Sunday, October 16, 2016

Confederate Richmond Type l Musket

Manufactured with machinery captured from the U.S. Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, in 1861, the Richmond Armory Rifle Muskets conformed to the same general configuration as the U.S. Model 1855 Rifle Muskets. Type I muskets were manufactured under the State of Virginia before the armory was turned over to the Confederate government.

This particular rifle was pictured and described in Paul Davies' study "C.S. Armory Richmond" (page 1) and was formerly of the Fredrick Goldbecker Collection.

This musket is a Type I, the earliest manufactured units with a full humpback lock plate marked "RICHMOND VA" ahead of the hammer and "1861" marked vertically at the rear. The top of the barrel is also dated "1861."

Originals had a Bright finish with casehardened lock, without the Maynard tape primer mechanism. It is fitted with a front sight that acts as a lug for a socket type bayonet and a three leaf rear sight. 
The full length stock is fitted with a brass forend cap. The musket has an iron straight shank ramrod with tulip head.

Interestingly, the left stock flat is stamped with a recut "SA" (Salmon Adams, Master Armorer at Richmond Armory) cartouche and a "JAS" cartouche (John A. Schaeffer, Foreman, Harpers Ferry Arsenal Stock Finishing Shop). That pretty well documents that the stock was one of the many captured at Harpers Ferry.

When the armory was transferred to Confederate States control in June 1861. Production began in October 1861 retaining the general form of the Model 1855, but without the Maynard tape primer mechanism and patch box. The lock plate milling machine was modified in March 1862 to make manual capping easier by lowering the characteristic tape primer hump. Forged iron butt plates were replaced by brass butt plates concurrently with the lock modification. Most Confederate rifles also differed from the Union rifles they were based on with a different rear sight and brass nose cap.


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