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Dug Confederate Richmond Armory Rifle Musket Tool

Dug Confederate Richmond Armory Rifle Musket Tool

  • Product Code: FPTA-1742-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

This is one of those rare Confederate items that you rarely find for sale in any condition, and non-dug examples are practically never seen for sale. However, dug examples of Confederate made gun tools of this basic pattern do appear for sale from time to time. This is the most classic example of a Confederate combination musket tool, and a very similar tools are illustrated in GUN TOOLS - Their History & Identification Volumes I & II by James B. Schaffer, Lee A. Rutledge and R. Stephen Dorsey. It is a “T” shaped tool with a socket style cone wrench at the end of the body and a pivoting screwdriver at the opposite end of the tool that could double as a torque handle and also provided two screwdriver blades.


The first example of this pattern of tool that is pictured by Schaffer, et al is the first item pictured on page 163 of Volume 1. The tool that they picture is of the same basic design as this one, although their body is slightly shorter, and the pivoting screwdriver is somewhat longer. Their tool is 3 5/8” in overall length with a 3 21/32” screwdriver blade. Additional examples of this basic pattern of tool are shown in Volume II as well, and since the tools were apparently all handmade, they certainly vary in overall length, dimensions and configuration.


These tools have been attributed to manufacture at the Richmond Armory and on page 100 of Paul Davies’ book C.S. Armory Richmond three tools of this pattern from Paul Johnson’s collection are pictured. All three show minor variations in length, width, and overall profile, but all three are clearly of the same pattern as this tool. We know that Richmond did fabricate a number of gun tools, and the records indicate that they manufactured spring vises, wipers, and screwdriver wrenches. In fact, there are some very good records from Richmond (available in Davies’ book) that give us a good example of what they did produce in terms of musket tools:


November 1862 – 2198 screwdriver wrenches milled.

December 1862 – 64 screwdriver wrenches filed. Modica Angle was paid 14-days’ pay that month for forging screwdriver blades.

January 1863 – 50 screwdriver wrenches filed.

March 1863 – R.W. Inge is paid 3 days wages for forging screwdrivers.

August 1864 – 620 screwdriver wrenches are delivered to the Military Storekeeper.

October 1864 – 885 screwdriver wrenches are delivered to the Military Storekeeper.

November 1864 – 765 screwdriver wrenches are delivered to the Military Storekeeper.

December 1864 – 530 screwdriver wrenches are delivered to the Military Storekeeper.

January 1865 – 130 screwdriver wrenches are delivered to the Military Storekeeper.


This tool is a dug example and shows moderate wear, erosion and metal loss from many years spent in the ground. Despite the ground action on the metal, the tool still shows the typical crude, but effective workmanship and clever design often encountered on these types of Confederate items. There is still some evidence of hammer forging from blacksmith style manufacture, as well as traces of crude filing and finishing marks. An equally crude, hammered peened rivet secures the screwdriver arm and allows it to rotate out of the way for easy storage in the tool pouch of cartridge box. It also allows it to rotate into a “T” handle for extra torque when using the cone (nipple) wrench. The tool body measures nominally 3 ¾” in overall length, with the top and bottom sections of the tool nominally ½” wide and the narrower body portion measuring about 5/16” wide. The screwdriver arms measures slightly less than 2 ½” in length and is about ½” wide at the widest point. The box end cone wrench is very well crafted, and while the exterior of the tool shows crude finishing, the important cone wrench recess shows sharp, squared corners and edges on the lip, just the way the wrench should be made. The recess measures nominally .26”x.26” and would be correct to fit the shoulders of a most standard American Civil War era musket cones (nipples). Attention was paid to the important features that affected the usability of the tool, not to cosmetics. The screwdriver arm shows the same attention to detail with the actual piece of iron roughly and crudely cut and finished, but with the actual screwdriver blades appear to have been very well filed, polished and correctly hardened for use. The larger blade was likely intended to fit the lock mounting and breech plug tang screws of US M1855 or M1861 rifle muskets with the smaller blade intended to fit the clean out screw in the bolster of the same muskets.  Of course this would allow the tool to work perfectly with Confederate produced Richmond and Fayetteville rifles and muskets, as they followed the same basic pattern as the US M1855 & M1861 guns, were manufactured on much of the same machinery (taken from Harper’s Ferry) and had bolsters with clean out screws, which would require that extra screw driver blade. 


Overall this is a scarce and solid great example of a very rare Richmond Armory Confederate Musket Tool in very good dug condition. One of the reasons that these items are so scarce is that they were  items that were utilitarian and were often used up, broken or lost while in service. That fact that this one is dug confirm that last hypothesis. If we can believe the above listing of Richmond made tools, roughly 2,000 of these tools were manufactured and delivered to the Military Storekeeper by the Richmond Armory. With a relatively common Enfield Tool bringing $300+ these days, I don’t think the pricing on this tool is remotely out of line. In fact, I would argue that the tool might well be worth twice what I am asking for it. This is clearly one of those relics that when you show it off, many of your collecting friends will not be able to say, “I have one of those also”. It is a nice, solid example of a very scarce Confederate musket tool and I am very glad to offer it for sale here. This would be a great addition to a Civil War gun tool collection or to add to the display of your Confederate made long arm.


Please note the accompanying pictures are much larger than actual size of the tool to allow the condition of the tool to be clearly assessed.


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Tags: Dug, Confederate, Richmond, Armory, Rifle, Musket, Tool