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Anchor/S Marked Confederate P-1853 Enfield - Untouched

Anchor/S Marked Confederate P-1853 Enfield - Untouched

  • Product Code: FLA-3006-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

The most iconic of the imported arms to see service with the Confederacy during the American Civil War is the British P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket, marked with the Confederate JS / (ANCHOR)viewer’s mark of John Southgate, combined with an engraved Confederate inventory control number on the tang of the brass buttplate. However, the inspection mark that that replaced the JS / (ANCHOR), the (ANCHOR) / S is just as important and just as Confederate as its better-known predecessor. When encountered, the (ANCHOR) / S mark is found on the comb of the stock, just forward of the brass butt plate tang. The (ANCHOR) / S mark is a cryptic and enigmatic mark that has long confused and confounded researchers who specialize in arms that were imported by the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Substantial circumstantial evidence, combined with examination of extant examples has helped researchers to establish a significant argument to support the fact that it is a Confederate inspection mark. The basic premise is based upon a chronological study of known Confederate inspection marks and their progression of placement. The most well known Confederate mark is the J S / (ANCHOR). This mark appears on Confederate imported Enfield pattern arms produced under contract from October 1861 through at April 1862. This marking system coincides with the 2nd Confederate contract with Sinclair, Hamilton & Company for 30,000 P-1853 Enfields. On the guns delivered under that contract, the mark is located behind the trigger guard and is typically found with a Confederate inventory number engraved on the tang of the brass butt plate. The ramrods and the bayonets for these guns were also engraved with matching inventory numbers. The guns were numbered in three series of 10,000 each. Starting at 1 and going to 10,000, then restarting at one over the letter “A”, and after reaching 10,000 / A, starting again over the letter “B”. Further evidence based upon extant example suggests the engraved numbering process created a significant bottleneck in the delivery of the desperately needed arms, and it appears that the engraving of the ramrods and bayonets was discontinued with the “B Series” guns, as to date no authentic example of a “B” bayonet or ramrod is known to exist. At the completion of the 2nd contract it appears that the numbering of Enfields was discontinued completely, likely due to both time and cost, but the J S / (ANCHOR) mark remained in use, at least briefly. During the period that would be considered the 3rd Sinclair, Hamilton & Company contract (likely running May-October of 1862), the inspection mark continued to be placed, at least briefly, behind the trigger guard, and then was moved to the top of the stock comb, in front of the butt plate tang. Due to the very small number of extant P-1853 Enfields encountered with the J S / (ANCHOR) mark and no engraved inventory number, I believe that this stamp only remained in use for a very limited time during the middle of 1862, and was subsequently replaced by one or more the well known Sinclair, Hamilton & Company stamps, probably variations of the (CROWN) / S / HC / (ARROW) stamps that are well known to Confederate collectors. Interestingly “Sinclair Hamilton” marks seem to be confined to arms dated 1861 (1st Sinclair, Hamilton & Company Contract), 1862 (probably 3rd SHC contract) and a very few dated 1863 (end of 3rd or beginning of 4th contract). At this time, the inspection mark reverts to master viewer John Southgate’s initial “S” and the Birmingham assay office “anchor” mark. The new mark was an (ANCHOR) / S and appears as a single strike on most P-1853s it is encountered on, on top of the stock comb, in front of the buttplate tang. The guns are inevitably dated 1863 or 1864 if they are Birmingham production, and the 1864 dated guns are scarce, suggesting that the 4th Sinclair Hamilton contract arms were mostly delivered in 1863, or few of the 1864 dated guns made it through the blockade. It appears the 4th SHC contract was essentially an 1863 contract, and the 6-month delivery terms may have become longer due to difficulties in the Confederacy paying their bills with the English contractors. This (ANCHOR) / S mark is also found on Birmingham and London produced P-1856 cavalry carbines, that were Confederate purchased, and those guns that are dated are either 1863 or 1864 carbine. On the carbines, the mark is often double struck in the wood, while it is normally single struck on the P-1853 “long Enfields”. While most of the “long Enfields” during this period were delivered through the port of Wilmington, NC; fueling the Eastern Theater ordnance depot system, the carbines appear to have most arrived through Texas, and were fed into Western Theater depot system. If a collector were to have only one true Confederate imported weapon in their collection, a Confederate marked Enfield would be the perfect addition. There is no more striking image than that of the ragged Confederate infantryman with a P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket in his hands, doggedly defending his belief in states rights and defending his boarders from the perceived Northern invasion.

