Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Confederate Bilharz, Hall ML Carbine

Late 1863/early 1864 the Bilharz, Hall & Company of Pittsylvania Courthouse Virginia received a contract from the Confederate States for a cavalry carbine similar to the Springfield Model 1855 carbine.

Why this particular pattern of musketoon was chosen as the basis for the Bilharz, Hall & Company guns is not known, but the design of the Confederate carbine generally conformed to the overall appearance of its pre-war US counterpart the US M-1855 Springfield, with some minor changes.

The gun was iron mounted with the exception of a *brass nose cap and instead of the conventional carbine sling bar and ring on the stock opposite the lock, a sling ring was secured to the rear of the trigger guard bow. The carbine retained the iron-mounted design with a swivel ramrod, but dispensed with the adjustable rear sight, opting for a simple fixed one. The 22” barrel was .58 caliber, making it compatible with the .577 and .58 ammunition used by most of the Confederate infantry. The Bilharz carbines initially utilized a brass nose cap like their US counterparts, but after about 350 were manufactured the *brass piece was replaced with a pewter nose cap that remained in use through the end of the manufacturing period. It is generally believed that the Confederate War Department agreed to purchase 1,000 of these carbines from Bilharz, and it is believed that between 500 and 750 were finally completed.