Popularly known, with British troops, as the "Sergeant's Rifle", the Pattern 56 Short Rifle was adopted by the British Army in 1856 and issued to the 60th Rifle Regiment, the Rifle Brigade and Sergeants in line infantry regiments. These light, handy, rifles were popular with troops.
During the Civil War, Pattern 56 Short Rifles were imported by both the United States and Confederate governments.
The Ordnance Department and northern state governments (notably Massachusetts) purchased approximately 8000 Pattern 56 Short Rifles during the Civil War. Approximately half of these rifles were imported by Colt and Schuyler Hartley & Graham.
By February 1863, the Confederacy had imported 9,715 Pattern 56 Short rifles from Great Britain.
In comparison with the more than 900,000 Pattern 1853, Enfield Rifle-Muskets imported for issue to the Union and Confederate Armies during the Civil War, Pattern 56 Short Rifles are seldom seen.
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