Rare North Carolina Marked Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket
Item #: WR909
This is a Pattern 1853 Enfield type III rifle musket from the American Civil War. In late 1861 Colonel John Peyton, a purchasing agent for the state of North Carolina, traveled to England to purchase arms and munitions for that state. He carried with him a letter signed by the Acting Confederate Secretary of War, Judah P. Benjamin, directing Captain Caleb Huse and Major Edward Anderson to assist the Colonel in any way possible. Colonel Peyton was successful in his efforts, and wrote the Governor of North Carolina that he has purchased 2000 Enfield rifles for North Carolina, with the barrels being stamped NC. The NC marked Enfields arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina on 24 April, 1862, aboard the steamer Nashville. Of those 2000 Enfields, less than a dozen are known to exist today. It turns out that the NC letters of all known guns are engraved on the flat of the breech, rather than being stamped. All known examples were manufactured by Barnett & Sons of London, England. The comb of the stocks all bear the viewer's mark of Curtis and Hughes, a CH/1 within a circle. The overall length of this weapon is 54 1/2", with a barrel length of 39". This particular gun was manufactured by Barnett of London, England. J. E. Barnett & Sons supplied arms to the Confederate Ordnance Department, as well as several Confederate states in the early months of the war. The barrel exhibits a dark plum patina. The exterior of the barrel has a smooth surface, with no rust or pitting. The bore of the barrel is dark with light rust and pitting along the entire length, but shows visible rifling, gaging at .62 caliber. Two of the three London barrel proofs are crisp and very legible, the London view mark and the London Gun Proof House mark. The third the London Provisional proof mark is mostly obscured due to a ding in the barrel. Neatly engraved on the flat of the breech are the letters NC, also very legible. The front sight has not been altered and still doubles as a bayonet lug. The rear sight, missing from so many Enfields, is still reporting for duty. It is graduated out to 900 yards, with the right side of the base being stamped 1 - 4. The lock plate is stamped with BARNETT/LONDON forward of the hammer. The mechanics of the lock are fully functional, holding at half and full cock. The patina of the lock matches the barrel and bands. The front sling swivel is missing, but the rear swivel remains. The original ramrod is still present, being stamped T&CG, representing Thomas and Charles Gilbert of Birmingham. They made ramrods and small gun parts for both the Birmingham and London markets from the 1850's until the end of 1862. The nose cap, trigger guard and butt plate are brass and have a mellow golden patina. The stock is in very good condition, having no cracks or wood loss. The barrel channel and ramrod channel edges are still pretty crisp and show no wood loss. There are no stress cracks in the wood anywhere. The stock flat opposite the lock has an x scratched into it, possibly to represent the Confederate battle flag. The shadow of a CH/1 inspectors stamp is still visible about two inches forward of the butt late tang. The wood is a medium brown tone, and has a fantastic look to it! This very rare North Carolina marked Enfield is in very good condition, and marks what may be less than a dozen one known to exist.
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