|Description and Photograph||
Louisiana Governor Thomas Moore appointed Frederick Tilton as purchasing agent to the state and dispatched him to England in the summer of 1861. By the end of August he had purchased 300,000 pounds worth of arms; 4,500 Enfield rifles included. The first one thousand Enfields that he purchased arrived in Savanah, Georgia via the blockade runner Fingal the following November. Subsequently 3500 rifles were shipped to Nassau via the Southwick in February, 1861 where the cargo was divided up, thus dividing the risk of capture, and sent to Charleston, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina on the Kate and the Cecile. Most subsequently made the voyage in safety, but those on the Minho went to the bottom when she was sunk trying to enter Charleston Harbor.
These 3500 Louisiana State purchase rifles were examined and marked by a viewer with the initials “TC” who is yet to be identified. Though we do not know his name, thanks to the recently discovered McRae Papers, now part of the South Carolina Relic Room Collection, we know his mark, so that we can positively identify the Confederate Enfield rifles purchased by Frederick Tilton. “TC” struck the underbelly of the stocks of these rifles with two stars, while the butts of these rifles were stamped with inventory numbers 1-3500. Number 449 is shown here. It is completely original in all regards and functions perfectly. It has never been cleaned with the exception of a bit of scouring at the breech to make the 24 24 bore marks more legible, otherwise the patina is thick and dark.
Though they safely reached Confederate shores, the Louisiana purchased guns did not reach Louisiana, or at least did not reach the state government as they were seized by “Van Dorn (Earl), and afterwards by every petty colonel or captain who under the pleas of excessive vigilance manages to extract for himself and his command whatever they may need or their fancy may suggest” according to Governor Moore. Despite promises to the contrary, Moore never did get his precious Enfields back into the hands of the Louisiana troops, but they no doubt served the Confederacy well wherever they wound up busting caps.
Today these TC Star marked rifles are among the very rarest of the Confederate state guns. Inventory number 449, shown here, is the exact same rifle used to illustrate the Louisiana purchases in Captain Steve Knott’s The Confederate Enfield and can be found on page 38.
This is a completely original, published and documented Confederate longarm for only $5400.00.