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Georgia Fusil - Extremely Scarce

Georgia Fusil - Extremely Scarce

  • Product Code: FLA-3061-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

In 1861, Major Edward C Anderson was sent to England to act as a Confederate central government purchasing agent of small arms and munitions. As Anderson was a Georgian, Georgia Governor Joseph E Brown relied upon Anderson to work as a purchasing agent for that state as well. During September of 1861 Anderson arranged the purchase of 5,500 “Enfield” pattern small arms through the firm of Sinclair, Hamilton & Company. Of these guns, 4,700 were P-1853 “long” Enfields, and 800 were P-1856 “short” Enfields, which were apparently Sergeant’s Fusils for India Service rifles. Anderson returned to the Confederacy aboard the Confederate Blockade Runner Fingal on October 8, 1861. In addition to Anderson, the Fingal brought the first 1,100 guns of his purchase for the state of Georgia, as well as 1,000 that had been purchased by Louisiana and 7,520 that had been purchased by the Confederate central government. Among these guns that were on Fingal were the Georgia purchased “long” Enfields with the engraved numbers 1-1000. These guns were shipped in crates of 20, complete with socket bayonets for each gun, a bullet mold and two nipple keys (cone wrenches). Based upon an analysis of the Gladiator cargo manifest it is probable that Fingal also carried the Georgia purchased “long” Enfields numbered 1121-1220. The crates that contained these Georgia purchased arms were marked with the initials (for Governor Joseph E Brown) in a rhomboid over the letter G and were numbered. To date less than a dozen of the Fingal delivered “Georgia G” marked guns are known to have survived. The Fingal arrived in Savannah, GA on November 13, 1861, after a brief stop in Bermuda. The next shipment of Georgia purchased arms left England on the Blockade Runner Gladiator on November 6, 1861. The bill of lading for the Gladiator is in the archives of the Museum of the Confederacy, and it lists 900 “long” and 580 “short” Enfields. The long Enfields were numbers 1001-1120 (cases 51-56), 1221-1300 (cases 62-65), 1301-1960 (cases 78-110), 1961-1980 (case 123) and 1981-2000 (case129). The other cases (66-77, 111-122, and 124-128) contained the “short” Enfields, which were in fact P-1856 Sergeant’s Fusils for India Service, with the inventory numbers 1-580. These guns were all marked with the JS / (ANCHOR) inspection mark in the wood behind the triggerguard tang, in the belly of the stock, and have engraved Confederate inventory numbers on the tang of their brass buttplates. The guns are additionally marked with a 5/8” tall capital letter G on the obverse buttstock. The Gladiator arrived in Nassau, Bahamas on December 9, 1861. There she was unloaded and her cargo was transshipped to the Confederacy via the smaller, faster Blockade Runners Cecile, Kate and Florida. The Kate delivered her cargo to Smyrna in early February of 1862, Florida made her delivery to the same destination in mid March, and Cecile delivered her cargo into Charleston in mid-February 1862. To date, less than two-dozen of the 900 Georgia marked “Gladiator Long Enfields” are known to have survived. The balance of the Georgia purchased arms were shipped aboard the Blockade Runners Bermuda (1,000 arms) and Economist (the final 1,920 arms). Economist made its delivery into Charleston Harbor in mid March 1862.

Based upon examination of the limited number of Georgia “G” marked P-1853 Enfield rifle muskets known to exist, it has been determined that the guns numbered 1-2000 and 3700-4700 were guns marked in the above manner. However, it appears that approximately 1700 guns (likely the guns numbered between 2000-3700) were delivered by the London gunmaker Barnett, and these guns have their numbers stamped on the toe of the buttplate, rather than being engraved on the buttplate tang. These guns also bear a G mark on the obverse buttstock (but of a slightly larger size), and are marked with the CH / 1 inspection stamp in the wood, in front of the buttplate tang, instead of a JS/(ANCHOR). To date only 65 “G” marked P-1853 Enfields of all types are known to have survived, with less than 45 of the engraved number guns being known and less than two-dozen of the Barnett guns with stamped numbers being known. The Georgia marked “Fusils’ are much scarcer than the “long” Enfields, with only 15 of the original 800 currently known to exist. These observations are based upon some 25 years of surveying extant examples by several noted arms historians, who have maintaining a very extensive and detailed database of Confederate imported Enfields with engraved numbers.