This (ANCHOR) / S marked P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket is a classic example of a Confederate imported musket that clearly saw use in the field, and appears to have spent a good part of its history in the same family, with future generations carving their names upon the gun, in much the same way their ancestor who carried it did, and giving the gun a sort of folk art Americana flair in addition to its Confederate military heritage. The gun is in about NEAR FINE condition, and with the exception of a replaced cone (nipple) is completely untouched, unmolested and uncleaned; right out of the attic. The wood is marked in front of the buttplate tang with a deep and clear (ANCHOR) / S. The obverse stock is deeply struck with a Birmingham Small Arms Trade roundel, and the toe of the stock is marked with the name of the contractor who made the gun: Cooper & Goodman. Cooper & Goodman were a well-established Birmingham based gun making firm that manufactured a large number of military and civilian arms during their many decades in business. The firm was started in 1838 by Joseph Rock Cooper and became the partnership of Cooper & Goodman in 1857. They operated at 32 Woodcock Street and 77 Baggot Street from 1857 to 1870, and continued in business at other addresses until 1886, when the firm became the business of Charles Henry Cooper, who remained in business a various Birmingham addresses until 1917. Cooper apparently maintained his own individual business during much of the same time period, as J.R. Cooper marked barrels are found in guns manufactured by other Birmingham (and occasionally London) contractors, contemporaneous with Cooper & Goodman’s arms production. A number of Confederate associated Enfield rifle muskets are known with Cooper & Goodman marks. The lock is crisply marked 1863 / TOWER forward of the hammer, and with the usual British Crown to the rear of the hammer. There is no “VR” under the crown, as would be expected on a commercial gun, not intended for the British military. The interior of the lock is marked C & G over the mainspring, and also bears the additional marks F L 2 and a W, possibly the mark of the lock maker or lock assembler. The top edge of the lock plate bears the assembly mating mark \ \ / | |, and this mark is found throughout the musket, indicating that the major components (lock, stock and barrel) were all originally assembled together and belong together. The gun bears no British military marks at all, which is typical of English commercial guns of the era. The upper left of the breech is marked with the usual Birmingham commercial View, Proof and Definitive Proof marks, interspersed with a pair of 25 gauge marks, indicating .577 caliber. There is also a small BSAT (Birmingham Small Arms Trade) mark at the end of the proof marks, closest to the breech. The bottom of the barrel also bears the matching mating mark \ \ / | |, as found on the top edge of the lock, a pair of 17s, a 58, and the name FAULKNER. This is the mark of the Birmingham gun barrel-manufacturing firm of Faulkner Brothers. David and Charles Faulkner had both entered the barrel making trade individually in 1846 and 1848, respectively. They had learned the trade from their father, John Faulkner, who had been a gun barrel maker from 1829-1837. In 1851 they joined forces, working together at 38 Great Lister Street and in 1859 they formed the company Faulkner Brothers. The firm remained in business producing gun barrels until 1869. The gun is also marked in a variety of locations with the names of “owners”, at least one of which was probably the man who carried the gun during the Civil War. Stamped clearly in the bottom of the stock, forward of the triggerguard is the name N. HILL. Forward of that name is carved A M HILL with the date 1894, with the “9” carved backwards. The stock flat, opposite the lock is carved K P HILL and the reverse of the butt is carved W. J. HiLL, with the “J” carved backwards. The obverse butt is carved A. W. Hill 1897. The dates 1894 and 1897 suggest that neither “A.M. Hill” nor “A.W. Hill” had anything to do with the Civil War and were likely the sons or grandsons of the man who carried the musket. “N. Hill”, “K.P. Hill” and “W.J. Hill” are all POSSIBLE Confederate owners of the musket, but a significant amount of genealogical research would be necessary to identify the carrier and to link the other names on the gun to that person. According to Civil War Data, 5 men with the first initial “K” and the last name “Hill” (no middle initial given) served in the Confederacy, 55 men with the first initial “N” and the last name “Hill” served, and 14 men named “W J Hill” served. Cross-referencing these names would be the key to identifying the Confederate soldier who carried the gun. The name O. LATHAM is also neatly stamped on the obverse butt of the gun. No “Latham” with a first name staring with “O” served in the Confederate army that I can find, but three men with first initial “O” and the last name “Latham” served the Union. It appears that two of those entries are the same man, serving in different Maine regiments.

