Susat Civil War Antiques


    1861 Dated Richmond Rifle Musket

    In April 1861 as the Virginia Militia approached the US Armory in Harpers Ferry Virginia, US troops set fire to the armory buildings and retired.  Local townspeople put out the  fires. While the storeage buildings with complete arms were destroyed, shops with the manufactoring equipment and numerous parts in various stages of completion were saved.  Under the Virginia troops arms were assembled from these parts.  This example comes from early in the transition to Richmond.  Paul Davies notes in his book "the Richmond Armory" that several thousand  complete 1855 rifle musket stocks were salvaged.  These stocks he notes were not cut for the patchbox.  The early production of the Richmond Armory used "Hi Hump "locks which have he full profile of the 1855 lock.  Then rifle muskets were assembled with parts salvaged from Harpers Ferry or newly made parts in Richmond.  In 1862  "CS" was added above the lockplate and later in 1862 a lower hump profile was adopted.  As salvaged parts were used up, Richmond produced all the parts for the Rifle Musket.  Richmond used brass for the buttplate and nosecap in lieu of iron.  However salvaged iron nosecaps and buttplates were used until supplies were exhausted.  

    This example is dated 1861 on the high hump lockplate.  The lockplate is also marked "RICHMOND, VA" forward of the hammer.  This mark has wear and is not as strong as the date.  The stock has the finished lock inletting for the 1855 lock with the recesses for the primer mechanics.  It is probably one of the inletted stocks taken from Harpers Ferry.