The Pattern 1856 Sergeant’s Fusils for India Service rifles were unique among the short rifles manufactured for use by the British military, in that they accepted a socket bayonet instead of a saber bayonet. In fact, Anderson refers to these rifles in his January 9, 1862 letter to Governor Brown by saying “...a portion of the present invoice consists of the short Enfield with the shank bayonet. There will be 800 of these when they all come.”. The invoice in question refers to arms shipped via Gladiator and the term “shank bayonet” refers to socket bayonets. The only reference to these arms in British service is found in Dr. C.H. Roads outstanding book The British Soldier’s Firearm From Smoothbore to Smallbore. Roads notes that 10,000 of the Sergeant’s Fusil, Rifled, Pattern 1856 were ordered from Birmingham contractors in late July of 1857 and by March of the following year 8,198 had been delivered to India for the use of sergeants of the Native Regiments. The gun was to weigh 9 pounds 8 ounces with bayonet, and 8 pounds, 10 “ ounces without and have an overall length of 5” 6 ““ with the bayonet attached, resulting in a length of about 4” ““ without it. In most ways the Sergeant’s Fusil conformed to the P-1856 Infantry Rifle in general British service. It had a 33” long barrel, rifled with 3 grooves and a 1,100-yard rear sight. The sling swivels were mounted on the upper barrel band and in the toe of the stock behind the triggerguard. The major differences were that the Fusils were brass mounted rather than iron mounted and accepted a socket bayonet instead of a saber bayonet. Roads implies that these arms never saw service with any British government forces, but were strictly for issue to British colonial Native Troops. Additionally, he notes no other contracts for their production. This begs the question as to why the state of Georgia elected to purchase a non-standard pattern of military long arm from the British. The answer may be as simple as the socket bayonets were lighter, easier to carry and cheaper to procure than saber bayonets. What is striking about the handful of known examples of Georgia purchased Sergeant’s Fusils is they are generally not manufactured to the same standards of quality of the other Enfield pattern arms acquired by the Confederacy. The barrels of the guns are invariably slightly longer or significantly shorter than the stated 33” length, and I am not aware of any example with a barrel that measures exactly 33”. In fact, most are between ““ and 1 ““ short of the required 33”. Additionally the quality of assembly is lower, with poorer wood to metal fit and a generally lower quality of fit and finish than that found on other Confederate contract arms. Parker, Field & Son of London, delivered the first 200 of the Georgia contract Fusils and the next 40 were delivered by James Kerr, also of London. This is clearly indicated on the Gladiator manifest. The manifest also lists Fusils #241-480, and #481-580, but is too damaged to determine which vendor was the provider. The few extant examples in these inventory number ranges suggest a number of different furnishers, including some Birmingham made guns as well as guns from Bond and Kerr. It appears that the final 200 Fusils were delivered on board the Economist and based upon extant examples it appears that these were all provided by James Kerr. It is interesting to note that James Kerr, who was the manufacturing manager of the London Armoury Company, had no resources to produce the guns himself, and must have acquired them on the open market. The majority of the Sergeant’s Fusils that Kerr delivered to the state of Georgia have locks marked CARR / LONDON. This indicates George Carr manufactured the guns. Carr was a leather merchant located at 9 Chamber Street, Goodman’s Fields in London, who apparently entered the arms business with the outbreak of the war. His relationship with James Kerr is unknown, but is probably an interesting one that would be worth investigating. Carr may have been more of a retailer of arms than an actual manufacturer, as I can find no reference to him as a “gunmaker”. The arms that can be attributed to him, especially those with Confederate provenance, tend to be lower than standard quality, both is P-1853 “Long” Enfields, and his P-1856 Sergeant’s Fusils. No sources indicates that Carr remained in business past 1864 or 1865, so he may have been a financial victim of the war, like Horace Chavasse and other English entrepreneurs who tried to make quick money by selling arms and equipment to the Confederacy. Of the 15 Georgia purchased Sergeant’s Fusils known to exist, 8 have Carr / London locks, and one additional gun should have one, as the lock is an incorrect replacement. Interestingly, almost half of the surviving examples are from the final shipment of 200 guns, with 7 known, while only 8 of the first 580 guns are known to exist. With only one significant exception, all known examples show relatively hard use and indications that they saw extensive service during the war. This may explain why only 15 of the 800 guns survive today, a survival rate of about 3%.

