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U.S. Model 1841 Rifle.


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Model 1841 Percussion Rifle, a.k.a."Mississippi Rifle"
Whitney Contract, this gun is dated 1848. Originally .54 caliber, some rifles were later altered to .58 caliber. This rifle remains in .54 caliber.

Lock marked: E WHITNEY (over US)
N. HAVEN (over) 1848

Faint V P on breech.


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Faint inspector's stamps that remain visible.


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More background on this model:

U.S.Percussion Rifle, Model 1841.
Caliber .54 rifled with seven grooves (some guns were re-rifled to .58 caliber after 1855, together with the addition of a long distance rear sight, and a different ramrod.) The lock plate on these guns was case-hardened, and the barrel was lacquer browned. The black walnut stock was oil-finished. As originally produced, the Model 1841 rifle was not fitted for a bayonet of any type.

This model was the first regulation percussion arm to be produced with a rifled barrel and was considered the finest military rifle of its day.

Total production at Harpers Ferry Armoury was 25,296 guns with an additional 45,500 rifles manufactured by six other contractors.

This model first developed its name "Mississippi Rifle" after having been used by the First Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Battle of Buena Vista in February 1847, under the command of Jefferson Davis during the Mexican War. (1846-1848)


In addition to deciding on the increase in caliber, it was also decided to adapt the brass-hilted saber bayonet to the Model 1841 Rifles. The saber bayonets for these rifles were of three types.


The bayonet shown is a second type bayonet that is of a more common lug type. The alterations were made at Harpers Ferry between 1855 and 1857, -----10,286 bayonets of this type were produced.


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The markings on the bayonet.
The lower P is the "proved" mark. The upper initials PB are the inspector's initials.

These two inspectors used the initials PB???
PB- Peter Barrett Gunner, USN Colt M1860 and M1861 Revolvers 1861-1868.
PB- Pomeroy Booth 1862.

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The next photo shows the bayonet lug that was added to the barrel to accommodate the saber bayonet.


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Maker
Eli Whitney, Jr. (Manufacturer)
When young Eli Whitney, Jr. took over management of the Armoury in 1842, he set about tooling up under his new contract from the U.S. government for making the model 1841 percussion rifle. Machinery and fixtures for making the 1822 contract flintlock musket had to be retooled or replaced in order to produce the lock and barrel of the new model. Whitney, Jr. had the good sense to hire Thomas Warner as foreman, who, as master armourer at Springfield Armoury, had just been making the same kind of major changes there. Thomas Warner had spearheaded the drive to equip the Springfield Armoury with a set of new, more precise machines and a system of gauging that made it possible for the first time to achieve, in the late 1840's, the long-desired goal of interchangeability of parts in military small arms. Under his tutelage, Eli Whitney, Jr. equipped the Whitney Armoury to do likewise.

General History
This gun derives its nickname of the Mississippi rifle from the Mississippi Riflemen led by Jefferson Davis. The Mexican-American War began in 1846. Davis looked favourably upon the war as the United States stood to acquire a considerable land south of the Missouri Compromise line. It was an area which Southern institutions could expand. He resigned his House seat in June, and rejoined the Army. On 18 July 1846 he was elected colonel of the first regiment of Mississippi riflemen. In September of the same year, he participated in the successful siege of Monterrey, Mexico. In June, the Army offered him an appointment as a Brigadier General of a militia unit but he declined. In traditional Southern style he believed the appointment was unconstitutional. The United States Constitution, he argued, gives the power of appointing militia officers to the states, not to the federal government.


David

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I found two accoutrements for the Model 1841 rifle that are currently being offered by two different dealers.

Shown below is a frog and belt for the Model 1855 bayonet for this rifle together with the bayonet and scabbard.

I already have a very decent bayonet and scabbard.....but the belt and frog are rather rare and difficult to find in this condition.


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In the photo below is a .54 caliber bullet mold for this rifle ....not easy to find in this condition.


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This stuff is quite costly....and unfortunately....at this time....I will just have to admire them at a distance.

David

(This Model 1841 rifle and bayonets saw substantial use during the Civil War, the South had its own manufacturers of this gun.)

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Model 1835 and Model 1855 Bayonets with Regulation Pattern 1839 (second from the top) and Regulation Pattern 1859 (top) scabbards.

