Richmond Carbine - G1
With the outbreak of hostilities the South was faced with the dilemma of creating an industry to manufacture weapons, uniforms, and equipment for its new armies. It relied heavily on imported materials from Europe, inventory captured from armories in the South, and whatever could be produced by pre-existing industries.
When the national armory at Harper’s Ferry was captured by the Confederates in April 1861 the stock of Model 1855 weapons and the equipment used to make them was transported to ordnance facilities in Richmond, Virginia. Using this equipment, the South set to manufacturing their own versions of modern rifle-muskets, carbines, and musketoons. The locks were made using the captured dies and forgings originally designed for the Maynard tape primer used on the Model 1855. The Richmond firearms didn’t use the primer tape system but the dies were already cast for the outmoded model so the early Richmonds all featured the raised hump in their locks where the tape compartment would have been created.
The standard Richmond cavalry carbine had a .58 calibre barrel 25” long mounted on a full walnut stock fastened by two iron barrel bands. Ramrod is iron with a tulip head shape. It had sling swivels on the upper band and front of the trigger guard, and a third swivel screwed directly into the underside of the butt stock. A rear sight aligned with a front sight having a wide base tapering upward on each side to form a tall narrow blade. The forend and butt plate are brass. The barrel is proof marked “V P” over an eagle head. The lock is marked with date behind the hammer and “CS / Richmond, VA” forward of the bolster.
This example bears those characteristics with the exception of the sling swivels on underside of stock (there is a filled hole in its place), the trigger guard swivel has broken off, both sights are missing but a front sight replacement was crudely fashioned with a groove ground into the rear barrel band for sighting the weapon. These alterations were likely made after the war to render the weapon “non-military” in form.
The lock plate date is “1863” and the initials “EH” were scratched into the lock by the soldier who carried the weapon. The hammer screw is a replacement. (Often the original screws got “buggered” by using improper tools to tighten or loosen the screw.) Beneath the lock plate the stock reveals that the original manufacturing profile is present in the configuration of the stock.
I have thoroughly examined this weapon and can attest to its authenticity. However, I recommend that this weapon not be fired under any circumstances. Age can render iron fragile and damage to the relic and or the user may occur if firing is attempted.
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