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Confederate JS/Anchor & Numbered P-1853 with NJ Ownership Surcharge!

Confederate JS/Anchor & Numbered P-1853 with NJ Ownership Surcharge!

  • Product Code: FLA-3048-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 J S / Anchor viewer’s mark of John Southgate, combined with an engraved Confederate inventory number on the tang of the brass 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 the perceived 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 military long arms of the day. According to Confederate Chief of Ordnance Josiah Gorgas’s 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-1853s purchased by the individual Confederate states or by speculators seeking to sell them within the Confederacy. The majority of these arms were purchased from the firms of S. Isaac, Campbell & Company (who relied on John Edward Barnett & Sons to deliver many of those arms) or Sinclair, Hamilton & Company, who often routed their sales through S. Isaac, Campbell & Co as well. 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 contract terms requiring 30,000 arms to be delivered over a six month period. During the course of the war, Sinclair, Hamilton & Company appears to have received as many as five of these contracts for P-1853 Enfield Rifle Muskets from the Confederate central government. The second 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 1-10,000 in three series (to date no gun with a 10,000 number is known, although theoretically they existed). The first series had no suffix after the number, while the second series of 10,000 had an “A” suffix under the inventory number and the third series of 10,000 had a “B” suffix. These numbered guns represent the October 1861 contract with Sinclair, Hamilton & Company that is referred to in Confederate documents as the “Second Contract”. This contract required the 30,000 Enfields to be delivered between October of 1861 and April of 1862. At least two identified “B” suffix guns with 3-digit inventory numbers 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, and the Confederacy did a good job delivering arms through the Union blockade during the first year of the war. Sinclair, Hamilton & Company acquired their arms through “Five Furnishers”. These were well-established gun making firms that 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, Parker, Field & Sons, and James Kerr. Kerr apparently received a tiny portion of the contract (only 500 guns) due to his relationship with the London Armoury Company. Archibald Hamilton of Sinclair, Hamilton & Company was the managing director of The London Armoury Company, and James Kerr (of Kerr revolver fame) was London Armoury Company’s manager. The balance of the guns were delivered by the Birmingham based firms of C.W. James and W.C. Scott & Son. The furnishers often marked the guns that were delivered under this contract with a large single letter on the upper comb of the stock, just forward of the buttplate tang. The guns were marked with a B for Bond, an F for Parker, Field & Sons, a J for C.W. James, a K for James Kerr and an S for Scott & Son. A sixth single letter mark, P has been noted on extant Confederate Enfields from this contract. This mark was previously thought to be an alternate mark for Parker, Field & Company. However, more recent examination of extant examples and the other associated marks on those guns has revealed that this was the mark of Francis Preston of Manchester, England. Preston’s relationship within the contracting circle is not clear, but he delivered many socket bayonets for the numbered guns of this contract, and may have received a small sub-contract to provide long arms as well. No period documents have shown that Preston delivered the guns directly to Sinclair, Hamilton & Company, so it is most likely that his guns were sub-contracted by James or Scott, who delivered the majority of the guns. 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 & Sons and 500 from James Kerr. This indicates that the guns delivered by CW James (the largest supplier) represented about 33% of the total delivery under this contract, Scott & Sons about 25%, Bond about 20% and Parker, Field & Sons about 18% and the guns from Kerr represented less than 2% of the deliveries. An extensive database comprised 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 samples. 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 50 A-suffix and 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 simply be the result of attrition and the arms having been used up. With B-suffix guns (which would have theoretically been delivered later than the no suffix or “A” guns), the lack of extant examples 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 the “B-guns’ in the 25XX to 62XX range may well be on the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. “A suffix” guns, although uncommon and with few examples to study, show a nice even distribution through the entire numbering sequence. This suggests that their scarcity today is the result of them having seen hard use, rather than having been dumped overboard while a Confederate blockade runner tried to elude a pursuing US Naval vessel.

