a number combinations,but nothing like this. I saw an article that said the 14th Ga. Volunteers were issued pattern 1853 Enfields. I'd like to get the book "The English Connection", or "the British Connection" but can't afford it right now. Just wondered if anyone had seen any marking like this. Any help would be appreciated. I'll try to get some pics up. Lastly, it was stamped one letter/numeral at a time. Thanks.



#2 SARGE

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 08:55 AM

British Enfields were certainly used by Confederate Militia.  I have one property marked to the Louisiana State Militia.  These were known to be imported by Louisiana during the war.  There are certain markings that could be found on Confederate imported Tower muskets.  For instance, look for no British military proofs or property markings and the tiny SH/C stamp on the wood or barrel.  Property markings should also be done with a period die stamp and not a modern one.  That is to say the letters should generally have serifs and not be modern block letters.  

 

Photos would certainly help as each item should be judged on its own.

 

I hope this is helpful.



#3 sundance

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 02:00 PM

Thanks Sarge. I'll put together a list of markings and get some pictures up. It does have the Birmingham Small Arms Trade cartouche and no British military proofs. There are markings in the ram rod channel but maybe all Enfields have those. The caliber  proof mark is 25. The maker/assembler is Swinburn.



#4 sundance

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 03:29 PM

Here are some pictures

 

 

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#5 sundance

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 03:30 PM

More pictures

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#6 sundance

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 03:31 PM

More pictures

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#7 sundance

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 04:37 PM

The second picture is the Swinburn stamp and the 3rd is the Birmingham Small Arms Trade cartouche, Difficult to see if you're not right on top of it.



#8 SARGE

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 01:38 PM

The British markings are consistent with a commercial trade British export rifle of the type that was imported into America during our Civil War.  The fact that the rifle has no British military markings certainly allows for this conclusion, IMHO.  Further, the gun appears to have been together for a long time from what I can see from the very nice photos.  

 

While I am always suspicious of any Confederate markings it seems clear that these were not applied in Britain as they are inconsistent with the way the Brits marked their firearms.  So, the question is when were these Georgia Volunteer markings applied?  Frankly, I don't get a definitive feeling for the CS markings one way or another.  Perhaps someone more expert in these rifles will chime in here.



#9 dave peifer

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 01:45 PM

if i may ask........where did the friend find this musket?that may help with judging the markings as original or being added............dave



#10 sundance

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 03:00 PM

Sarge: Thank you very much for your input - it was very helpful as I expected it would be. I know many have said they will just not take the chance on items with possible Confederate markings as so many of them are faked (like Nazi SS marked items). But... I can hope.Mr. Peifer. Unfortunately  no real history came with the gun. My friend is an antique dealer who picked it up from a son of a deceased collector from the Rochester NY area. He did not know the gentleman. The 14th Georgia was at Gettysburg and had one heck of a fighting record.



#11 dave peifer

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 03:07 PM

in that case,it's one of those thing that you would never be sure of,might be might not..........dave



#12 sundance

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 03:45 PM

But the possibility that it's Confederate is part of what makes this activity so exciting.



#13 268th C.A.

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 07:27 AM

One way too look at it, if its near the price of a reproduction, Buy it. You cant go wrong....



#14 GeneralLucas

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 10:07 AM

To my knowledge, the only book on Confederate Enfield Rifles is by Wiley Sword.  The markings of 'JS' with an anchor below on an Enfield is certainly Confederate.  Mr. Sword explains that many Confederate Enfield rifles  are found with the initials carved on the stock, the Federal Army did not do this or if it was done, it was done rarely.  Here is an example of a Confederate Enfield with initials and notches cut in the stock.  Of note is that the Confederate arms buyer in England was Caleb Huse and would obtain rifles without a rear sight such as this one pictured. 

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#15 GeneralLucas

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 10:07 AM

2.

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#16 GeneralLucas

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 10:08 AM

3.

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#17 GeneralLucas

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 10:09 AM

4.

