• View of Springfield Armory overlooking the city of Springfield, 1855

    Springfield Armory

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

Mishaps

Damaged Civil War weapons
CASE 49
Nature and happenstance sometimes make a mockery of man’s most serious endeavors and turn his grimmest tools into playthings for capricious gods. A sentry walking his patrol on a rainy night had his musket and bayonet turned into a corkscrew by lightening, but the powder charge is untouched. A porcupine gnaws at a musket for the seat salt impregnating it. And in the heat of battle, chance drives a musket ball into the stock or barrel where it remains embedded.
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Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS
 
US M1861 rifle musket hit by lightening

US Model 1861 rifle musket
Catalogue number SPAR 1330

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

MODEL 1861 During a thunderstorm, a sentry's musket was struck by lightning which left it just as you see it. Despite the intense heat caused by the lightening, a regulation Civil War paper cartridge was found intact in the breech when the weapon was disassembled for cataloging and preservation. The identity of the sentry, who survived, is not known. It is believed that he was a Confederate since, while the rifle is a Springfield contract arm, the bayonet is apparently of Confederate manufacture.

 
newspaper article circa 1980
In this newspaper article, about 1980, Curator Meuse is shown after discovering the intact charge of gun powder and bullet in the weapon. That cartridge, along with the paper wadding, is displayed in the museum case in a glass vial. The bullet appears to be a Williams 'Cleaner" bullet, rather than the standard Burton bullet (so-called 'Minie').
Springfield Republican newspapers
 
Confederate bayonet hit by lightening

Catalogue number
SPAR 1331

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

CONFEDERATE BAYONET
Manufacturer unknown - Socket bayonet that was attached to rifle-musket hit by lightening (SPAR-1330), now contorted into a U-shape. Bayonet appears to be from a .69 caliber musket. T-slot lock with no ring. Flat blade. Bayonet is possibly Confederate.
No visible markings.

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US Model 1861 rifle musket displaying battle damage

Springfield US Model 1861 rifle musket
Catalogue number SPAR 1478

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

MODEL 1861 The barrel of this weapon, found on a Civil War battlefield, has been struck by a large projectile.

 
Close-up of muzzle end of battle-damaged M1861 rifle musket
Here is seen a close-up of the muzzle end of the battle-damaged Springfield US Model 1861 rifle musket seen above.
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Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS
 
A British Pattern 1853 rifle musket chewed-up by rodents seeking salt.

BRITISH RIFLE MUSKET PATTERN 1853 (P53) ENFIELD RIFLE MUSKET
Catalogue number SPAR 1476

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

BRITISH RIFLE-MUSKET MODEL 1853 (P53) ENFIELD During the Civil War, the stock of this British Enfield became impregnated with salt from perspiration. After the war the soldier took the gun home and stored it in his barn. The gnawed stock is the result of a porcupine attempting to chew out the salt.
 
A close-up of the chewed-up Enfield forestock
Above is a close-up of the rodent-damaged British P53 Enfield rifle musket stock. The gnawed areas appear to be those on which the weapon was most often handled and sweated on during hot campaigning in the Civil War.
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Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS
 
A battle-damaged US M1861 rifle musket

This Springfield US Modle 1861 rifle musket was hit by a bullet below the muzzle.
Catalogue number SPAR 1475

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

US Model 1861 rifle muskets These weapons, shown immediately above (SPAR 1475) and below (SPAR 1481 & SPAR 1479), were struck by projectiles during combat. In several instances, the bullets can be seen still embedded in the barrels.

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A battle-damaged US M1861 rifle musket
This Springfield US Modle 1861 rifle musket was hit by a bullet below the muzzle. That bullet may still be seen embedded there below.
Catalogue number SPAR 1481
Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS
 
The bullet embedded in the battle-damaged M1861 rifle musket
This close-up of the muzzle end of the Springfield US Model 1861 rifle musket shows the lead bullet embedded during combat in the barrel just below the bayonet stud and front sight.
SPAR 1481
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Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS
 
M1861 damaged in battle
This Springfield US Model 1861 rifle musket was hit by a bullet below the muzzle and just forward of the bayonet stud and front sight.
SPAR 1479
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Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

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