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Identified Gallager Carbine - 4th TN US Cavalry

Identified Gallager Carbine - 4th TN US Cavalry

  • Product Code: FLA-1336-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

I usually don’t do much with carbines, but when I had the opportunity to obtain one identified to a Tennessee solider I jumped at the chance. Offered here is a nice displaying, complete example of the Gallager breech loading cavalry carbine. The Gallager carbine was produced in both a .50 caliber percussion version and a 56-52 Spencer Rim fire version. The guns were produced by the Philadelphia firm of Richardson & Overman. More than 17,700 of the carbines were produced, with approximately 5,000 of those chambered for the Spencer round. What is intriguing about this particular carbine is that the name S. M. MOWREY is carved into the buttstock on the left hand side, opposite the iron patchbox. While a number of soldiers with first initial S and the last name Mowrey are listed as Civil War soldiers only 5 appear in cavalry units. Of those 2 are listed with middle initials that do not match our gun. Two more are listed with no middle initial in any documents, nor can their pension records be found.

However, Samuel M. Mowrey does appear in the data base searches, including the pension records and is always listed with his middle initial. Apparently that initial was important enough for Samuel to carve onto his gunstock as well. Samuel M. Mowrey served in Company E the 4th (East) Tennessee Cavalry US. The unit was organized in Nashville, TN on February 9, 1863 and spent most of their career in the middle Tennessee area. From August of 1863 through the following July the regiment spent time skirmishing with Confederate cavalry all over the southern middle Tennessee area and as far south as northern Mississippi and Alabama. They participated in the siege of Atlanta during the summer of 1864 and then returned to their middle Tennessee operations. They fought at the Battle of Nashville December 15-16, 1864 and took part in the pursuit of Hood’s troops across the Tennessee River. The regiment was mustered out on July 12, 1865 having lost 1 officer and 24 enlisted to combat and 4 officers and 205 enlisted to disease. Samuel M. Mowrey filed an invalid pension (#581614) on August 2, 1886 and appears to have re-filed it on March 23, 1907. Samuel died on May 1, 1915 in Cleveland, Tennessee, which is located about 30 miles northeast of Chattanooga.

Samuel Mowrey took good care of his carbine while it was in his possession and it remains in about Very Good, although it does not really retain any finish. The case hardened lock, hammer, frame and patchbox have a mottled grey appearance to them, with some strong traces of case color visible on the lock and hammer. The lock is clearly marked in two sections to the rear of the hammer on the back action lock. The first set of markings at the tail of the lockplate reads:


and the second set directly behind the hammer reads:


The lock functions well on both half & full cock positions, and is still quite crisp. The action lever works as it should and the barrel moves smoothly to the loading position and locks up again easily and tightly. The blued barrel retains no finish with a deep, smooth brown patina over the majority of its length, and a slightly more mottled grey-brown appearance towards the muzzle end. There is some scattered light roughness, peppering and pinpricking scattered in small patches around the carbine. The bore rates about Good + and may well clean up even better. The rifling is strong and in very good condition, with a small patch of moderate wear and pitting 1”-2” from the muzzle. The gun retains the original sling bar and ring, as well as the original leaf rear site, that retains about 50% of the original blue finish, mixed with a deep plum-brown patina. The original spare cone (nipple) is present inside the patchbox. The stock retains sharp edges and good lines, with only the normal bumps and dings from use. The wood shows some nice wear at the rear of the sling ring bar from the carbine being carried on a sling from the ring. There are no cartouches present on the stock there do not appear have ever been any there. The stock has a nice dark tone to it and the initials and last name of S. M. Mowrey are nicely carved into the obverse of the stock.

Overall this is an attractive identified example of a popular and successful Civil War breech loading carbine. The Tennessee connection makes it even more interesting to me. I will include a brief history of the 4th TN with the gun, as well as the small amount of information that I have located on Samuel M Mowrey, including a copy of the US government form filed that lists his invalid claim and noting his date and place of death. If you like identified guns and have an interest in the Western Theater, this will be a nice addition to your collection.


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Tags: Identified, Gallager, Carbine, 4th, TN, US, Cavalry