Confederate Marked P-1853 Artillery Carbine - Very Rare
- Product Code: FLA-3229-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
The Pattern 1853 family of British military percussion long arms that started with the P-1853 “Enfield” Rifle Musket gave rise to a variety of shorter, long arms for use by “specialty troops”, including the 21” barreled Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbine with a captive rammer and the 24” barreled Artillery Carbine, in three variations “ the Pattern 1853, Pattern 1853 Type II (aka P-1858) & Pattern 1861. The Artillery carbines were intended for troops that might have the need for a long arm (rather than a handgun), but did not need to be encumbered with the weight and length of either the P-1853 rifle musket (“long Enfield”) or P-1856, P-1858 or P-1860 “short rifles”. The Enfield Artillery carbine was the M-1 carbine of the mid-19th century British military. As these guns were only intended for use by specialty troops in the British Army, they were produced in very small numbers and as result they are not commonly encountered today. During the American Civil War, Enfield Artillery Carbines were imported by both the North and the South, but in extremely small numbers when compared to the number of rifle-muskets and rifles that were purchased. This makes Civil War used examples very scarce and quite difficult to obtain. The Pattern 1853 Artillery Carbine was adopted by the British military in January 1853, with the initial contracts being let for it in October of that year. Like the rifle musket that it was patterned on, it was a .577 caliber, muzzle loading, percussion ignition long arm. The gun was brass mounted and was 40” in overall length. The 24” barrel was rifled with three grooves, making one turn in 78”, and had a bayonet lug mounted on the right side near the muzzle. The bayonet was a semi-Yataghan saber bayonet, of the same basic design as that used on the P-1856/58/60/61 pattern short rifles. The bayonet for the Artillery carbine was the only one in British service (at that time) to utilize a metal scabbard, instead of the more commonly encountered leather one. As initially produced, the carbine had a simple three-leaf rear sight, which was graduated to 100, 200 and 300 yards. A sling swivel was mounted on the upper of the two-barrel bands and one was screwed into the toe of the stock, to the rear of the triggerguard tang. The first pattern carbines also utilized a semi-tulip head ramrod, similar to that found on Type I and early Type II P-1853 Rifle Muskets. The primary pattern changes to the carbine occurred in 1858 and 1861. The new P-1853 Type II Artillery Carbine (or P-1858) adopted the progressive depth rifling system that had been used successfully on the P-1853 Rifle Musket. At this time the ramrod was officially changed to the jag head pattern that had been adopted for the P-1853 Rifle Musket as well. There were some other minor structural changes, including the removal of the short guide tab on the bayonet lug, a design change in the rammer retention spoon, as well as to the brass nose cap, all of which made the gun more like the then current production Type III Rifle Musket. The final major innovations took the form of the P-1861 Artillery Carbine. This gun adopted the 5-groove rifling system, which had become standard on all short rifles in 1860 and also adopted a new rear sight, graduate to 600 yards. The rear sight was now visually very similar to the rifle & rifle musket rear sight, with a long base and ladder with an elevating bar. The use of the rounded Baddeley Patent barrel band was also adopted for the lower band of the P-1861 carbine. There is no indication that any of the P-1861 Artillery carbines were imported by either side during the course of American Civil War. All extant Civil War used examples are of the P-1853 Type I or Type II, with some guns having features of both carbines, usually the Type II ramrod with earlier bayonet lug and rifling.
