Confederate Imported JS/Anchor P-1853 With A B Suffix Numbered Buttplate
- Product Code: FLA-1969-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
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 J S / Anchor viewer’s mark combined with an engraved Confederate inventory number on the buttplate. If a collector were to have only one true Confederate imported weapon in their collection, one of these Confederate marked Enfields 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 Northern invasion.
During the early days of the American Civil War, Confederate purchasing agents did a splendid job of tying up contracts for the British P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket, which was truly one of the most advanced and well made long arms of the day. According to Josiah Gorgas, the head of the Confederate Ordnance Department, in his February 3, 1863 summary of imported arms, some 70,980 Long Enfield Rifles were purchased from the beginning of the war through the end of 1862. These numbers only account for Confederate central government purchases, and do not include those P-1853’s purchased by the individual Confederate states or by speculators seeking to sell them in the Confederacy. The majority of these arms were purchased from the firms of S. Isaac Campbell (who relied on John Edward Barnett & Sons to deliver many of those arms) or Sinclair, Hamilton & Company. Additional P-1853s were purchased from William Grazebrook of Liverpool, who made his first sales to Confederate purchasing agent Caleb Huse within 30 days of the opening of the war. Sinclair, Hamilton & Company entered into several contracts with the Confederacy to deliver P-1853 Enfield Rifle Muskets, with the typical terms requiring 30,000 arms to be delivered over a six month period. During the course of the war, Sinclair, Hamilton & Company may have received as many as five contracts for P-1853 Enfield Rifle Muskets from the Confederacy. One of these contracts for 30,000 P-1853 “long Enfields’ is the one represented by the guns with the JS / (ANCHOR) mark, along with the engraved buttplate tang inventory numbers. These inventory numbers ran from 1-9999 in three series (to date no gun with a 10,000 number is know, though theoretically they existed). The first series has no suffix after the number, while the second series has an “A” suffix under the inventory number and the third series has a “B” suffix. These numbered guns represent the October 1861 contract with Sinclair, Hamilton & Company which is referred to in Confederate documents as the “Second Contract”. This contract required the 30,000 Enfields to be delivered between October 1861 and April of 1862. At least two identified “B” suffix numbered guns have been determined to have been issued in Corinth, MS immediately prior to the battle of Shiloh on April 6-7 of 1862. Thus is it clear that the contract time line for production and delivery was closely followed. Sinclair, Hamilton & Company acquired their arms through “five furnishers”. These companies were able to fill the large Sinclair, Hamilton & Company orders in a reasonable period of time. The “five furnishers’ were the long time London gunmakers EP Bond, James Kerr and Parker, Field & Co, as well as the Birmingham based firms of CW James and Scott & Son. The furnishers often marked their guns that were delivered under this contract with a large single letter on the upper comb of the stock. The guns were marked with a B for Bond, a K for Kerr, and F for Parker, Field & Co, a J for James and an S for Scott & Son. An October 31, 1861 dated letter from Sinclair, Hamilton & Co. notes that the contract was divided between the furnishers as follows: 8,000 guns from Scott & Son, 10,000 from CW James, 6,000 from E.P. Bond, 5,500 from Parker, Field & Co and 500 from James Kerr. This indicates that the guns delivered by Bond represented only 20% of the total delivery under this contract. A database of more than two decades of collected information related to Confederate purchased Enfields contains approximately 250 numbered P-1853 Enfield rifle muskets (not counting state purchased guns). Of those guns, the large majority (well more than half) are numbered guns with no suffix, representing about 74% of the recorded sample. A-suffix guns represent about 19% of the recorded examples, while B-suffix guns represent about 7% of surviving examples that are recorded. To date, less than 20 B-suffix P-1853 Enfields are known to exist. The reason for the paucity of these arms is not clear, but it may be an indication of the early successes experienced by the Union’s Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Recorded numbers show a good distribution of engraved numbers from two digits through the mid 2XXX range. Then there is then a nearly 4,000 number gap in the database that seems to indicate that a large number of guns in the 25XX to 62XX range may well be on the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. One thing is certain, B-suffix Enfields are the scarcest of all the 2nd Contract Enfields purchased by the Confederacy.
