This is a GOOD+ condition example of a Confederate made linen sling for use with rifle muskets and other long arms issued by the Confederacy to their troops. The use of cloth gun slings was an outgrowth of the scarcity of useable tanned leather the Confederacy experienced as the war progressed. This dearth of leather resulted in the Confederacy importing large numbers of finished leather goods, as well as tanned hides, from England during the course of the war. However, these good and hides were not sufficient to supply all of the southern leather needs. In fact at one point in the war the Confederate War Department in Richmond ordered all of the English gun slings coming through the blockade be sent to the Richmond Artillery Workshop for alteration into artillery harnesses. Due to the leather shortage substitute materials like "tarred canvas" (actually linen coated with a combination of linseed oil and lamp black) were used to manufacture large numbers of accouterments that were typically made of leather.
This is a classic example of a Confederate manufactured linen sling. These slings appear to have been produced in Richmond, and extant Confederate records document this pattern of sling as being requisitioned and issued during 1864, with at least 20,000 having been produced (and probably many more). The main body of the sling is a single piece of linen that is approximately 2 ““ wide. The linen has been folded and sewn to create a sling that is two layers of cloth thick in the main body and four layers thick on the rolled edge to prevent fraying. The resulting, finished sling is 1 3/16” wide. The linen is a plain weave with approximately 32 threads per inch in the warp and 44 threads per inch in the weft. The layers are sewn together at the rate of approximately 7 stitches per inch, about 3/16” from the edges. The overall length of the sling body is 33 “, 34 ““ if the iron hook is included. The sling terminates on one end with an iron wire adjustment hook, which is secured by a folding and sewing the end of the sling back on itself. The opposite end terminates in a standing leather loop, through which the sling passes, securing it to the triggerguard swivel of the rifle musket. The only other leather portion of the sling is a 5/8” wide, 8 ““ long reinforcing strip which is sewn to the sling where the iron hook enters the adjustment holes. This piece of leather shows significant wear and 3” long section is missing from the middle of the reinforcement. Most of the original leather finish is long gone, and sometime during the modern era a 1 ““ long section of the leather has been reattached by sewing it to the sling with brown thread. The original thread and stitching remains in place on both ends of the leather strip and is quite tight. The leather standing loop shows significant crazing and finish loss as well, and has a tiny piece of leather missing from one of the leading edges. Originally the tension of the doubled and looped portion of the sling was controlled by a loose, sliding leather loop. This loop is now missing from the sling. The double iron wire hook is approximately 1” long and is still securely attached to the end of the sling. The linen sling body retains nearly all of its original stitching, most of which is quite tight and secure. There are some minor areas of stitching loss and looseness, but they are minor and do not significantly affect the stability, functionality or displayability of the sling. The sling body shows significant age staining and discoloration, with most of the linen having a medium tan color. The protected areas are much brighter and more of an off white or cream color, and the section where the leather reinforcement is missing shows a lighter and cleaner color of linen as well.
Overall, this is a good condition example of a relatively scarce Confederate linen rifle musket sling. The sling shows great age and real wear, but still remains perfectly serviceable for mounting on a Confederate rifle or musket. This would be a great addition to the display of your Richmond or Fayetteville produced long arm, or any Confederate manufactured or used rifle musket. All Confederate accouterments are scarce, and anything made of cloth is particularly vulnerable to long term deterioration and decay. As such, these slings are getting harder to find every day, and this one is priced very reasonably, allowing you to add a great enhancement to your gun for about half of what I have seen some of these linen slings sell for in the past.SOLD