Confederate General's

Maynard Rifle


Description and Photograph





It is well known that in the months leading up to the War Between the States, the state of Mississippi is known to have purchased at least 325 Maynard carbines to issue to her cavalry.  There are numerous photographs from the period of cavalrymen holding the Maynard carbine.  Among these are the Bolivar Troop, 1st Mississippi Cavalry Battalion, and the Jeff Davis Legion, 2nd Mississippi.  Less known, but well documented is the fact that Mississippi also purchased at least 175 Maynard Rifles in December of 1860 to arm her Infantry.  Photographs exist of members of the 41st and 42nd Mississippi Infantry holding these guns as well as a diary account Private A. L. Peel, 19th Mississippi Infantry complaining that his unit was issued muskets and the Maynard Rifles sent to the cavalry then in Missouri.  The number of carbines and rifles shown here are the purchases that records exist for, but certainly there were more purchased as witnessed by the varying number of units armed with them and that the Maynard was included in Confederate ordnance manuals as an official weapon.

A Maynard Rifle with positive owner identification has recently come to light and it too is associated with Private Peel's regiment, the 19th Mississippi.  Engraved on the barrel's breech in period script is “Captain N. H. Harris Co. C 191h Miss.”  Company C was known as the Warren Rifles.  The company was organized under Captain Harris on May 14, of 1861 in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Captain Harris' company was one of the earliest companies to go to Virginia, already in camp there by June 1, 1861, and it was about this time that the Company was enlisted in Confederate service and based on the inscription, it was almost certainly about this time that the rifle was presented to Captain

The company was stationed at Manassas during the battle, but was not actively engaged.  The 19th was heavily engaged at Williamsburg and shortly thereafter, Harris was promoted to Major.  The 19th was again in the thick of the fight at Gaines Mill and Frayser's Farm.  He was wounded in the latter battle.  His regiment was again in engaged during the Maryland Campaign.  The following November, Harris was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment.  On April 2, 1863 he was again promoted, this time to full Colonel, to take rank from May 5, 1862.  After fighting at Chancellorsville, the regiment went on to be decimated at Gettysburg.  In preparation for the 1864 campaign, Harris was promoted to Brigadier General on January 20, 1864.


For the remainder of the War, General Harris brilliantly led the Mississippi Brigade of Mahone's Division in the Army of Northern Virginia and suffered all of its trials and tribulations until the bitter end.  General Harris was surrendered with the army at Appomattox.  Had the War not ended, Harris would have undoubtedly continued to rise in rank.


Even though General Harris' Maynard Rifle has a mismatched serial number it is obvious from the patina that this was mixed at the time of its use and it is completely original in all regards with the exception of the thumbscrew which looks to be a replacement.  As the pictures show, the wood and metal are in beautiful condition.  




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