Confederate Richmond Musket Recovered at Gettysburg - Inventory Number: RIF 050
Identified to “G.F.Cole”
53rd Virginia Infantry
Accompanied by its original bayonet
1863 dated three band C.S. Richmond rifle musket. This musket was purchased out of a local Gettysburg estate with a large collection of items recovered from the Gettysburg Battlefield following the engagement. This is an exceptionally historic example of the most sought-after Confederate infantry long arm documented to the Battle of Gettysburg!
Very rare Southern manufactured .58 caliber rifle-musket made with M1855 production machinery captured at the Harpers Ferry U. S. Armory in 1861. The Richmond Armory served as the Confederacy’s principal arms manufactory throughout the war.
This example, made in early 1863, is all original and correct. The lock is stamped with “C.S.”; “RICHMOND, VA”; and “1863.” The barrel markings are no longer visible due to pitting and wear from firing. The rear site placement had been moved forward during its service for accuracy and the rear channel exhibits the correct steady pin notch. The Richmond manufactured stock and the lock mortice contains the proper “mule foot” that lacks primer feed cuts for the Maynard tape system. The stock bears the name G.F. Cole carved opposite of the lockplate. There are some other light inscriptions in the wood that could be discerned with some effort. The wood stock shows wear from service and exposure to the elements, there is a hairline crack between the barrel bands. The barrel bands are hand-stamped with a “U”; all are centrally positioned near the band centerline and do not line up with the band springs. The brass butt-plate and iron nose cap are resent and consistent with the wear of the gun overall. The ramrod is not Richmond made, but is an original M1842 type which appears to have been with the rifle since its time of service. A great opportunity to own a rare and highly sought-after Confederate infantry long arm!
George F. Cole served with the 53rg Virginia Infantry he enlisted on 4/17/1862 at Norfolk, VA as a Private. On 4/17/1862 he mustered into "G" Co. VA 53rd Infantry. He deserted on 4/30/1863. On 8/18/1863 he returned into "G" Co. VA 53rd Infantry. He deserted on 7/14/1864. He was listed as: AWOL 5/10/1862 (place not stated), AWOL 10/3/1863 (place not stated), Volunteered 5/9/1864 E. D. M. Prison, Richmond, VA (To defend against Sheridan Raid), Arrested 5/14/1864 Castle Thunder Prison, Richmond, VA (Issued clothing), Wounded 7/3/1864 (Estimated day), Hospitalized 7/4/1864 Chimborazo Hospl, Richmond, VA, Hospitalized 7/20/1864 Danville, VA (With wounds to foot and finger), and Was pardoned 8/3/1864 (place not stated) (By President)
Battle of Gettysburg
The regiment was commanded by Colonel William R. Aylett and brought 435 men to the field. It woke at 3 a.m. on July 3 and moved to Seminary Ridge. In the afternoon it took part in Pickett’s Charge as the support brigade on the right flank of the attack, breaking the Union line at The Angle before being thrown back with heavy casualties. Casualty figures are incomplete, but around 30 men were killed.
All of the field officers became casualties, with Colonel Aylett wounded, Lt. Colonel Rawley W. Martin wounded and captured, and Major John C. Timberlake captured. Captain Henry Edmunds took command of the regiment. Colonel Aylett recovered from his wound by July 4 to take command of the brigade, then resumed command of the regiment on July 5.
Officer casualties were high. Captain James Lipscomb was killed killed. Lieutenants Harvie Bray and William Burruss were mortally wounded and captured. Captains William Tredway and William Turner and Lieutenants Andrew Anderson and Evan Ragland were wounded. Captain Lyons Fairholt and Lieutenants Robert Ferguson and James Whitehead were wounded and captured. Captain John Latane and Lieutenants Robert Campbell, Hutchins Carter, Henry Coalter, James Harwood, John Ligon, Sylvester Richardson, Eugene Robinson, James Sale, and Joseph Walton were captured.
From the marker on the Gettysburg battlefield:
July 2. Arrived about sunset and bivouacked on the western border of Spangler’s Woods.
July 3. In the forenoon formed line behind Kemper and Garnett east of the woods. When the cannonade ceased advanced to support Kemper’s and Garnett’s Brigades forming the right of Longstreet’s Corps. Its losses being less at first than those of the other brigades it passed the Emmitsburg Road in compact ranks and as the front line was going to pieces near the stone wall pushed forward and many of its men and some from other commands responding to the call and following Gen. L. A. Armistead sprang over the wall into the Angle and continued the desperate struggle until he fell mortally wounded beyond the stone wall.
July 4. Spent the day in reorganization and during the night began the march to Hagerstown.
George F. Cole:
Enlisted on 4/17/1862 at Norfolk, VA as a Private.
On 4/17/1862 he mustered into "G" Co. VA 53rd Infantry
He deserted on 4/30/1863
On 8/18/1863 he Returned into "G" Co. VA 53rd Infantry
He deserted on 7/14/1864
He was listed as:
* AWOL 5/10/1862 (place not stated)
* AWOL 10/3/1863 (place not stated)
* Volunteered 5/9/1864 E. D. M. Prison, Richmond, VA (To defend against Sheridan Raid)
* Arrested 5/14/1864 Castle Thunder Prison, Richmond, VA (Issued clothing)
* Wounded 7/3/1864 (place not stated) (Estimated day)
* Hospitalized 7/4/1864 Chimborazo Hospl, Richmond, VA
* Hospitalized 7/20/1864 Danville, VA (With wounds to foot and finger)
* Was pardoned 8/3/1864 (place not stated) (By President)
53rd Virginia Infantry:
The 53rd Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment raised in Virginia for service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. It fought mostly with the Army of Northern Virginia.
The 53rd Virginia was organized in December 1861, by consolidating Tomlin's and Montague's Battalions, and Waddill's Infantry Company. Many of the men were recruited in Halifax, New Kent, Charles City, and Pittsylvania counties. It was assigned to General Armistead's, Barton's, and Steuart's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia.
The 53rd took part in almost all of the major campaigns and battles that the Army of Northern Virginia fought. The unit was active from Seven Pines, Seven Days Battles, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, served in North Carolina, the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of Five Forks, then fought at Drewry's Bluff and Cold Harbor. Later it participated in the long Petersburg siege north of the James River and the surrender at Appomattox.
The most famous battle the unit fought in was at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in July 1863. During this engagement, the 53rd Virginia, as the color regiment of the Brigade, took part in the most famous charge of the war, on July 3. During Pickett's Charge, members of the 53rd VA and other elements of Armistead's Brigade, temporarily breached the Union line on Cemetery Ridge.
This regiment contained 468 effectives in June, 1862, lost 31 of the 128 engaged at Malvern Hill, and reported 11 casualties during the Maryland Campaign. Of the 435 who saw action at Gettysburg more than thirty percent were disabled, and there were 3 killed, 33 wounded, and 3 missing at Drewry's Bluff. Many were captured at Sayler's Creek, and 6 officers and 74 men surrendered on April 9, 1865.
The field officers were Colonels William E. Starke, William R. Aylett, John Grammar, Jr., Carter L. Stevenson, and Harrison B. Tomlin; Lieutenant Colonels Rawley W. Martin, Edgar B. Montague, John C. Timberlake, and George M. Waddill; and Majors Henry A. Edmondson and William Leigh.
Inventory Number: RIF 050