As previously noted, extant Civil War used Enfield artillery carbines are quite scarce, due to their limited purchase and importation by the combatants. US Ordnance documents indicate that somewhere between 480 and 730 were imported by the US for use, but it is difficult to determine for sure, as the language in the Ordnance descriptions is somewhat vague. Southern importation was significantly greater, but to date only about 4,500 of the artillery carbines can be documented as having been purchased by Confederate central government agents. These Confederate purchases have been established as a contract for 1,500 of the P-1853 Artillery carbines, which were delivered in late 1861 and early 1862, as well as additional contracts from several sources that bring the total purchases to around 4,500. The early contract for 1,500 guns was inspected and marked in the same manner as the 2nd Sinclair, Hamilton & Company contract P-1853 Enfield rifle muskets, and the associated short rifle contract. Those guns were marked with John Southgate’s JS / (ANCHOR) viewers’ mark in the wood behind the triggerguard, and with an engraved inventory number on the brass buttplate tang and the ramrod shank, as well as on the reverse pommel cap of the matching saber bayonet. It appears that the majority of the P-1853 Artillery carbines were delivered by one of Sinclair, Hamilton & Company’s favorite gunmakers and retailers, W&C Scott & Son of Birmingham. All extant examples of Confederate marked P-1853 Artillery Carbines that are known to exist above #409 are marked with Scott’s furnishers mark, a large S on the stock comb, forward of the buttplate tang. This suggests that Scott delivered approximately 1,100 of the 1,500 guns (#400-#1,500). The seven known examples under #409 consist of 3 Birmingham produced carbines of various makers and 4 London Armoury produced carbines. To date, based upon a survey and inventory of extant examples, taken over more than 25 years, a total of 32 of these Confederate numbered artillery carbines are known to exist. Birmingham contractors appear to have manufactured all of those numbered guns, except for a small block of approximately 40 that were manufactured by the London Armory Company. The London Armory guns are the early, Type I pattern with the extended guide bar on the bayonet lug and standard (non-progressive depth) rifling, but with the later Type II jag head ramrods. Other than these 1,500 numbered guns, some additional 3,000 carbines appear to have been purchased by Confederate buyers as well. Some were purchased from English arms speculator William Grazebrook, and at least 220 artillery carbines are listed in the inventory of the Blockade Runner FINGAL, which made its delivery of arms into the port of Savannah, GA on November 14, 1861. Additional carbines were listed aboard the Confederate blockade-runners Stephen Hart (captured and believed to be part of the original order of 1,500 numbered guns) and HARRIETT PINCKNEY. Between 1863 and 1864, some additional 3,400 “artillery carbines’ were delivered into the port of Wilmington, NC by a variety of Confederate blockade-runners. However, it is not clear if these guns were all “Enfield” pattern or may have also included some other patterns of European “artillery carbines’ such as the Austrian Extra-Corps Carbines that were based upon the M-1854 Lorenz rifle musket. The P-1853 Enfield Artillery Carbine was particularly popular with Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart, the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia’s cavalry corps. An October 7, 1862 missive from Stuart states in part: “Application from General Stuart, commanding cavalry, to exchange rifles, for the Enfield carbines (artillery) in the hands of our infantry.”. This not only indicates Stuart’s preference for the short-barreled arm, but also indicates that some of these guns were seeing service in the ranks of Confederate infantry around the time of the battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg). The fact that it accepted a saber bayonet of the same pattern as the Pattern 1856/58/60 rifles certainly made it a handy weapon for light infantry and skirmishers.
The Enfield Artillery Carbine offered here is one of the extremely rare, Confederate purchased and numbered guns. The gun bears a clear and very legible JS /(ANCHOR) inspections mark in the wood behind the triggerguard, a deeply struck S (Scott & Sons) furnisher mark on the comb of the stock, and has the inventory number 1271 engraved on the buttplate tang. The gun is a 2nd pattern P-1853 Type II Artillery Carbine, sometimes referred to as the Pattern 1858 Artillery Carbine and is in about VERY GOOD overall condition, especially for an early war purchased, and battlefield used Confederate long arm. The gun is essentially complete, correct and original (with the exception of a couple of small parts), which is quite rare to encounter with this pattern of carbine. The gun retains an original, period and correct multi-leaf rear sight, although it appears that it may have been reattached to the carbine at some point in time. The gun retains its original lower sling swivel, screwed into the toe of the stock, but the upper swivel is probably a replacement of correct pattern. Both of the two small screw-retaining doughnuts on the barrel band tension screws are missing, which is not uncommon. The gun does not have the usual leather and iron snap cap & chain (nipple protector), nor does is have the small stud, forward of the trigger guard, that the chain would have been attached to. This stud has been sheared off cleanly, likely during the period of use. The other part that is missing is the saber bayonet lug on the barrel. It is not uncommon for these lugs to be sheared off of Confederate purchased short rifles and artillery carbines. The broken base of the saber lug remains in place on the barrel, but the stud itself is long gone. As with the Confederate numbered Enfield rifle muskets and short rifles, the ramrods of the artillery carbines were also engraved with an inventory number, matching the buttplate. Only four of the known surviving artillery carbines retain their original numbered ramrods. As is typical of Confederate numbered Enfields, this gun does not retain that original numbered rod. It does, however, retain an original, correct pattern artillery carbine ramrod that is numbered to another Confederate purchased artillery carbine. The rod is engraved with the serial number 1035, and is maker marked T&CG for Birmingham small work maker Thomas & Charles Gilbert. The rod is full length and complete with threads on the end. The lock plate is marked in the typical Birmingham fashion, with the date 1861 forward of the hammer, over the word TOWER. There is the usual (CROWN) to the rear of the hammer, without a “VR” underneath. As would be expected of a commercial gun destined for export, it bears no British military proof or inspection marks. The interior of the lock bears the maker name J. BOURNE, and this same contractor’s name is clearly stamped in the toe of the stock, as well as under the barrel. Interestingly, the gun does not bear the file slash mating marks that are commonly encountered on Birmingham made firearms of the period, but all of the major components (lock, stock & barrel) are marked with Bourne’s name. Joseph Bourne was a Birmingham based gun, rifle & pistol maker who went into business in 1849 at 5 Whittall Street and remained in business under that name through 1866, when the firm became J. Bourne & Son. The company remained at their Whittall street location through 1878, when they moved to 9 St. Mary’s Row, where they remained until going out of business in 1900. The left breech of the barrel is marked with the usual Birmingham commercial proof, view and definitive proof marks, as well as a pair of 25 gauge marks, indicating .577 caliber. The bottom of the barrel is marked with the name of the barrel maker, FAULKNER, the mark of the Faulkner Brothers who operated gun barrel makers at 38 Great Lister Street in Birmingham from 1859-1869. As previously noted, the bottom of the barrel is also marked J BOURNE. Additional marks on the bottom of the barrel are the number 900, the alphanumeric mark D 7 and the letter B. The rear of the breech plug is also stamped D, mating it to the barrel.
