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Old South Military Antiques

USMC/Virginia/Confederate Mississippi Rifle
Item #: OS-7587

Being the oldest and largest navy yard in America, the Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, had first been built and operated as a shipyard by the Virginia State Navy and then the United States Government. When Virginia left the Union, the U.S. Navy attempted to burn the yard and escaped. In their haste to get out they left tons of equipment, weapons and supplies, including 1,085 cannon and what would become the famed "Virginia”, the first operational ironclad in the world. Much of this material had simply been dumped in the bay, where the Confederates quickly salvaged as much as possible.

Among the recovered weapons was a cache of U.S. Model 1841 rifles that prior to the War had been acquired from the U.S. Army stores by the U.S. Navy for use by the United States Marines. These arms can be positively identified by the GNY (Gosport Navy Yard) stamped into the butt plate and the ABF stamped into the underside of the breech tang. The ABF were the initials of Archibald B. Fairfax, Commander, U.S.N. who was an inspector at Gosport Navy Yard prior to and during the War. After separating from the U.S. Navy on April 18, 1861, the day the Union Navy abandoned and burned Gosport Navy yard, Fairfax stayed with Virginia and remained at Gosport salvaging the equipment which had been burnt or dumped into the bay.

After recovering the rifles and making repairs Fairfax struck his initials into the rifle’s tang. The rifles then entered Virginia, and later, Confederate service.

This 1849 manufactured Robbins & Lawrence Model 1841 is without a doubt one of the rare USMC rifles recovered at Gosport in 1861. The GNY and the ABF stamps are deeply struck and clear. After the gun was salvaged the lock was altered to take a Lorenz mainspring and a CS manufactured ramrod was inserted. The only post War alteration is the removal of the sling swivels. After 1855, many of the older rifles were bored out to .58 caliber, so that it could use the .58 caliber Minie Ball that had recently become standard. This one has been bored to .58 caliber and shot out to .59. The bore remains smooth and bright. The gun’s metal retains its beautiful, dark patina. The wood has numerous dings and scratches but all are superficial. Overall the gun has an exceptionally rich, attractive patina. The lock and patch box mechanics work perfectly.

The gun has a treble, rich history; as a USMC rifle and both a Virginia and a Confederate arm.
Price $6,950.00 USD