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Double Anchor-S Marked Confederate Purchased British Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbine

Double Anchor-S Marked Confederate Purchased British Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbine

  • Product Code: FLA-3989J-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $6,500.00

The British Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbine is a rarely encountered Civil War era long arm, and even those carbines without Confederate import marks bring significant prices due to their low production and importation numbers. The US Government only purchased about 250 of the carbines, and the Confederacy, by the accounts of most researchers, only purchased about 10,000 of the guns. The majority of the Confederate purchased carbines appear to have been acquired and delivered during the last half of the war. In fact, the Payne Ledger, which details the late war Confederate imports through Wilmington, NC notes that some 4,700 English cavalry carbines were landed there between July of 1863 and November of 1864. These guns were marked with the {ANCHOR} / S Confederate viewer’s mark on the comb of the stock, forward of the buttplate tang. The locks of the Birmingham made carbines, which were invariably marked “Tower”, have the production dates of 1863 or 1864, while the London made guns bear the maker’s name on the lock and no date. At least some of the earlier guns, acquired before the fall of the 1862, were struck with the JS / {ANCHOR} inspection mark in the same location. 


Purchasing documents located in the McRae papers indicate that Caleb Huse purchased 120 Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbines from S. Isaac, Campbell & Company on 1 August 1862. He paid 65 schillings each for these guns, and they were shipped to the Confederacy aboard the blockade runner Gladiator. Huse purchased one additional case of 20 carbines from the same source on 6 August 1862 for the same price. These guns crossed the ocean in the hold of the blockade runner Harriett Pinckney. These two orders only account for 140 of the carbines and may be an indication of why the JS / {ANCHOR} marked guns are so incredibly scarce and are rarely encountered for sale. 


To date, the Confederate marked Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbines that are known have had locks marked TOWER(Birmingham contractor produced guns) or in the case London produced guns BARNETT, and in extremely rare instances EP BOND and Parker, Field & SonsWhile 10,000 cavalry carbines may seem like a significant number to have been imported, it is quite low when compared to the fact that most researchers put the total of all “Enfield” pattern English arms imported by the Confederacy at somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000. Even by the most lenient standards, that puts the importation of Pattern 1856 cavalry carbines at between 3%-4% of all Enfield pattern arms obtained by the Confederacy. Their absolute paucity on the collector’s market underscores the fact that these guns saw hard use during the war and were used up in the field. Extant examples of Confederate marked Pattern 1856 carbines tend to appear in two conditions; heavily used & well-worn, or nearly mint guns from captured from Confederate blockade runners. In either case, the guns are very scarce and are rarely found available for sale. Another reason for their lack of survival comes from the Report of William H. H. Terrell, Adjutant General for the State of Indiana. The report dated December 1865 concerning the Seventh Indiana Cavalry states in part: 


"On the 21st of December (1864) the Seventh Cavalry moved from Memphis with a cavalry expedition under General Grierson. On the 28th Forrest's dismounted camp at Vernon, Mississippi, was surprised and captured, and a large quantity of rebel stores destroyed, including sixteen railroad cars, loaded with pontoons for Hood's army, and four thousand new English carbines." 


This clearly indicates one clear reason for the scarcity of these guns. When the Federal troops captured them, they destroyed them. Since nearly all US cavalry regiments were armed with some form of breech loading carbine, a muzzle-loading carbine was of no real value. However, US troops regularly used captured CS imported Enfield rifle muskets, as they were of use to the infantry.


This particular example of a Confederate Imported British Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbine was produced by the firm of J Cook & Son, a long time Birmingham based gun maker. The gun is clearly marked with the later war Confederate viewer’s mark of a {ANCHOR} / S on the comb of the stock, forward of the buttplate tang. In fact, the mark is struck there twice, one over the other. The gun is in about VERY GOOD+ overall condition and has seen real world use but remains complete in every way and has a wonderful untouched patina and appearance. 


