Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Tallassee Carbine


The Tallassee carbine is is among the rarest of all Confederate arms. Outside of museums, there are less than ten known.

They were made in Tallassee, Alabama in 1864 with equipment moved from Richmond, Virginia.

The carbine was designed along the lines of the British Enfield pattern 1853 carbine, 58 caliber barrel, which measures 25″ long and was originally finished in the bright and is rifled with 3 broad shallow lands and grooves.

The following information is from the Springfield Museum; “The Confederate Ordnance Department always wanted to headquarter the Ordnance Department safely in the middle of Alabama. Political pressure at the time, however, forced them to stay in Richmond. But by 1864, the political pressure gave way to the realities of war, and Tallassee was chosen to manufacture a carbine modeled after the British Enfield. This was the Confederate Arm officially designed and adopted by a Board of Cavalry Officers in the field. There were approximately 500 carbines manufactured in 1864, with the gunstocks provided by the Macon Arsenal.
Before Federal troops could arrive, the employees destroyed all the gun parts, much of the machinery, and a quantity of the arms. The employees then fled to avoid capture.”

The following is from the Talisi Historical Preservation Society; "Welcome to the history of our gun. Maybe one of the most sought after guns manufactured by the south during the war, because only a very few are known to exist.
On April 28, 1864, as the vulnerability of the armory at Richmond, Virginia had become increasingly alarming, Lt. Col. James A. Burton, superintendent of armories was sent to Tallassee, Alabama, to investigate the possibility of relocating the Richmond Carbine Factory. He arrived on May 28 to find two stone mills operated by Tallassee Falls Manufacturing Company. The old mill which still exist today was the perfect place for the new armory. It was completely isolated from the newer mill and powered by the water coming over the falls of the Great Tallapossa River. The machinery was quickly relocated from Richmond to Tallassee and the manufacture of the rifles was soon begun. Tallassee was a small mill town on the banks of the river and became evident that materials there were in short supply and would have to be shipped in. Times grew harder as the war raged on and the north advanced even further towards the southland. Materials for the construction of these guns became even harder to acquire, but it is known from official records that approximately 500 guns were made. The Union troops were ravaging the South destroying everything in their path. As they moved through Selma, destroying the Arsenal, detachments were sent to destroy the Armory at Tallassee. At least twice they tried to locate it, but either through false information and maybe blind luck the Armory remained unharmed. Knowing of the threat of Union invasion the Armory had been abandoned, taking all the machinery and carbines with them. Now the story truly gets vague. Were the guns buried in the ground, thrown in the river, or melted down? To this day there are many unanswered questions as to the fate of the Tallassee carbines. Only a few have shown up in collections across the country (less than 10 are known to exist). We are still researching this and any information anyone might have would be greatly appreciated....We have purchased this Armory and are trying to restore and preserve it."
- Talisi Historical Preservation Society, PO Box 780022, Tallassee, Al.


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