Sunday, May 14, 2017

One of the lessor seen Springfields, the M-1847 Sappers & Miners (Engineers) Musketoon.

In early 1847 the US Board of Ordnance met to evaluate three new patterns of “musketoons” that had been produced at the Springfield Arsenal during 1846. These three pattern guns would be adopted and approved by the Ordnance Department as the US M-1847 Sappers & Miners (Engineers) Musketoon, the US M-1847 Artillery Musketoon and the US M-1847 Cavalry Carbine.

All major features were nearly identical, a nominally 26” long, round, smoothbore barrel of .69 caliber, secured to the stock with a pair of barrel bands, the locks being smaller versions of the US M-1842 percussion lock.The primary differences lay in the furniture, carrying systems, rammer systems and type of bayonet mounting systems (if any) that were used on the guns.

While the family of US M-1847 “musketoons” originally contained only three models, within a decade no less than 10 different variants existed, due to modifications, design improvements, and refitting of some guns for other service.

The carbines went into production in 1847, with 200 US M-1847 Sappers & Miners Musketoons being being completed and accepted into stores during that calendar year. Production of the three models ended in 1856. During the production run a total of 1,030 Sappers & Miners Musketoons were made.

The most identifying feature of the Sappers Musketoon was it’s massive 2-section bayonet lug that allowed a large saber bayonet to be mounted on gun. The bayonet had an overall length of about 26 ¾” with a 22” double-edged gladius style blade and a 5 ¾” brass hilt with a fish scale pattern cast into the grip.

The Sappers musketoon remained in general service until it was replaced by the US M-1855 Rifle, which was available in sufficient quantities for issue to the Corps of Engineers during the latter portion of 1858.
During the final years of their service, a few Sappers Musketoons were altered to artillery musketoons (or “cadet musketoons”), and were issued to the various states under the Militia Act of 1808 for use by military school cadets. 
However, I found it noted, "802 unaltered examples remained in military stores until officially deemed obsolete".
With war looming it is rather unlikely that any arms in arsenal inventory were “deemed obsolete”. Did any of these see service in the American Civil War, I have not found any documentation saying yea or nay.

It is easy to understand why original configuration US M-1847 Sappers & Miners Musketoons are a “want to have” by Springfield collectors. 

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