Old South Military Antiques

Dickson, Nelson & Company Rifle
Item #: OS-7249












Planter William Dickson, Owen Nelson Esq. and Doctor Lewis Sadler started the Shakanoosa Arms Company at Dickson Station, Georgia in 1861. Shaknoosa was a local name given by the Cherokee Indians, meaning "Bird Sanctuary”

The Shakanoosa Arms Company began building their first plant at Dickson Station, Colbert County, Alabama.[1] The manufactory was still under construction in mid 1862, when enemy pressure caused them to relocate at Rome, Georgia. However, when the factory had been reestablished and was nearly ready to begin production, it was destroyed by fire in the fall of 1862. They beleaguered partners now moved to Adairsville, Georgia and changed the name of the company to Dickson, Nelson & Company. There are no known examples marked Shakanoosa Arms, and it is believed that no arms were completed prior to the company’s move to Adairsville.

Confederate Rifles & Muskets by Murphy & Madaus states that an estimated 3600 weapons were manufactured at Adairsville, however I assume this is a misprint, as this cannot possibly be correct. Only 645 can be documented.

In August, 1863, enemy pressure forced another move, this time to Macon, Georgia, but they only remained in Macon until February, 1864, when the removed to Dawson, Georgia. Why they left Macon is unknown for certain, and seems unusual, as the Confederate Government was setting up Macon as a major arm producing depot. Though it is likely that the move to Dawson was because they had purchased 22 acres of land at Dawson for $2,200.00 on March 1, 1863[2] and begun building a factory, anticipating the need for a safer location. The use of a building in Macon was never intended to be permanent.

The company’s contract for 5000 rifles with the State of Alabama called for them to produce a "Mississippi” style rifle, however the rifle that they produced does not resemble a "Mississippi” in any way. It is more similar to the U.S. Model 1855 rifle.

Nearly all of the company’s finished rifles are of the Type II variety and came out of the Dawson factory. The rifle shown here is one that was manufactured in Dawson. The lock plate is marked DICKSON, NELSON & CO. over CS, forward of the hammer, and ALA. over 1865, behind the hammer. The rifle is missing its ramrod, rear sight and front barrel band. The lock screws were destroyed by someone trying to get them out and have been replaced by period screws. The gun has an untouched patina throughout.



[1] State of Alabama Marker

[2] State of Alabama Plaque

Price $12,500.00 USD