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. The gun is doubly interesting, in that is also bears the ownership surcharge of the state of New Jersey in both the stock and the barrel. This indicates that the gun was captured in some way, and ended up in the possession of the state of New Jersey when they were marking their state inventory of arms. Whether the gun was captured on the battlefield or was acquired by the state at a Prize Court Auction after the capture of a blockade-runner will probably never be known. Only a very few Civil War Enfields are known with both US and CS marks on them, and this makes this gun particularly scarce and interesting. The gun is in about VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE condition and is crisply marked in the wood behind the trigger guard with the desirable J S / (ANCHOR) mark. The buttplate tang is engraved with the inventory number 9818, indicating that this gun was delivered at the end of the first group of 10,000 muskets to be delivered under the 2nd Sinclair, Hamilton & Company contract. Based upon a study of extant examples, their inventory numbers and the lock dates on the Birmingham made guns, this rifle musket was likely produced in early 1862. The gun bears a very crisp F furnishers mark, indicating that is was delivered by Parker, Field & Sons of London. The firm of Parker, Field & Sons (also known as Parker, Field & Company) was established as Field & Parker, goldsmiths & gunmakers at 233 High Holborn Street in London around 1792. William Parker took over the firm after Field’s death, and remained at the same location through 1841, with Field’s son John eventually joining the business. During that time the firm also maintained workshops and stores at several other London addresses. In about 1841 the company became known as Parker, Field & Sons, adding John Field (son in law to William Parker) and William Parker’s sons John William Parker Field and William Shakespeare Field to the business, with their sole occupation being gunmaking. The firm continued to use the High Holborn address through 1876, and as before operated additional workshop locations at a variety of London addresses over the next several decades. The firm ceased operations in 1886. During the Civil War, Parker, Field & Sons delivered thousands of P-1853 Enfield rifle muskets to the Confederacy, primarily through Sinclair, Hamilton & Company. They also delivered some of the Enfields for the state of Georgia, with at least 200 of the P-1856 Sergeant’s Fusils for India Service and 140 P-1853 Enfields being listed on the manifest showing Georgia purchased arms shipped on board the blockade runner Gladiator. A handful of revolvers are also known in the US with Parker, Field and Sons retailer marks, and potential Confederate provenance, but no contracts for the delivery of handguns to the Confederacy by Parker, Field & Sons are known.

