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Confederate Marked P1853 Artillery Carbine

Confederate Marked P1853 Artillery Carbine

  • Product Code: FLA-3400-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

The Pattern 1853 family of British military percussion long arms that started with the P1853 “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 P1853 rifle musket (“long Enfield”) or P1856, P1858 or P1860 “short rifles”. The Enfield Artillery carbine was the M1 carbine of the mid-19th century British military. These guns were only intended for use by specialty troops in the British Army, thus 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 extremely 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 Pattern 1856/58/60/61 pattern short rifles. The saber 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 iron-mounted 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 P1853 Rifle Muskets. The primary pattern changes to the carbine occurred in 1858 and 1861. The new P1853 Type II Artillery Carbine (or P1858) adopted the progressive depth rifling system that had been used successfully on the P1853 Rifle Musket. At this time, the ramrod was officially changed to the jag-head pattern that had been adopted for the P1853 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 Pattern 1861 Artillery Carbine. This gun adopted the 5-groove rifling system that 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 P1861 carbine. There is no indication that any of the P1861 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 Pattern 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 Pattern 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 P1853 Artillery Carbines from this particular contract 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 three Birmingham produced carbines of various makers and four London Armoury produced carbines. To date, based upon a survey and inventory of extant examples, taken over more than twenty-five years, a total of thirty-two of these Confederate inventory 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 forty that were manufactured by the London Armory Company. The London Armory guns are of 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 carrying part of the order that included the 1,500 inventory 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 Pattern 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 that the carbine 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, but would have been an even handier weapon for Stuart’s cavalry that often fought dismounted, working more like mounted infantry. Stuart was particularly biased against the Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbine’s captive ramrod system, another reason he favored the Artillery Carbine.

The Confederate Inspected Pattern 1853 Enfield Artillery Carbine offered here is one of the extremely rare, Confederate purchased guns that carries a Confederate inspection mark. While not a JS /(ANCHOR) inspected and inventory numbered gun, the carbine carries a very clear Sinclair, Hamilton & Company mark on the top of the comb, forward of the buttplate tang. A clear (CROWN) / SH / C / (ARROW) Type I inspection mark is found in this location. The gun is a 2nd pattern Pattern 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 longarm. 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 its original, period and correct multi-leaf rear sight, graduated to 100, 200 and 300 yards. The original front sight is present as well, but it has been filed down and modified; probably to modify the point of impact/point of aim regulation of the gun. The gun retains its original lower sling swivel, screwed into the toe of the stock, as well as the original upper sling swivel located on the upper barrel band. Both of the two, small screw-retaining doughnuts on the barrel band tension screws are present as well, small parts that are usually missing when these guns are encountered. 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. The primary part that is missing is the saber bayonet lug that should be on the barrel. It is not uncommon for these lugs to be sheared off of Confederate purchased short rifles and artillery carbines. Remnants of the base of the saber lug remain in place on the barrel, but the stud itself is long gone. The missing lug suggests that it may well have been intentionally sheared off, potentially by one of Stuart’s cavalrymen, who would have had little need for the lug or a saber bayonet. The carbine retains its original, correct pattern, artillery carbine ramrod as well. 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. COOK. John Thomas Cook initially opened his business in London in 1839, as a gun barrel manufacturer serving the London gun trade. The firm moved to Birmingham in 1855 and operated there through 1875, working as a “Gun, Rifle & Pistol Maker” producing finished arms as well as component gun parts. Initially they were located at 88 Shadwell Street & 80 New Street through 1861, when the firm gave up their 80 New Street premises, remaining at their Shadwell Street location and adding a location at Bridge Street West through 1872. From 1872 through the end of their time in business they were located at 200 Bridge Street. The Cook name has been encountered on a number of Confederate marked and imported Enfield pattern arms, including an inventory numbered P1853 Artillery Carbine. The top edge of the lock is marked with the Arabic number 2 as a mating mark, and a pair of file slashes | | are found throughout the balance of the gun as matching marks. The Roman numeral style “II” mark is found on the bottom of the barrel, in the barrel channel, and on the necks of both the lock screws and the tang screw. 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, DEAKIN, and the bottom of the barrel is also marked J COOK. Additional marks on the bottom of the barrel are WD and the letters IC. The interior of the stock is marked COOK & SON in the barrel channel and the top of the ramrod spoon is marked T&CG, for the Birmingham based firm of Thomas & Charles Gilbert who produced “small work”, as well as ramrods and gun tools in Birmingham during the period. The obverse of the buttstock is stamped in a three-line cartouche: BIRMINGHAM / SMALL ARMS / TRADE, with the upper and lower words in an arc. Cook was a shareholder and member in the BSAT. The obverse stock is also stamped No 6, the meaning of which is not known. Another small, partly obliterated, Sinclair, Hamilton & Company inspection mark is present along the toe line of the stock, behind the triggerguard tang, as well as another mark that is dinged and illegible, but appears to have been a BSAT mark.

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 very attractive, smooth brown patina. The lock does show some very lightly scattered pinpricking on its surface. The balance of the iron on the gun, including the barrel and barrel bands have a mostly smooth, thick plum-brown patina, with some scattered peppering, pinpricking and minor patches of surface oxidation and light pitting present, mostly around the breech and bolster area and the muzzle. The bottom of the barrel, where it has been protected by the stock, retains about 50% of its original deep, dark, rust-blued finish. The bore rates about VERY GOOD with visible rifling along its entire length. The rifling remains fairly crisp, and bore is a mottled mixture of bright and oxidized discoloration. The bore shows some scattered light pitting along its length with a few patches of more moderate pitting present as well. There are some impact marks along the side of the barrel, about 4” from the muzzle, possibly the result of the saber bayonet lug being intentionally knocked off the gun. The brass furniture has a medium ocher patina that is very attractive. An impact mark is present on the top of the buttplate tang, resulting in a crease in the brass and an accompanying dent in the wood. The impact that caused this minor damage was obviously quite strong and the romantic in me (combined with the shape of the mark) makes me think this might have been caused by saber strike. The stock is in about VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE overall condition and is complete and full-length. The stock is solid and free of any significant damage, or major repairs and retains strong lines and good edges. There is a small crack grain crack 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. This crack is solid and stable. As would be expected, there are 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. There are also some scrapes and scuffs on the reverse of the buttstock. All of the stock wear appears to be directly related to actual service and use in the field. As noted previously, there is a nice, clear Type I Sinclair, Hamilton & Company mark on the top of the comb, a (CROWN) / SH / C / (ARROW).

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. This is the first example of a Confederate marked artillery carbine that I have encountered with this particular Sinclair, Hamilton & Company mark. Considering the known delivery schedule of these scarce guns, it appears likely that this gun was one of the 220 Artillery Carbines delivered by the Fingal in late 1861. With only thirty-two known examples of Confederate inventory numbered guns known to exist, Confederate marked artillery carbines rarely appear on the market. When they do 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. While this is not a numbered gun, those scarce examples are usually priced in the $7,000 to $10,000 range, unless they are in particularly rough condition. This one is priced much more affordably, but is just as Confederate, with a clear and indisputable Sinclair, Hamilton & Company mark. 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 will no doubt be a treasured piece of that collection for many years to come.


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Tags: Confederate, Marked, P1853, Artillery, Carbine