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. In April 1861, confederate forces led by Thomas Jonathan Jackson captured the Union-held town of Harper's Ferry in western Virginia, and salvaged the machinery used to manufacture Springfield Model 1855 muskets. Confederate troops captured 33,993 black walnut stocks with the machinery. The machinery and stocks were shipped on the Winchester and Potomac Railroad to Winchester, Virginia, where they were transferred by wagons over the Valley Pike to be reloaded onto the Manassas Gap Railroad at Strasburg, Virginia for delivery to Richmond. The Old State Armory building with Harpers Ferry Machinery was transferred to Confederate States control in June 1861. Production began in October 1861 retaining the general form of the Model 1855, but without the Maynard tape primer mechanism and patch box. The lock plate milling machine was modified in March 1862 to make manual capping easier by lowering the characteristic tape primer hump. Forged iron butt plates were replaced by brass butt plates concurrently with the lock modification.
This Richmond Rifle Musket has a medium height lock hump and is dated 1863 and marked “C.S. Richmond VA.” The lock holds and functions on all positions. The iron parts have a rich, untouched brown patina. The barrel is missing the rear site and bears the “Richmond cut” site notch. The “V.P. and eagle” proof marks are still visible at the barrel breach. The brass butt plate and nose cap are Richmond manufactured, as is the upper barrel band. The lower and middle barrel bands bear the “U” marking of the US 1855 Rifle Musket. The ramrod is a southern manufactured copy of the Model 1842 Musket with more convex head as encountered on the captured and collected variety of muskets. The bore is slightly dark with pitting and strong rifling. The stock is in good condition with significant burnout behind the nipple from heavy firing, and the comb bears two sets of initials. This is a genuine Confederate manufactured long arm that saw a lot of action.
Inventory Number: RIF 138