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Incredibly Rare and Newly Discovered Barnett "Georgia G" Marked & Confederate Inventory Numbered Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket

Incredibly Rare and Newly Discovered Barnett "Georgia G" Marked & Confederate Inventory Numbered Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket

  • Product Code: FLA-3865
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $13,500.00


While Confederate marked and imported Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Muskets are very scarce and always desirable collectibles, the rarest and most desirable of these guns are the ones purchased by individual southern states and marked with their state ownership marks. It is well known that early in the war the states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Louisiana all acquired arms directly from England, functioning proactively to supply their troops that were rallying to the protect their states from the “Northern Invasion”. These guns had state ownership marks applied to them prior to their shipment to the Confederacy, in an attempt to keep the guns segregated from Confederate central government purchases, and to ensure that the guns reached the troops of that specific state. The guns purchased by the state of Georgia are rarely encountered for sale, but they are some of the best documented of the Confederate state purchased arms.

 

In 1861, Major Edward C Anderson was sent to England to act as a Confederate central government purchasing agent of small arms and munitions. As Anderson was a Georgian, Georgia Governor Joseph E Brown relied upon Anderson to work as a purchasing agent for that state as well. During September of 1861 Anderson arranged the purchase of 5,500 “Enfield” pattern small arms through the firm of Sinclair, Hamilton & Company. Of these guns, 4,700 were Pattern 1853 “Long” Enfield Rifle Muskets, and the remaining 800 were Pattern 1856 “Short” Enfield Rifles, which were actually Pattern 1856 Sergeant’s Fusils for India Service. These were “short rifles” that were similar to the standard British Pattern 1856 Rifle but designed to accept a “shank” (socket) bayonet, instead of a saber bayonet. 

 

Anderson returned to the Confederacy aboard the Confederate Blockade Runner Fingal on October 8, 1861. In addition to Anderson, the Fingal brought the first 1,100 guns of his purchase for the state of Georgia, as well as 1,000 that had been purchased by the state of Louisiana and 7,520 that had been purchased by the Confederate central government. All the Georgia purchased guns that were on Fingal were “Long” Enfields and none of the short rifles were included in this batch of guns. It appears that nearly all of these Georgia purchased guns were marked with the JS / {ANCHOR} viewer’s stamp, a 5/8” tall capital letter G on the obverse buttstock and had inventory numbers hand engraved on the tangs of their brass buttplates. The majority of the Enfields that were shipped on the Fingal were marked with engraved numbers from 1-1000. It is possible that a crate or two of Barnett delivered arms, with slightly different markings, were contained in the Fingal cargo as well, although only one example has been reported to date and it has not been fully verified and vetted. These Enfields, like all English long arms shipped to the Confederacy, were shipped in crates of 20, complete with socket bayonets for each gun, a bullet mold and two nipple keys (cone wrenches). 

 

Based upon an analysis of the cargo manifest of the Confederate blockade runner Gladiator, it is probable that Fingalalso carried the Georgia purchased “Long” Enfields numbered 1121-1220. The crates that contained these Georgia purchased arms were marked with the initials <JEB>, for Governor Joseph E Brown, within a rhomboid over the letter G, as well as with the number of that crate. To date only 11 of the Fingal delivered “Georgia G” marked guns are known to have survived. The Fingal arrived in Savannah, GA on November 13, 1861, after a brief stop in Bermuda. The next shipment of Georgia purchased arms left England on the blockade runner Gladiator on November 6, 1861. One page from the bill of lading for the Gladiator is in the archives of the American Civil War Museum (formerly the Museum of the Confederacy) and it lists 900 “Long” and 580 “Short” Enfields. The long Enfields were numbers 1001-1120 (cases 51-56), 1221-1300 (cases 62-65), 1301-1960 (cases 78-110), 1961-1980 (case 123) and 1981-2000 (case 129). The other cases (66-77, 111-122, and 124-128) contained the “Short” Enfield Sergeant’s Fusils for India Service, numbers 1-580. These guns were also marked with the JS / {ANCHOR} inspection mark in the wood behind the triggerguard tang, in the belly of the stock, and have engraved Confederate inventory numbers on the tang of their brass buttplates. The guns are additionally marked with a 5/8” tall capital letter G on the obverse buttstock. The Gladiator arrived in Nassau, Bahamas on December 9, 1861. There she was unloaded, and her cargo was transshipped to the Confederacy via the smaller, faster blockade runners CecileKate and Florida. The Kate delivered her cargo to Smyrna in early February of 1862, Floridamade her delivery to the same destination in mid-March, and Cecile delivered her cargo into Charleston in mid-February 1862. To date, only about 20 of the 900 Georgia marked Gladiator “Long Enfields” are known to have survived. The balance of the Georgia purchased arms were shipped aboard the blockade runner Economist, which made its delivery directly into Charleston Harbor in mid-March 1862.