As previously noted, the overall condition of the gun is about NEAR FINE, and for a Confederate used and carried rifle musket is really wonderful condition and is the ultimate example of an untouched gun. The exposed metal of the gun has a thick chocolate brown patina, which is mostly smooth, but has scattered patches of lightly oxidized surface roughness, along with patches of dirt, grime and grease from 150 years of carry, use, storage, and probably some play. There are some light traces of the original rust blued finish mixed with this thick, dark patina on the barrel. In addition to the scattered light to moderate surface oxidation, there is some scattered peppering and pinpricking on the metal. As would be expected, the breech and bolster area do show light to moderate flash pitting, which is expected from a combat used percussion rifle musket. There is also some light to moderate pitting around the muzzle of the musket. The bottom of the barrel retains about 80% of its original blued finish, where it has been protected by the stock. The bore of the gun is in about GOOD+ to NEAR VERY GOODcondition. It is very dark and dirty with visible rifling and some light to moderate pitting scattered along its entire length. A good scrubbing would probably improve the bore substantially. The action of the gun is mechanically fine and functions crisply on all positions. The hammer shows some significant impact marks around its nose, suggesting it was dry fired a lot over the years, possibly as a toy for a descendant of the Confederate soldier who carried the gun. The cone (nipple) has been replaced with a modern one, probably because the original cone was so badly battered. This is the only evidence that anything has been done to this gun in many decades. The brass furniture has a deep, dark, uncleaned brownish-green patina, which is quite attractive, and is almost like a dug woods patina on a brass belt buckle. The original long-range rear sight is present, and is fully functional. It is complete with the exception of the elevating slide, which is missing. The front sight/bayonet lug is present near the muzzle as well, and is fully functional. Both original sling swivels remain with the gun as well. The three original Palmer pattern clamping barrel bands all retain their tension screws and their original doughnut-like keepers at the screw end. The original ramrod, remains in the channel under the barrel. It is full length, with threads on the end, and has the same, thick brown patina as the gun. The faint C&G mark of Cooper & Goodman can be seen on the shaft, behind the jag head. The stock is in about FINE overall condition. The stock is full length, with no breaks, or repairs noted, and the wood to metal fit is outstanding throughout. The stock is extremely crisp and sharp throughout and like the metal, shows no signs of having been cleaned in recent memory. Thick patches of dirt, old oil and even black powder residue are present over the stock, most heavily on the buttstock. As mentioned previously, the stock is well marked in numerous locations. The wood is marked in front of the buttplate tang with a deep and clear (ANCHOR) / S inspection stamp and the obverse stock is deeply struck with a Birmingham Small Arms Traderoundel. The toe of the stock is clearly marked with the name Cooper & Goodman, the contractor who made the gun. Additional marks are present in the wood behind the triggerguard. They are not nearly as distinct, but appear to be a small BSAT(Birmingham Small Arms Trade) mark, and a pair of script marks that might be C&G, or some other manufacturers’ mark. The initials CDG are stamped at the tail of the stock flat, likely the mark of the “setter up” of the gun. The mating mark \ \ / | | is present in the ramrod channel, mating the stock to the lock and the barrel. The presence of multiple initials combined with the common last name “Hill” has already been discussed, along with the stamped name O. LATHAM. The stock remains solid and complete, and shows no significant abuse. There is a small grain crack emanating from the rear lock mounting screw, travelling transversely to the barrel channel. This is the result of the screw being over tightened during the period of use of the gun. The stock does show the some minor bumps and dings from field service and use over the century and half of its lifetime, as would be expected. The stock could actually benefit from a very light and careful cleaning of the decades of dirt and grime on its surface, as this would allow all of the crisp markings to be even more clear and visible. The metal should probably remain untouched, with only a light oiling to prevent any new oxidation or corrosion.

Overall, this an extremely crisp and solid example of a completely authentic Confederate imported and used Enfield Rifle Musket that not only saw field service, but apparently spent the decades after the war in the hands of the soldiers family and decedents. The gun is really and truly untouched, and with the exception of the replaced cone (nipple) and the missing sight elevating slide, it is 100% complete and original. The gun has a simply wonderful look, that many collectors spend years looking for, that uncleaned, fresh from the attic, “in the black” patina. For the avid researcher and genealogist, this musket is a researcher’s dream, with multiple names and few post war dates that may allow the original Confederate soldier who carried the gun to be identified and the detailed history of this wonderful Confederate musket to unraveled. For a collector of Confederate imported Enfields, this is an essential piece, a sort of book end to be placed with your JS/Anchor, numbered Enfield; with the JS/Anchor gun being the early war import and the Anchor/S gun being the later war import. A few Sinclair, Hamilton & Company marks and a Barnett CH/1 would fill in the gaps of other well-known Confederate inspection marks. This is a just a fantastic, completely untouched gun, that would clearly be at home in a very advanced Confederate arms collection and would be an outstanding addition to any collection of Confederate Enfields.


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Tags: Anchor, S, Marked, Confederate, P, 1853, Enfield, Untouched