Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trenton Locomotive and Machine Company Model 1861 rifle-musket.

The U.S. Model 1861 Springfield rifle musket was the primary infantry weapon of Federal Forces at the start of the Civil War. 
Springfield Armory could not keep up with the demand for muskets at the start of the war, and sub-contracted to a number of private manufacturers. 

On December 26, 1861, James T. Hodge and Addison M. Burt each received separate contracts calling for 50,000 Model 1861 rifle-muskets at $20.00 each. 
Shortly thereafter Burt approached Hodge with the suggestion of joining their respective arms-making venture, but without forming an actual partnership or corporation which would have voided their contracts. Both felt that a combined effort would prove highly beneficial. 

In mid-January of 1862, Burt and Hodge leased the extensive facilities of the well known Trenton Locomotive and Machine Company, Trenton, New Jersey, at which place they planned to fabricate the rifle-muskets of their respective contracts.

In the following May, Hodge and Burt requested that their contracts be reduced from 50,000 to 25,000 each. This request was approved and so ordered by P.V. Hagner of the U.S. Ordnance Department. 
In spite of the complete and extensive machinery and equipment at their disposal, neither contractor was able to deliver more than about half of their already reduced contracts. Mr. Burt delivered 11,495 rifle-muskets, and Mr. Hodge, 10,500. All were typical Model 1861's in all respects.

The 'Trenton' marked rifle-muskets are excellent examples of a wartime product manufactured through the facilities of what had been a successful peacetime operation, and exemplified the ability of Northern industry to retool for war production." - Reilly

"...many Trenton marked muskets were delivered to the State of New Jersey and perhaps to other states. In 1863 the legislature and governor of the State of New Jersey decided to purchase 10,000 stands of the Springfield rifled musket." - Hartzler, Yantz, Whisker.

Sources & References:
Springfield Armory Museum
Hartzler, Daniel D., Larry W. Yantz & James Biser Whisker. THE U.S. MODEL 1861 RIFLE-MUSKET. Tom Rowe Publications. 2000.
Reilly, Robert. U.S. MILITARY SMALL ARMS 1816-1865. The Eagle Press. Baton Rouge, La. 1970.


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