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

    Springfield Armory

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

PERSONALIZED WEAPONS

Decorated Civil War weapons

CASE 48

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

Civil War infantrymen, just as soldiers of all wars, ignored regulations and decorated or modified their equipment to reflect their tastes and inclinations. Flags and drums were emblazoned with the names of battles and campaigns. Most common, however, was the individualization of the basic infantryman’s weapon, the musket or rifle. While the quality of ornamentation varies, each is unique and interesting as a reflection of the life of the soldier.

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personalized Confederate rifle musket

Catalogue number SPAR 5516

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

CONFEDERATE RIFLE-MUSKET RICHMOND .58 caliber Manufactured by Richmond Armory, Richmond, Va. in 1863 - Richmond Armory reconditioned arm built from captured parts, with bayonet, 1863. The star on the barrel indicates this is a Richmond Armory reconditioned barrel. On left side of stock, the name “W. R. Smith” engraved on an ivory plate, recorded in old Army records as a piano key from a Southern piano.

 
Confederate soldier's inscription
Close-up of the inscription on the Confederate rifle musket seen above.
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Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS
 
Decorated Confederate rifle musket with list of battles.

Catalogue number SPAR 1521

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

U.S. RIFLE-MUSKET MODEL 1861 .58 caliber Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. in 1862.

Painted on left side of the butt stock is GREEN BRIAR. BUFFALO MOUNTAIN/SHILO CORNITH MURFREESDRO. CHICKAMAUGA/LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN. MISSION RIDGE.

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Enscribed Civil War rifle musket

Catalogue number SPAR 2442

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

BRITISH RIFLE MUSKET PATTERN 1853 P53 ENFIELD .577 caliber

Manufactured in Birmingham, England in 1862, this rifle musket has engraved on the butt stock, “Henry Johnson, Co. E. 91st Regt, Ill. Vols. 1864”.

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Decorated Union soldier's Springfield rifle musket

Catalogue number SPAR 2412

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

U.S. RIFLE MUSKET MODEL 1861 PERCUSSION .58 caliber Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. in 1861. The left side of the butt has been carved and inlaid with red sealing wax - a shield with flanking scrolls surmounting the initials A.D.J.C. The top of the wrist behind the barrel tang is similarly carved and inlaid with red wax in a fancy scroll design.

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Inlaid decorations on a Union soldier's Sharps rifle

Catalogue number SPAR 1718

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

SHARPS RIFLE NEW MODEL 1863 .52 caliber, serial number C33934 This modified Sharps New Model 1863 rifle has been half-stocked and has one barrel band remaining. The sights are removed and replaced with a hooded cross hair front sight and peep tang sight. The entire wooden portion of the weapon is profusely inlaid with German silver and mother of pearl with various designs. Many of the design are Union Army Corps badges, and each is numbered. There are seven major inlays on the forearm and 40 major inlays on the butt stock.

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US BAYONET M1855 .577” caliber Engraving steel is more difficult than carving wood. This decorated bayonet is unusual.

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Decorated Civil War soldiers' muskets
CASE 47
Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS
 
Inscribed butt stock

Catalogue number SPAR 1522

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

US MUSKET M1842 .69 caliber

Manufactured at Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. in 1853, it is the standard Model 1842 single-shot percussion muzzleloader.

Markings:
Lock: SPRING/FIELD 1853 behind hammer. Eagle US forward of hammer.
Barrel: V P and Eaglehead proofs and dated 1849 on tang.
Hammer: L.
Stock: H.F. CO. H 33RD REGT. N.Y.S. VOLLS. on right side of butt. 6-pointed star carved into butt on left side. DPM carved into wood forward of the triggerguard.
Buttplate: US.

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Enscribed Union soldier's rifle musket

Catalogue number 705

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

British RIFLE MUSKET P1853

Manufactured in Birmingham, England in 1862.

Markings:
Top of barrel: Crown GP. Crown V 25.
Bottom of barrel: 86, JN, 44, 86, HP, P&H, 25, DW, 14.4.
Lock: 1862 Tower in front of hammer. Crown rear of hammer. W. SCOTT & SON, 49.
Stock: J. NEAL under triggerguard. Right side of butt: J.S. MCCONNELL. CO. A. 15TH KY. INF. PERRY VILLE. STONE RIVER. CHICAMAUGA AND SHERMANS CAMPAIGN TO ATLANTA.
Left side opposite lockplate: IXL neatly carved in.

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Civil War

Catalogue number SPAR 2407

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

US RIFLE MUSKET M1861

Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. in 1862.

Markings:
Lock: 1862 behind hammer. Eagle U.S. SPRINGFIELD in front of hammer.
Barrel: V P Eaglehead barely legible.
Bands: U.
Buttplate: US removed from buttplate.
Stock: Carved into the butt and then filled in with what appears to be red sealing wax: THE AVENGER OF EMMEY SUMMERS WHO WAS MURDERED BY THE HESSIANS IN ST. LOUIS MAY 10, '61 C.S.A. Carved into the right side of the stock forward of the lock and also filled in with red sealing wax - ALICE. Carved into the left side of the stock and opposite the lock - TAT.

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Rifle musket marked with brass nails

Catalogue number SPAR 1523

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

US RIFLE MUSKET M1861

Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. in 1862.

Markings:
Lock: 1862 behind hammer.
Barrel: 1861 date and V P proofs are faint.
Bands: U.
Stock: C.E. MC.D. O.S. CO. G. 2ND REGT. Left side: P.H.F. (letters formed by brass shoe nails). 6-pointed star on left side of stock in brass nails, and forward of triggerguard in red paint. T is stamped in stock between lock screws on left side.

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Catalogue number SPAR 2420

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

US RIFLE MUSKET M1861

Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. in 1861.

Markings:
Lock: 1864 rear of hammer. Eagle. U.S./SPRINGFIELD forward of hammer.
Barrel: V P Eaglehead. 1864. J.J.R.
Stock: J.C. WALKER nicely carved into right side of butt.
Bands: U.
Lower band: W on bottom.
Triggerguard plate: J.

Did You Know?

Charles Dickens, 1842. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Author Charles Dickens toured Springfield Armory’s Hill Shops and Water Shops on his 30th birthday, February 7th, 1842, a year before publication of A Christmas Carol. The first of two visits to America, he and his wife were accompanied by the superintendent and the paymaster. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.