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#18 GeneralLucas

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 10:11 AM

5.  Check out the brass barrel bands......no sling swivels.  The rifled musket is dated 1863.

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Edited by GeneralLucas, 28 May 2016 - 10:14 AM.


#19 sundance

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 10:36 AM

GeneralLucas - thanks for the input. I'll have to look for Sword's book. I think the book I mentioned, The English Connection, is rather recent. The brass barrel bands are interesting.Thanks.



#20 Steve Rogers

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 11:02 AM

Three books (and maybe more) on the subject are more recent than Sword.

The English Connection is pricey, but the best. There is also The Confederate Enfield by Knott, and Suppliers to the Confederacy by Barry and Burt.

As for the Enfield posted by Sundance, it could be a CS imported arm, but that will depend on the fine points: looking for Sinclair Hamilton & Co. cartouches, viewer marks, etc. I do not care for the 14 GA Vol marking, but ironically the gun could still be a legit CS import even if that stamp is bad. Before the information on the view marks, etc., was published bogus CS stamps were added to a lot of guns to make them more desirable and since for the most part people could not distinguish real CS from US imports these stamps ended up on both.

As a side note, I was talking with a collector at Mansfield who lamented that a rifle in his collection with a now recognized-as-legitimate CS alteration to musketoon had been marred by the addition of a bogus CS stamp years ago by someone who thought he was creating a more valuable piece from a civilian altered military weapon.



#21 sundance

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 03:15 AM

Mr. Rogers - Could you kindly explain a bit more as to what  "viewer marks" are and the significance of the Sinclair  Hamilton & Co. mention? Thanks for the input.



#22 Steve Rogers

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 06:23 AM

There is a specific group of markings identified as coming from viewers, i.e. inspectors, for guns going destined for the Confederacy. In some cases their identities are known, in other cases there is enough circumstantial evidence to identify them as viewers for the CS (or, rather, its agents.) There are also companies such as Sinclair, Hamilton and Co., who were purchasing guns for the CS, so their company marks are a good indicator of CS use or destination. (There are records, of course, of purchases by smaller private commercial firms for shipment and sale to the CS, but that is a separate issue.) And, there are a couple of sets of inventory/control numbers that identify guns in some shipments to the CS, as well as some state markings.

It's a complicated issue. I'd strongly recommend The English Connection. It's pricey, but when legit CS marked import arms are bringing 2k and up, it would be a good resource to have if you are interested in the subject.



#23 sundance

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 06:22 PM

Steve - Thanks for the info. I'll have to save up and get "The English Connection". Then again Father's Day isn't too far off.



#24 Marktk36thIL

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 07:44 AM

Sundance,

While late to the party, this does not fit the description of CS marked muskets from England. 

 

Different viewer stamps on the underbelly of the stock, opposite of the lock, on top of the barrel, near the buttplate tang, and on the buttplate tang would be correct; this one does not have the viewer Mark's to say that this was imported for CS use.

 

Also, Georgia did mark some of their guns. In 1861 I believe, some Enfields bought by Georgia were confiscated for CS use, and redirected to other states' troops, which really pissed Georgia off. So they began marking their guns.

 

This piece was probably imported for Union use in 1863 , about the same time the Federal government began catching up on arming its soldiers with 1st grade weapons, and phasing out 2nd and 3rd grade pieces

 

A new buttplate would really make a nice displayable rifle, and who knows, maybe he marked it after the war. But with any ID'd pieces, one has to be careful. We've all been burned before.



#25 sundance

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 02:20 PM

Mark: You may be late to the party but your information is very much appreciated. I can't bring myself to replace the buttplate since I have no information on when and by whom the Georgia reference was added. I certainly accept that it could have easily been added long after the war or just for the purpose of improperly enhancing the value/history of the piece.  In any event the price was so darn attractive I couldn't pass it up. I'd still love to see any comments others may have. That's why I'm a member here.




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