As previously noted, the overall condition of the gun is about VERY GOOD. The action of the lock works perfectly on all positions, and remains quite crisp and tight. The lock has a mottled brownish patina over a smooth pewter base color. The lock does show some lightly scattered pinpricking and minor pitting on its surface. The balance of the metal of the gun has a mostly smooth, think plum-brown patina, with some scattered peppering, pinpricking and minor patches of surface oxidation present, mostly around the breech & bolster area and the muzzle. There are also some scattered patches of light pitting present, mostly near the muzzle and on the reverse of the hammer. The bottom of the barrel, where it has been protected by the stock, retains about 30% of its original deep, dark, rust-blued finish. The tang of the breech plug is broken through the screw hole, although this is not particularly noticeable with the screw in place. The original front sight is in place near the muzzle, but has been field during the period of use to adjust the point-of-aim and point-of-impact of the rifle to suit the soldier who carried and used the carbine. The bore rates about GOOD+ and is dirty and is moderately pitted along its entire length, with visible rifling that is more pronounced near the breech and weaker near the muzzle. The brass furniture has a lovely, untouched, dark ocher patina that is very attractive. The stock is in about GOOD+ to NEAR VERY GOOD overall condition and is complete and full length. The stock does show a significant crack at the lower rear of the lock mortise that warps around to the triggerguard. There is also a grain crack present inside the barrel channel, that is not visible on the exterior of the carbine. An additional small crack is present running from the rear lock mounting screw to the barrel channel, a common crack that is usually the result of the screw being over tightened over time. The cracks are all solid and stable, but it might be worth having the largest one near the lock being stabilized by a restoration gunsmith, to make sure it does not worsen over time. There is some minor wood loss due to “burnout” behind the bolster, which is typical of a percussion long arm that saw significant use. The wear in this location is commensurate with the amount of pitting present around the breach of the carbine. As would be expected, there are also numerous bumps, ding, scratches and bruises on the stock, all of which is simply normal wear and tear for a military long arm that is over 150 years old and was Confederate used. All of the stock condition issues appear to be directly related to actual service and use in the field. As noted previously, there is a nice, clear JS / (ANCHOR) mark in the wood behind the triggerguard and the top of the stock comb bears a very legible C&W Scott “S” furnishers mark. A nice set of period initials are lightly carved into the reverse of the stock. These initials are the letters R H. Another mark is present on the reverse of the butt, near the buttplate, and appears to be a pair of initials or an alpha-numeric stamp, but the mark is worn and I cannot decipher it.
Overall this is a really attractive example of one of the hardest Confederate purchased and marked, British import arms of the American Civil War to find for sale. With only 32 known examples, these guns rarely appear on the market and very rarely change hands. When these Confederate marked artillery carbines are found, they usually show hard use, and are often missing the rear sight (or at least the sight leaves), and other small parts like the toe mounted sling swivel. Finding an essentially complete gun is very difficult, and finding one with an original numbered ramrod (even if it is to another carbine) is extremely rare. I am only aware of one other Confederate numbered Artillery Carbine currently for sale, and this one is priced more than $1,000 cheaper and has a numbered ramrod, so it is certainly a real value. No significant collection of Confederate import arms is complete without one of these extremely rare guns. This one is simply a great displaying example with clear marks and a wonderful, well used look. You will be extremely happy to add to this gun to your collection. It is worthy of being the centerpiece of an advanced collection of Confederate Enfields, and would be a wonderful item to display along with a Cook & Brother Artillery Carbine, which was essentially a Confederate made copy of this gun. This scarce Confederate imported carbine will no doubt be a treasured piece of your collection for many years to come.SOLD