1st model Merrill Breechloading Carbine
The Merrill breechloading firearms first patent was in 1858. J H Merrill converted 100 each 1841 Rifles, 1842 Muskets and Carbines to the Merrill breechloading system and submitted them to the US Military Small Arm Trials of 1860. They were reviewed favorably enough he was able to get contracts for rifles and carbines at the start of the war. He secured an additional patent in 1861. His plant was located in Baltimore Maryland. The carbine was 54 caliber and produced in 2 models. The government purchased a total of 14,495 carbines. There were issued to a number of units including the: 27 Kentucky; 1, 5 & 18 New York; 1st New Jersey; 1st & 3rd Wisconsin. The were generally not well liked.
This example is complete and all original. The first model has a brass patchbox. Raising the lever opens the breech. The lever latches into the base of the rear sight. The metal has a grey and brown patina with some areas of light pitting. The markings are all present, sharp and readable. The action is solid and strong. The stock is solid with some dings and scratches. The serial number is early so this example dates from early in the war and saw service. A nice example of a scarce carbine.