As previously noted, this Confederate Enfield is in VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE condition, especially for an early war Confederate purchased and used Enfield. The lock is marked in two lines, forward of the hammer, PARKER FIELD & SONS / LONDON, without the typical British “Crown” mark to the rear of the hammer. The gun is a commercial one and 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 and Proof marks, with no external gauge mark. On most London commercially proved guns, the gauge mark is found under the barrel. The breech is also marked with the state of New Jersey surcharge N.J. The top of the breech bears the usual “index mark” showing the proper alignment of the barrel and breech plug, and the mark appears to be unmolested. The interior of the lock is clearly marked FIELD over the mainspring, along with the initial T.P., which is either the mark of the lock maker, or maybe an assembler. What appears to be an Arabic mating number, as single 1 is stamped inside the lock plate as well. The top edge of the lock bears the file slash mating mark | | | | and the bottom edge bears the mark \ | | |. The bottom of the barrel is marked with the name of the barrel maker, HENRY CLIVE, as well as with the initials H.A. (setter up”, barrel finisher”) and with a group of 9 punch dots, along with the alphanumeric combination 1 3 and A, which is sideways. The presence of punch dots and numbers under the barrel has been noted on other Clive barrels, and these may be internal marks related to Clive’s barrel assembly system. The bottom of the barrel is additionally marked FIELD, and with the gauge mark 25 (indicating .577 caliber). A pair of 7s are under the barrel in various positions, and a mating 1, as found under the barrel and in the lock, is found under the breech plug. The ramrod channel is marked with the mating mark \ | | | and the number 1 as well. The barrel of the gun is primarily a smooth medium pewter gray, patina, with the bottom of the barrel showing a brighter steel patina. The barrel was clearly “struck bright”, removing all of the original blue from it. This probably happened while in US service, as some regimental colonels would order the Enfields carried by their men to be “struck bright” to match the Springfields that were also in their ranks. The metal of the barrel is quite smooth, but does show some very lightly scattered pinpricking and peppering, along with some speckled oxidized age discoloration. This is most noticeable at the muzzle, and in a couple of scattered patches here and there, with most of the darker freckling being to the rear of the middle barrel bands. The bore of the musket is in about NEAR FINE condition. The bore of the gun is mostly bright and it retains very strong 3-groove, progressive depth rifling. The bore shows what appears to be evenly distributed light pitting along its entire length, mostly in the grooves. Some of it may actually be accumulated dirt and dust that would clean out easily. The barrel bands have a nice, untouched deep brown patina, and all match each other perfectly. The upper and middle bands retain their “doughnut” shaped keepers on their tension screws, with the one for the middle band’s tension screw is missing. The action of the gun is mechanically excellent and functions crisply on all positions. The lock has the same dulled pewter patina as the rest of the gun, with some darker mottling, suggesting minor traces of the original case colored finish. The lock markings are quite crisp and legible, although the lock does show some very lightly scattered pin pricking on its surface, mostly on the forward portion. The brass furniture has a nice, untouched, dark umber patina, which is very attractive. The Confederate inventory number 9818 is neatly engraved on the tang. The long-range rear sight is complete and fully functional. The ladder has the same dark brown patina of the barrel bands, while the sight base matches the metal of the barrel. The original front sight/bayonet lug is present near the muzzle of the musket. Both sling swivels are present, and due to the presence of the screw keeper on the upper band, that one is almost certainly original to the gun. The rear swivel appears to be original to the gun as well. The three original Palmer pattern clamping barrel bands are all in place on the musket. 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, P-1853 ramrod from the period, which is full length and retains fine original threads at the end. Thousands of replacement ramrods were imported thought the Confederate port of Wilmington, NC between 1863 and 1864, suggesting the breakage and loss of rammers in the field was a constant problem. The stock is in about FINE condition overall. The stock retains very strong edges and sharp lines and does not appear to have been sanded at any time. The stock is solid, complete and full-length, with no breaks or significant damage noted. As would be expected, the stock does show a wide assortment of scattered bumps, dings and minor mars from service, handling and storage over the last 150+ years. The stock bears the expected JS / (ANCHOR) inspection mark in the wood behind the triggerguard. The JS / (ANCHOR) mark is quite legible and clear, but also shows good age and light wear. A script NJ cartouche is present on the flat, opposite the lock, complementing the block “N.J” on the barrel flat, indicating that at some point in time the gun was owned by the state of New Jersey. There are some lightly scratched symbols and possibly initials present in the buttstock, one of which may be a crude Masonic "square & compass". I cannot, however, decipher anything, and they are only lightly present. The both sides of the butt are clearly depicted in the last two pictures, below.

Overall, this is a great looking example of a completely authentic Confederate imported and used Enfield Rifle Musket that surely saw field service, and eventually ended up in a New Jersey state arsenal. The gun has the most desirable and well known of Confederate import marks, a crisp and clear JS / (ANCHOR). It also has a wonderful engraved inventory number on the brass buttplate along with a crisp furnisher’s mark on the stock. This gun was clearly a very early arrival in the Confederacy that was likely on the field well before the beginning of the 1862 spring and summer campaign seasons. The pinpricking around the breech and light pitting within the bore clearly shows that this gun saw some service and fought for Southern independence (and possibly for Northern unity) during the course of the war. Somehow, through all of that use and potential for combat damage, the gun managed to survive in extremely nice and relatively complete original condition. With less than “ of the numbered Confederate Enfields being delivered by Parker, Field and Sons and with less than 1% of those 30,000 guns having survived to be in collections today, this is simply an incredibly scarce example of a Confederate purchased gun. 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, AND also bears US marks as well, this would be an outstanding addition to you collection. Only a very small handful of Enfields are known to bear both CS and US marks, and this makes this gun even more rare and important. This gun is really an iconic piece of history, which was no doubt a witness to some of the most horrific moments in the American Civil War. It is just as Confederate as any Richmond made rifle musket, and at a much more reasonable in price, and would be equally at home in a collection of US state marked arms as well!


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Tags: Confederate, JS, Anchor, Numbered, P, 1853, with, NJ, Ownership, Surcharge