 

Based upon examination of the limited number of surviving Georgia “G” marked Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Muskets that are known to exist, it has been determined that the “Long” Enfields numbered from 1 to 2000 and from 3700 to 4700 were guns marked in the manner discussed above, with the JS / {ANCHOR} viewer’s (inspector’s) mark, an engraved inventory number on the buttplate tang, and a G on the obverse buttstock that is approximately 5/8” tall. Collectors tend to refer to these as the “Medium G” Enfields, as a smaller “G” mark is also noted in extant examples. However, it appears that approximately 1,700 guns, which appear to be the guns numbered between 2000-3700, were delivered by the London gunmaker J.E. Barnett & Sons, and these guns have their inventory numbers stamped on the toe of the buttplate, rather than being engraved into the top of the tang. These guns also bear a mark on the obverse buttstock, but of a slightly larger size. Collectors tend to call them “Big G” Enfields. The guns are marked with a CH / 1 in a circle, inspection stamp in the wood, in front of the buttplate tang, instead of a JS / {ANCHOR}. The CH / 1 mark is that of a team of arms inspectors lead by Isaac Curtis and Charles Hughes. Curtis & Hughes were experienced arms makers with work history at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock, thus they were particularly qualified to inspect military and approve small arms. A receipt from S. Isaac, Campbell & Company dated November 6, 1861 for “2 Stamps Initials CH 1” gives definitive period evidence that this mark is from marking dies ordered on behalf of the viewers hired to inspect Confederate arms. Additional confirmation of this is provided lower on the receipt, where Caleb Huse has written in red ink, in reference to the stamps, “For viewers of Rifles”. This pattern of stamp is primarily noted on Confederate imported arms provided by Barnett, including such obsolete British military longarms Pattern 1851 Minié Rifles and Brunswick Rifles, which Barnett apparently refurbished, had inspected and then sold to Caleb Huse for southern use. The stamp receipt noted above must have been for additional or replacement die stamps, as receipts exist for the Isaac Curtis inspection of Barnett provided Pattern 1851 Minié Rifles as early as September of 1861. When looking at the process of inspecting and numbering of Confederate imported arms, it is interesting to note that Barnett alone seems to have completed all of this work “in house”. In all other cases, it appears the contracted arms were delivered to a central location, almost certainly a dockside warehouse, where the teams of arms inspectors and engravers unpacked each crate, inspected and numbered the guns, bayonets & ramrods and then repacked them. Only Barnett appears to have delivered arms that were already inspected, and possibly numbered. It is also interesting to note that it does not appear that Barnett applied numbers to bayonets and ramrods, as to date no numbered Barnett gun has been encountered with either matching numbered accessory. To date slightly more than 60 “G” marked Pattern 1853 “Long” Enfields of all types are known to have survived, with slightly more than 40 of the engraved number guns being known and about 20 of the Barnett guns with stamped numbers being known. This observation is based upon some 25 years of surveying extant examples by several noted arms historians, and maintaining a very extensive research database.