This Economist transported Georgia “G” P-1856 Sergeant’s Fusil For India Service is number 711, and was delivered into Charleston Harbor on March 14, 1862. The Economist was owned by Confederate financiers and importers Fraser, Trenholm & Company, and its extensive cargo included some “40,000 Enfield rifles”. The gun is clearly marked on the lock in two lines, forward of the hammer: CARR / LONDON and with no “crown” to the rear of the hammer. The interior of the lock marked with the initials GS at the mainspring boss and with the name T CARSON over the mainspring. There is also the assembly mark 5 in the lock, and the mating marks \ \ \ / are present on the top edge. The breech of the barrel is marked with the usual London commercial Provisional Proof, View, and Definitive Proof marks, as well as with a 25 gauge mark for .577 caliber. The bottom of the barrel is marked by the barrel maker J.F.M., and is additionally marked GC for George Carr. The bottom of the barrel bears the mating mark \ \ \ /, matching the mark found on the top edge of the lock and in the ramrod channel. The mating mark appears to be over-stamped with another mating mark \ /, suggesting the Roman numeral “5”, which would also mate with the “5” in the lock. The ramrod channel is also marked M.A. HONNOR and R LANE. It appears that Lane was probably the stock maker, although I cannot find an reference to him in any resource. Honnor is more interesting, in that no “Honnor” worked in the gun industry during the Civil War in England that I can find, however, Joseph Honnor was a London gunmaker working in Whitechapel, Swallow Gardens from 1818-1824, and this Honnor may have been his son or grandson working as a gunmaker as well, possibly for George Carr. The gun has a crisp and clear 5/8” tall Georgia G on the obverse buttstock, and a clearly legible JS / (ANCHOR) inspection mark present in the belly of the stock, behind the triggerguard. The inventory number 711 is engraved on the brass buttplate tang, and the matching number 711 is present on the ramrod as well. No furnisher’s mark is present in the wood of the comb, forward of the buttplate tang, but the area shows wear and the mark may have been obliterated over time.

