Old South Military Antiques

Taken from the Hands of a Dead Rebel at Fort Fisher
Item #: OS-6548

  Note the deep CH 1 Stamping

Fort Fisher was built on a peninsula, at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, 18 miles below Wilmington, North Carolina. A massive earthen fort, it protected the last port open to the Confederacy. Its guns allowed blockade runners to ascend to the Port of Wilmington, bringing in much needed arms and supplies.

Nearly two thousand stalwart Confederates defended the fort and worked its guns. On January 13, 1865, Union Navy, Marines and Infantry attacked the fort, firing as many as 10,000 shells at the Confederates. Sixty ships under Admiral David Porter attacked while Major General Alfred Terry led a force of 9,000 troops from the Army of the James. Colonel William Lamb commanded the 1,900 man garrison of Fort Fisher. After two days of heavy fighting the Confederacy’s last open port fell to the invader. Union casualties were 1,341; the Confederates lost the entire garrison to capture after a quarter of its defenders were killed or wounded.

Like soldiers and sailors in all wars, souvenirs were collected, among them, the Enfield rifle musket shown here. Its captor pasted a paper label that reported its battle history for posterity; it reads: "Relic of the late Rebellion This Enfield rifle taken from the hands of a dead Rebel soldier was found in the bombproof after the surrender of Fort Fisher, N.C.” and signed "Chas. H. Hammond.”

The label, written in script with ink, had darkened with age, and at some point the writing was transposed to type. At the time it was typed, the copyist did not make out the words "late” and "bombproof” and these were filled in later at different times, once in blue, and once in red ink. This typed history was folded and pushed into the barrel.

Ironically the rifled musket the dead Rebel clung to was probably brought by a blockade runner into the very port he died defending. It is an 1863 dated Tower, and has the rare CH 1 viewer’s stamp deeply struck just behind the trigger guard tang. The gun is in virtually new condition and is one hundred percent complete down to the nipple protector.

This is truly a remarkable piece of Confederate history and is only 3,800.00


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