The P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket offered here is a classic example of a Confederate marked and imported musket that clearly saw use in the field, but remains in VERY GOOD+ condition. The gun is marked in the wood behind the trigger guard with the classic J S / (ANCHOR) mark, although the mark is worn and the “J S’ portion of the mark is somewhat weak. The buttplate tang is engraved with the inventory number 2202 / B, indicating that this gun was in final group of 10,000 muskets to be delivered under the contract. The gun is marked with a large B on the upper comb of the stock, indicating that E.P. Bond was the furnisher of the gun. The firm of Edward Philip Bond was one of the larger London gunmaking companies, which could trace their roots in the business to the early 1700’s, when the first Bond of the family was freed of the Gunmakers Company in 1730. Over the next hundred years the family flourished in the gun trade, and in 1835 Edward Philip Bond was apprenticed to his uncle William Thomas Bond. In 1836, Edward was turned over to John Edward Barnett to continue his apprenticeship and was free of the Gunmakers Company in 1842. The time Bond spent apprenticed to Barnett no doubt established the long time relationship between the two companies that continued well into the American Civil War era, as both firms became major suppliers of arms to the Confederacy. The lock of the gun is marked EP BOND / LONDON forward of the lock, without the usual (CROWN) to the rear of the hammer. The gun bears no British military marks at all, which is typical of guns bound for export markets. The upper left of the breech is marked with the usual London commercial View, Proof and Definitive Proof marks, and with a single 25 gauge mark, indicating .577 caliber. The interior of the lock is marked B over the mainspring. The top edge of the lock is marked with four file slashes, \ \ | | as a mating or assembly code. The interior of the lockplate is also marked with the mating code 82, a style of matching mark not typically encountered on English long arms. The underside of the barrel is marked EZRA MILLWARD, the mark of Birmingham gun barrel makers Ezra Millward & Son, who operated at Aston Junction Mills, Mill Street during the Civil War years. The company was established in 1827 and changed their name to include “& Son” in 1857. They went out of business in 1869. A variety of initials and various assembly marks are also present on the bottom of the barrel, along with the matching mating number 82, as found inside the lock. The same mating number, 82, also appears in the barrel channel in pencil and stamped into the front tang of the triggerguard. The ramrod channel bears the same file slash mating marks \ \ | | as found on the upper edge of the lockplate. There are two sets of typically Confederate initials carved into the butt of the gun. The obverse is carved with an upside down E. P. and the reverse is carved with a T + P.
As previously noted, the overall condition of the gun is VERY GOOD, and for a Confederate used and carried rifle musket that probably arrived in the south sometime prior to mid-1862, it is really in very nice shape. The gun clearly shows years of use in Confederate service, but also shows that it was well cared for and not abused. The metal of the gun has a thick plum brown patina, mixed with traces of the original blued finish. The metal is mostly smooth, with some scattered patches of minor light surface oxidation, scattered peppering and minor pinpricking. Most of the minor roughness is located around the breech and bolster area. The bore of the musket is in about VERY GOOD+ condition. The bore retains strong rifling and is mostly bright. However, the bore does show light to moderate pitting along its entire length, with a couple of patches of more significant roughness. The action of the gun functions perfectly and is still very crisp. The lock is mechanically excellent and works exactly as it should on all positions. The brass furniture has a medium golden patina, which is very attractive. The original long-range rear sight is present, and is complete and fully functional. The front sight/bayonet lug is present near the muzzle as well. The gun retains both sling swivels. The lower and middle band tension screws retain their small doughnut style screw keepers. The upper band tension screw is missing this keeper. The original ramrod, which was numbered to the gun, is missing in action. This is typical with numbered Enfields, as less than 10% of extant examples retain a numbered ramrod (let alone the original matching one). The ramrod that now accompanies the gun is an original, full-length P-1853 ramrod, which has complete and functional threads on the end. The Confederacy imported thousands of replacement ramrods during the course of the war, and this rod is almost certainly just such a replacement. The stock is in about VERY GOOD condition, and shows no breaks or substantial repairs. There is a minor diagonal grain crack on the reverse of the stock, near the tip, which is quite stable and shows a very old glue repair. The repair is really only noticeable inside the barrel channel when the barrel is removed. The crack is barely noticeable on the exterior and is mentioned for exactness. There is also a tiny, grain surface crack to the rear of the lock mortise, which is extremely stable and barely worthy of mention. The stock shows numerous bumps, dings and mars, as well as some minor wood loss and burn out between the hammer and barrel tang. All of this wear is the result of the guns long service life in Confederate hands. The stock does not appear to have been sanded during its lifetime, and simply shows the expected wear from years of field service in the hands of a Confederate soldier.
Overall, this is really lovely example of a completely authentic Confederate imported and used Enfield Rifle Musket. The gun has the most desirable and well known of Confederate import marks, a great engraved inventory number, and the relatively scarce E.P. Bond furnishers mark. Even more desirable is the fact that this is a B suffix gun, the rarest of the three series of numbered guns from the 2nd contract. This gun was clearly a fairly early arrival in the Confederacy that was likely on the field before the beginning of 1862 summer campaign season. The condition clearly shows that this gun saw service and fought hard for Southern independence during the course of the war, but somehow managed to survive in very respectable and relatively complete condition. This was not a gun that went home as a war trophy during the early days, or that was captured on a blockade-runner and later sold as surplus. This gun fought the war for the Confederate cause and is one of those weapons that you wish could tell you its story. With only 2 in 10 JS / (ANCHOR) marked guns having been delivered by E.P Bond and only 7 in 100 being B suffix guns, it is also a very scarce example of a Confederate purchase. If you have ever wanted to own a completely correct and honest Confederate used P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket, that really saw service and fought the war, this would be a great addition to you collection. This gun is a great piece of history, that was no doubt a witness to some of the most horrific moments in the history of our nation.SOLD