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The Model 1835 socket bayonet and 1839 Pattern scabbard were for the Model U.S. Model 1842 musket.


U.S. Model 1842 musket. (.69 cal. smooth bore.)

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The Model 1855 socket bayonet with the Pattern 1859 scabbard were for most of the Civil War rifled muskets.


U.S. Model 1861 rifled musket. (.58 caliber rifled bore.)
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David

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From the U.S. Model 1841 rifle to the U.S. M1 rifle...one hundred years later.....things obviously changed....and the manner in which these older guns were marked got more complicated....it used to be so much more simple...as is the case with most other things as time marches on?


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And the bayonets got shorter.

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David

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David,

I'm not too familiar with black powder revolvers. Is the top one a Colt's and the bottom a Remington?

Dustin

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Correct Dustin,

 

Top- Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver.

.44 caliber, 6-shot.

In production from 1860 through 1873…total made approx. 200,000.

It was the major revolver used by U.S. troops during the Civil War.

Approx 127,156 of this model were purchased by the Union government for that conflict.

 

Bottom- Remington New Model Army Revolver.

.44 caliber, 6-shot.

Made 1863-1875.

Total estimated production approx. 132,000.

This model was one of the major handguns of the Civil War and was the stiffest competitor to the Colt 1860 Army revolver.

 

David

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For they that may be interested.

C.W. skin (treated paper) cartridges.

The J&D patent (#33,393 - October 1, 1861) was issued for "an improvement in envelopes for cartridges" and the cartridges made under this patent were officially called "Johnson and Dow's Combustible and Water Proof Cartridges".

"the patent calls for a cartridge case of gun-cotton, paper, cloth or other fabric or texture treated with any nitrate and an oxygenating salt to make it "highly inflammable and instantly combustible"...

The finished cartridge was dipped in collodion (also highly inflammable) to make it waterproof.

In addition to the durability of these cartridges, tests and actual field use indicated that the cartridges were easier to load, since no tearing was required and the whole cartridge was simply placed in the bore. One regimental commander later wrote that the regiment adjacent to his on the firing line had been equipped with J&D cartridges and were able to fire three shots for every two of his own regiment.

The first J&D cartridges for .58 cal rifle musket were ordered by the Federal government on March 24, 1862. Cartridges using the J&D patent were also produced by Elam O. Potter in both rifle musket and revolver calibers.

Julius Hotchkiss patented the skin cartridge, which D.C. Sage (and a few others) manufactured; again waterproof by the nature of the skin. Again the power of the percussion cap penetrates the skin and ignites the powder. Some of the .44 cal. Army packets were labelled “Waterproof Skin Cartridges.”

The patented cartridge by Doctors Doremus and Budd had a powder envelope formed by pressing the powder into molds under high tonnage, attaching them to bullets, and then dipping them into collodion, which waterproofed them, is extremely flammable and easily ignited with a percussion cap.

The combustible cartridges allowed quickness in loading, firing and being waterproof, became useful in the field. You didn’t need good teeth to tear them open and unnecessary handling.



Shown below is a packet of cartridges for the .44 caliber C.W. revolver.
This fine example and photo belongs to Terry A. White.



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.54 CALIBER PAPER CARTRIDGE FOR THE M1841 MISSISSIPPI RIFLE:
This photo came from a dealer's site and does not belong to me.

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David

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I think i need to wipe my chin :D So many beautiful pieces in the one thread will make any hot blooded human drool :)

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jhs1970426

your collection is truly an inspiration for me. I have always enjoyed reading and learning and studying weapons ranging from the Civil War up until WWII. Your collection of revolvers to muzzle loaders to garands to 1911s is just amazing. I can only hope that my future collections will be remotely as elaborate as yours!

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Thanks for your kind comments.

I also collect German/ Axis WWII stuff.....so it gets a bit confusing at times.

 

David

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The tradition lives on. The 155th Infantry of the Mississippi Army National Guard is descended from the 1st Mississippi Regiment and is still called the "Mississippi Rifles". It is the 7th oldest Regiment in the Army. When a soldier retires from the Rifles he is presented with a M1841 Rifle, reproduction, of course.

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