 

The Georgia “G” Marked Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket offered here is one of the “Large G” guns delivered by the firm of J.E. Barnett & Sons that almost certainly arrived in the south in mid-March of 1862 on board the blockade runner Economist. There is no English gun maker who could more appropriately be called the “Gun Maker to the Confederacy” than the London firm of John Edward Barnett & Sons. During the course of the American Civil War, Barnett delivered thousands of Pattern 1853 “Enfield” rifle muskets, as well as Pattern 1853 Artillery and Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbines to the Confederacy. Barnett not only filled Confederate central government contracts, but also orders for the Confederates states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana. The Barnett family traced their gunmaking heritage to Thomas Barnett who operated in London as early as 1796. In 1811 the firm became Thomas Barnett & Sons, and John Edward Barnett subsequently succeeded to the business in 1833. In 1842 the firm was renamed JE Barnett & Sons and operated under that name until 1901 when they became JE Barnett & Sons LTD, going out of business in 1908. During the Civil War years, the Barnetts operated at both their 134 Minories address, which had been established in 1833, and at Brewhouse Lane, Wapping, where they operated from 1860-1874. 

 

In the typical fashion of the old time gunmakers in England, Barnett relied heavily on a variety of contractors to produce piecework parts, which were subsequently assembled into complete arms in the Barnett shop. While Barnett could clearly manufacture entire guns in house, and often did, it was often more expedient and cost effective to sub-contract for major components when large contracts were received and had to be delivered quickly. Many of the orders received from the Confederacy during the course of the American Civil War were just these types of orders, which had to be completed as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon to disassemble a Pattern 1853 Rifle Musket with a Barnett marked lock, only to discover that the gun may have been assembled by Barnett, but that few, if any of the components, were actually produced by Barnett. In some cases, guns that were built completely by members of the Birmingham gun trade were delivered to Barnett who then resold them to the Confederacy to complete orders. A small number of these Birmingham produced guns with “TOWER” marked locks are known that have the two-line Barnett maker mark stamped into the wood, either on the counterpane opposite the lock or along the toe line of the stock. That way, Barnett could get credit for the delivery of the gun.

 

This gun is clearly marked on the lock in two lines, forward of the hammer: BARNETT / LONDON. There is no “crown” to the rear of the hammer. The gun is untouched, “in the black” and has a fresh from the attic appearance. Due to the heavily oxidized condition of the guns, the screws are all mostly frozen, so I could not disassemble the gun to remove the lock and barrel to look for sub-contractor markings. The gun is marked with the expected Curtis & Hughes CH / 1inspection mark in a circle on the top of the stock comb, just forward of the buttplate tang. The marking is quite clear and deep, much clearer than these marks are usually found. The gun has a very crisp and clear “Big” Georgia on the obverse buttstock followed by a stamped number 592, in nominally 1/3” tall numbers. This is the first time that I have ever encountered a number in the wood, following the “G” mark. With so few examples of these guns known to exist, the presence of this number makes me wonder if some of the early Barnett delivered guns were numbered in this fashion, so Barnett could track how many guns they were delivering to fill out this order of “Long” Enfields. The gun is additionally stamp-numbered in the expected fashion along the toe of the buttplate, below the lower buttplate screw. The number is 3472, placing it near the end of the numbering range that it is believed these guns were produced in, which is from #2,000 to #3,700. This is a new number, and the gun is a new addition to the inventory database. The gun came out Texas just recently. Three initials are stamped into the counterpane of the stock, opposite the lock, but they are not fully legible. Typically, a mark in this place on an Enfield is that of the “setter up” which was the workman who actually assembled the gun. Since most of the English gunmakers worked, and paid their employees, on a piece-work basis, marking you work was essential if you wanted to be paid. Another set of initials, again likely of a workman are stamped behind the triggerguard, these are GH. A larger set of initials that are partially obscured are carved into the bottom of the stock, immediately in front of the triggerguard. These initials appear to read E B but have been partly defaced. As would be expected on a London produced gun, the upper left quadrant of the barrel is stamped with a set of London commercial view, proof and definitive view marks.