As previously mentioned, Confederate cavalry carbines tended to see hard use in the field, and while this gun shows that use, particularly in terms of the wear to the stock, it was also clearly always cared for. The gun retains relatively crisp and fully legible markings in the metal and the wood, with the most important marks being the pair of crisp {ANCHOR} / Smarks stamped into the comb of the stock, forward of the buttplate tang. The exterior of the lock is marked forward of the hammer in two lines 1863 / TOWER, with the usual {Crown} without a “VR” at the tail of the lock. The interior of the lock is marked J COOK over the mainspring, the position in which the master contractor who made the gun would mark the lock. The name is also found under the barrel. The lock is marked with two file slash mating marks on its top edge, with the | | markings found throughout the gun indicating the parts all go together. The matching mating marks are found on the necks of the lock and tang screws, under the barrel, on the rear edges of the barrel bands and in the ramrod channel. As noted, the bottom of the carbine barrel is clearly marked J COOK like the lock and has the mating mark 70 on the underside of the breech and on the bottom of the breech plug. The bottom of the barrel also shows the initials JW, possibly the mark of a workman or barrel maker.


The lock has a thickly oxidized plum brown patina that is quite attractive and remains very crisp and is mechanically excellent, functioning flawlessly on all positions. The barrel has a similar thickly oxidized plum brown patina over its entire surface. There are some traces of the original blued finish under the barrel bands and the bottom of the barrel where it has been protected by the stock retains about 80% of the original blued finish. The majority of the barrel is fairly smooth, with some scattered patches of light peppering and pinpricking present, along with some patches of surface oxidation. There is some heavier, more moderate pitting present around the breech and bolster area as would be expected. This is typical of a percussion arm that saw significant service. The bore of the carbine is in about GOOD+ to NEAR VERY GOOD condition. It retains strong, visible, 3-groove rifling, and shows scattered light to moderate pitting along its entire length. The bore could probably be improved with a good scrubbing. The rifling is a little weaker near the muzzle but is much deeper and more distinct closer to the breech. The original multi-leaf rear sight is in place on the carbine, with the fixed 100-yard notch and the 200 and 300 yard folding leaves intact. The original front sight is in place on top of the barrel near the muzzle as well. The original sling bar is in place on the stock flat, opposite the lock. The original swivel ramrod is present as well. These carbines, especially Confederate used ones, are often found with the swivel ramrod missing. These somewhat delicate and very cumbersome rammers were often “lost” in the field during use, although it is difficult to know if the losses were accidental or intentional. We do know that Confederate Cavalry commander J.E.B. Stuart specifically requested Pattern 1856 Artillery carbines for his troops, as those guns did not have the awkward captive rammer, and in a letter to General Robert E. Lee in the fall of 1862, after the Battle of Antietam, Stuart specifically complained about these awkward, permanently attached rammers. The brass furniture has a nice untouched ocher patina and is very attractive. The stock of the gun rates about VERY GOOD as well. The stock is solid and full length and free of any breaks or repairs. As would be expected the stock shows numerous bumps, dings and wear marks that are normally associated with a cavalry carbine that saw real, hard use in the field. There is the usual minor slivering and wood loss along the edges of the ramrod channel, and some wood loss around the lock mortise that appears to be the result of improper lock removal at some point in time. The stock still retains good edges, with the majority of the softening of any edges being attributed to normal wear. In addition to the Confederate inspection marks on the comb of the stock, the gun has a Birmingham Small Arms Trade roundel on the obverse butt and the initial S H carved into the stock.


Overall, this is a really attractive gun that shows real world Confederate use but also has a great “untouched” look. These double {ANCHOR} / S marked Pattern 1856 cavalry carbines are very rarely encountered, and particularly nice examples are bringing very strong prices when they do appear on the market for sale. For any collector of Confederate cavalry arms, a British Pattern 1856 Enfield Cavalry Carbine is a “must have” item. It is also an essential addition to any collection of English imported arms used by the Confederacy. These days I’m lucky to see one or two Confederate marked Pattern 1856 cavalry carbines for sale in a year, and the guns are often in very rough condition. While this gun clearly fought and saw service, it was well cared for well and is a scarce example of one of these guns that retains all of the original parts and displays wonderfully.


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Tags: Double, Anchor-S, Marked, Confederate, Purchased, British, Pattern, 1856, Cavalry, Carbine