|Description and Photograph||
The parts and machinery taken at Harperís Ferry in April of 1861 were transported to Richmond, Virginia and set up in the old Virginia Armory. The state of Virginia transferred the armory to the Confederate Government in August, 1861 and from that time forward the facility was known as the Richmond Armory. The Richmond Armory was by far the most prolific maker of arms for the Confederacy. The rifles and rifle muskets made at the Richmond Armory are the most widely recognized and sought after long arms of the Confederate era.
Slight variations exist in the profile, markings, and the materials used in the construction of the early Richmond rifle muskets. These variations allow the modern collector to more specifically calculate the date of manufacture of a particular arm. In the case of this example, it has the year 1862 stamped into the rare high hump lock. In February of 1862 the Armory changed the method of attaching the nose cap from a rivet to a screw and the high hump lockplate was still in use as well as unmarked iron buttplates. In March, the Armory reduced the lock plate profile and made the last of the iron buttplates.
This rifle musket has the high hump lock, screwed on brass nose cap and an iron buttplate left over from Harperís Ferry, which would positively date its manufacture to February 1862. It would have been issued soon after and has obviously seen a lot of use. The barrel lacks any markings but because it has the Richmond sight stabilizer cutout, one can be assured that it is a Richmond rolled barrel. Interestingly, I had another gun just like this one once (in fact most of this description is a direct copy of that gunís description) and it too lacked barrel markings. The rear sight is also of Richmond manufacture, identified by the Richmond centering post. All of the iron barrel bands are marked with the Richmond, off-center U. The ramrod is the original tapered variety made at the Richmond Armory, not one of the Harperís Ferry swelled rods. Though it is unusual to find a Richmond made rod this early, the rodís channel has never been split out to accommodate a swelled rod, so this is the original rod. The stock of this example lacks the Maynard primer mortise which affirms that it is a Richmond Armory manufactured stock. The sling swivels are complete and it even has what appears to be its original leather sling, which is very strong and supple, without any weak places.
I once had someone contact me after reading a description like the above in which I delineate each part and they had the idea that it was a parts gun because I had described each part. That is exactly opposite of the truth, I describe each part so that the buyer can know that this is the way the gun left the Armory.
The gunís condition is good; the metal is very good and the patina is natural except around the areas of marks where it has been lightly cleaned to bring out the marks, or in the case of the breech, to search for marks. The rifling remains strong. The stock shows the minor dings and nicks consistent with use but is virtually perfect. There is no restoration but for one tiny chip of wood. When someone removed the barrel, the tang pulled up a chip; the same chip that came out was glued back down in place.