RICHMOND RIFLE MUSKET Dated 1863
This is an example of a rifle musket produced by the Richmond Armory. With the burning of Harper's Ferry in 1861, Virginia troops removed the machinery and parts from the Armory. The rifle musket making machinery was sent to Richmond where it was set up and production commenced. The rifle muskets produced were based on the 1855 rifle musket with some changes. First the Maynard tape primer was omited. The lockplate shape for the primer remained. Production in 1861 and into 1862 retained the full height lockplate and those examples are refered to as "High Hump" Richmonds. In 1862 the height of the lockplate was reduced to the level of the top of the stock. This example is the later lockplate profile. Richmond also omitted the patchbox as well as the swell on the ramrod. The buttplate and nosecap were changed to brass. Richmond Armory had the highest number produced of the Confederate armories and contractors.
This example was produced early in 1863, about mid year the die stamp for the year broke and this one has a clear date. This one is full length and is missing the rear sight and has a reproduction Richmond Ramrod. With the rear sight gone, you can see the mortice for the rear sight and see the distinctive Richmond long steady pin notch. This indicates that the barrel was produced at Richmond. It does have the V P and Eagle visible. The date is not visible. The metal is a smooth brown patina with areas of pitting. The lockplate has deep clear markings - 1863 and CS over RICHMOND, VA. The lock functions. Also the bolster screw has either broken off or been pluged with a period repair. The U's on the bands are off center. The buttplate is brass and has a beautiful patina. The stock is full length and solid with the usual dings and bumps. There are initials carved on the face of the butt. There is some staining on the stock. The reproduction ramrod has not been aged and does not seat full depth due to an obstruction in the bottom of the ramrod channel. The wood ramrod channel is straight at the top showing it is a Richmond product.
This is an solid example of a Confederate produced rifle musket that could have been issued in time for the Gettysburg campaign. It shows use and no doubt saw service in the hands of a southern soldier boy...