 

As noted, the gun is attic fresh and has a thickly oxidized attic patina that is largely untouched. The gun is in about VERY GOOD condition overall, but in terms of a Confederate purchased and used gun and the crispness of the wood edges, it rates closer to fine, except for some wood damage. The metal is heavily oxidized with a thick brown patina over most of the metal surfaces that has blended with some flecks of original blue that is scattered here and there on the barrel. The markings in the metal remain clear and legible and the metal itself remains relatively smooth forward of the rear sight. The breech shows some old light to medium pitting and erosion from percussion cap flash, but forward of the breech area the metal shows only some lightly scattered pitting and pinpricking, along with some scattered patches of minor surface roughness from oxidation and age. The lock functions crisply and is mechanically fine, working perfectly on all positions. The bore of the gun rates about GOOD and has the same deeply oxidized dark brown patina found on the exterior of the barrel. The bore retains visible rifling and shows scattered light to moderate pitting along its length, with a couple of small patches of more serious pitting. The gun retains the original long-range rear sight, which is complete and fully functional. The barrel bands all retain their original screw keepers at the ends, small items that are almost always missing. At some point in time, very long ago, the bands were removed from the gun and the lower band was reinstalled backwards. All of the gun’s the screw heads should be oriented to the reverse (non-lock) side of the gun, and the lower band has its screw head on the obverse (lock side) of the gun. However, the retention of the screw protectors is a very nice touch as they are so rarely found intact on the bands. As noted, most of the gun’s screws are frozen in place from oxidation and age, and as a result some of the screw slots show moderate wear and some wear to their patina, suggesting that someone tried to remove them over the last few years and was not as careful as they should have been when they did. The gun also retains its upper sling swivel that is mounted on the upper band. However, the lower swivel that would have been mounted on the triggerguard bow is missing. An original, period Pattern 1853 ramrod is in place in the channel under the barrel. It is full-length and retains good threads at the end. The patina of the rod matches the balance of the gun very well and is likely the original ramrod for this gun. The brass furniture of the gun is very attractive and has a lovely, completely uncleaned dull golden patina. The stock of the gun is difficult to rate. From the perspective of the crispness and sharpness of the edges and markings, it is truly in fine or better condition. All the stock markings remain crisp, clear and fully legible without any smearing or blurring and the stock shows absolutely no signs of having been sanded. The edges remain sharp as well and the very small amount of wear or rounding is from actual carry, use, wear and tear, not from sanding. Unfortunately, a couple of major cracks are present through the lock mortise area. These cracks pass through the counterpane as well as under the stock and through the triggerguard area. Since the lock and barrel could not be removed from the stock, due to the frozen screws, it is difficult to determine how severe the cracking really is. The result of the cracking is some minor gapping at the breech area, the breech plug tang and around the edges of the lock. If the screws can be removed, possibly by soaking the threads in Kroil, it would probably be worth having a very talented restoration gunsmith stabilizing the stock with at least a basic glue repair. Were it not for this cracking the stock would really rate fine or better. The stock does show some scattered bumps, dings and surface scuffs in addition to the cracks, but it is so crisp and well-marked that the other qualities outweigh the stock damage in my mind.

 

Overall, this is a wonderful example of an untouched and very crisp, attic condition Georgia “G” Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket. While all Georgia marked Enfields are quite scarce, only about 20 of these “Large G” guns with stamped numbers, delivered by Barnett, are known to exist. The fact that this one was previously unknown and surfaced in such untouched attic condition is a real treat. The gun was almost certainly shipped from England on board the Economist with the bulk of the remaining Georgia Enfields, after the first deliveries were made by the Fingal and the Gladiator. These early-war Georgia purchased guns were some of the first Enfields to arrive in the south, and their early delivery insured that they saw significant service during the course of the war. This one would have arrived just in time to see combat at Shiloh in the West or to see service during the Peninsula Campaign in the East. High quality Confederate Enfields are difficult to find for sale, but state marked guns are particularly difficult to locate. This is a wonderful and very well-marked Georgia gun that is 100% authentic and correct, with the exception of the missing sling swivel, and would certainly make a fantastic centerpiece to any advanced collection of Confederate long arms, especially a collection that emphasizes Confederate imports or the state of Georgia in the Civil War.

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Tags: Incredibly, Rare, and, Newly, Discovered, Barnett, "Georgia G", Marked, &, Confederate, Inventory, Numbered, Pattern, 1853, Enfield, Rifle, Musket