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Old South Military Antiques

South Carolina Confederate Enfield
Item #: OS-7429

The rifled musket shown here is one of the few that were purchased by the State of South Carolina. 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 long arms 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. The Confederacy imported the Enfield rifle-muskets from five English suppliers: (B) Bond, (F) Freed & Co., (J) James, (K) Kerr, (S) Scott & Son. The individual states of Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina also imported arms for the respective state armies.

This brass mounted 1862, dated Tower rifle-musket has a good clear "JS anchor” Confederate inspector’s mark stamped into the underside of the stock behind the trigger guard and the blockade runner inventory number 1431 on the tang of the buttplate. It also has the far rarer large S.C on the right stock face and the small sc on the comb of the stock in front of the buttplate tang. The small sc on the comb was applied to the cargoes of the blockade runners Bermuda and Fingal after their reception in South Carolina.

The highest number known on a SC marked Enfield is 1919, suggesting that only 2000 were purchased and it was very difficult to get them into port on the blockade runners. Chief of the South Carolina Military Department, James Chestnut reported that "Some cases were thrown overboard while running the blockade.” Thus, reducing the number from the original 2000. It is estimated that 465 were thrown overboard.

This rifle musket, inventory number 1431, is listed among the surviving SC guns in The English Connection; however, it is misidentified as 1413.

These originally had a ramrod with the same number engraved into the tip, but it is extremely rare to find this still with the gun. These ramrods are virtually never with the gun because reloading in action did not occur as it is portrayed in the movies. In the movies the private always rams his ball home and then puts the ramrod back in the channel. In reality he jammed it in the ground beside him, so in battle there would be a line of thousands of ramrods jammed in the ground, and the private, who could barely tell whether his musket fired or not due to the maelstrom going on around him, cared not which ramrod he grabbed, he grabbed the first one in reach!

The weapon in fantastic original condition, even retaining much of its original blued finish. The markings are exceptionally clear.

Not for Sale