Made in the only state-run armory!
Rare Antique Richmond Manufactory Civil War-time Conversion Musket, originally made in Richmond, Virginia circa 1818 and converted during the war by Haslett circa 1862.
The year was 1798. America was still facing many uncertainties on all fronts. Naval conflicts from England and France were constant threats. The harassing of U.S. ships interrupted firearm supply routes that caused concern for the US federal government. There was a great need to supply the states with weapons for local militias.
With the supply being so low, many states attempted to import arms on their own through the open market in Europe. But this was expensive and shared the same risks. Some states relied on the slow-moving federal armories, and waited for what they could get, when they could get it. Virginia though, didn’t have time to wait for gifts from the federal government, they had a better idea in mind! After jumping through a few hoops, plans for the Virginia Manufactory of Arms had begun. Virginia was the only state to operate a local armory.
In 1802 the first state owned firearm factory began production under superintendent, John Clarke. The factory produced not only firearms, but swords and bayonets all the way up until 1821 when production ceased. By this time, many other sources of firearms were being more readily produced and the armory was no longer necessary. That and—according to Giles Cromwell—Virginia went through a period of stagnation due to economic factors in the state that lasted from about the time the Manufactory closed and when the Civil War began. When the Civil War began, records show that virtually none of the Virginia Manufactory muskets had been converted at all. From October 1, 1859 to November 1, 1861 over 44,000 Virginian long arms were issued from stores, all still in their original flintlock configuration. No other flintlocks are recorded as having been distributed after this last date, and Cromwell suggests that this was the beginning of a campaign to cycle these muskets back through for update and conversion to percussion.
This musket is fascinating and is a true rarity in the field of Civil War collecting and, specifically, Confederate Arms. The lock is dated “1819”. “VIRGINIA/MANUFACTORY” is boldly stamped in front of the hammer on the lock. The number “0” is stamped on the side plate and barrel bands. This is very likely a conversion number when this musket received its conversion as on other known examples.
The overall condition is excellent. The action remains strong. An incredible opportunity to own a piece of Virginia / Confederate history!
Inventory Number: RIF: 121 / SOLD