Confederate Marked 1861 Tower Rifle

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     As early as the spring of 1861, the Confederate government sent agents to Great Britain to acquire arms and accoutrements.  During the course of the war as many as three hundred thousand longarms were imported from Great Britain.  Unfortunately, most of these arms cannot be distinguished from their Yankee imported brethren, but some, like the rifle shown here can be positively identified as Confederate imports by their inspector marks.

     Most of the arms imported from Great Britain were the pattern 1853 Rifle Musket, but a small percentage were the rarer and more desirable pattern 1856 two band Enfield rifle, like the one shown here.

     The Confederacy purchased 5000 short Enfield rifles in 1861from various English gunmakers.  The 1861 dated rifles purchased from Tower were mounted with either brass or iron furniture.  The more common brass mounted examples have Confederate inventory numbers engraved into the buttplate tang and the “JS anchor” mark behind the trigger guard tang.  Because it was difficult to engrave the iron buttplate tangs of the iron mounted models, the Confederate inventory numbers are stamped into the underside of the stock, below the JS anchor stamp.

  This iron mounted, 1861 dated Tower rifle has a good clear Confederate “JS anchor” inspector’s mark stamped into the stock just behind the trigger guard tang and the Confederate inventory number 843 stamped into the underside of the stock.

     With the exception of a replaced rear sling swivel and a ramrod missing about three inches of its lower end, the rifle is all original and in very good condition.  The stock is smooth with the exception of a very few bumps and dings and three initials carved into the stock’s left face.  There is virtually no burnout of the wood at the breach.  All of the metal is smooth and the markings are sharp.

 

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