The gun is in about VERY GOOD condition overall. The metal of the gun was cleaned at some point in time and has a medium pewter patina. The metal is relatively smooth forward of the rear sight, while the breech area shows some minor roughness and scattered light flash pitting. The barrel has some scattered patches of minor surface oxidation, as well as some light scattered peppering and pinpricking along its length. There are also some very old vice marks along the rear portion of the barrel, suggesting the breech plug may have been muscled out of the barrel at some point in time. The barrel measures about 31 ““ in length, typically short for a Georgia Fusil, and has not been shortened. A bayonet still fits it correctly, and the stud to muzzle distance is correct as well, indicating the barrel is as it was produced. This may suggest that Carr used damaged or surplus barrels to make his rifles. The lock has a medium oxidized brown patina, with scattered patches of light surface surface as well as some scattered peppering and pinpricking. The lock functions crisply and is mechanically excellent, working perfectly on all positions. The bore of the gun rates about GOOD. The bore is somewhat dark, but shows reasonably strong rifling and only light to moderate scattered pitting along its length. The rifling in the last 1”-2” of the bore nearest the muzzle is very weak, due to the gun being loaded hundreds (if not thousands) of times. The gun retains the original long-range rear sight, which appears to have been reattached to the barrel at some point in time. The sight is the correct pattern 1,100-yard sight and matches the condition and patina of the gun perfectly. However, the sight is not on soldered squarely, giving a skewed sight picture. There is no indication that the sight was reattached in recent times, so it is possible that this skewed sight is just poor workmanship from the original assembly of the gun, but it seems unlikely. The both barrel bands retain their original screw keepers at the ends, small items that are almost always missing. The gun retains both of its original sling swivels as well, which is quite uncommon on Confederate arms found today. The original ramrod, which was numbered to the gun, is present as well. This is something that very rarely happens. The rod is full length retains threads at the end, although they are somewhat worn, like the rifle. The small mounting stud for the snap cap (nipple protector) is broken and missing, and the hole forward of the triggerguard is filled with a smooth iron blank of some sort. The brass furniture is very attractive and has a lovely, deep golden mustard patina. The stock of the gun rates about NEAR VERY GOOD as well. The stock is well worn and shows rounding to the sharp edges, suggesting that it was probably sanded at some point in time. Thankfully, the stock markings all remain crisp and legible without any significant smearing or blurring. The stock is solid and full-length, with one notable repair. A piece of wood has been reattached between the hammer and the breech plug, above and to the rear of the lock. The stock cracked and broke here, and the piece of wood was apparently replaced and secured with a nail. The repair is hardly professional and this suggests the repair is very old and possibly from the era of the war, or right after it. Thankfully, due to the location behind the hammer, it does not significantly detract from the display of the rifle. As is typical of Georgia Fusils, and Carr marked ones in particular, the wood to metal fit is substandard. The repair around the upper rear of the lock probably exaggerates the amount of gapping in the lock to stock fit. The stock does show a significant number of handling marks, bumps, dings, rubs and small gouges, all of which were likely received while the gun was in Confederate service. This is all real world wear and tear that only adds to the untouched appearance of this Confederate used Enfield. The stock wear is absolutely commensurate with the overall condition of the gun and indications that it was fired hundreds, if not thousands of times. The stock also shows some lightly carved initials on both the flat opposite the lock and on the reverse of the butt. None of these provide any sort of definitive identification that I can discern, but closer examination may reveal a company letter or regimental number that would allow a concrete identification.

Overall, this is a really very nice example of an extremely scarce Georgia “G” marked P-1856 Sergeant’s Fusil for India Service, which we are fairly confident was shipped from England on board the Economist. These early Georgia marked guns were some of the first Enfields to arrive in the south, and their early delivery insured that they saw heavy service during the course of the war. High quality, original and untouched Confederate Enfields are difficult to find for sale, but state marked guns are particularly difficult to locate. This is a well-marked Georgia gun that is 100% original and correct, that even retains its original numbered ramrod. Georgia Fusils almost never appear on the market for sale, and this one would certainly make a fantastic centerpiece to any advanced collection of Confederate long arms, especially a collection that emphasizes Confederate imports. It has been several years since I have seen one of these guns offered for sale publically, and it may be the last one to be so offered for a very long period of time.

Note: This Confederate rifle is unique in the fact that four examples are known (including this one) that were in the same shipping crate when they arrived in the south. The crate contained Fusils numbered from 701-720, and #702, #703, and #720 are known to exist, in addition to #711. The other 3 rifles all have "CARR / LONDON" locks. When the consignor acquired this gun it had an "1861 / TOWER" lock in it. Based upon collected evidence, and known examples he chose to replace it with what is almost certainly the more correct "CARR" lock. The fact that the lock has mating marks matching it to the balance of the rifle may be a coincidence, as the mating marks were reused as different lots of arms were assembled, or may indicate that the original lock was located. In either case, the lock matches the patina of the gun and the mating marks match. Both the consignor and I agree that the Carr marked lock is appropriate, based upon the the other three known guns that were in the same case of rifles. Provenance: Ex R.A. Pritchard Jr. collection, Author of The English Connection.


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Tags: Georgia, Fusil, Extremely, Scarce