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North Carolina Marked US Model 1822 Flintlock Musket by Pomeroy

North Carolina Marked US Model 1822 Flintlock Musket by Pomeroy

  • Product Code: FLA-3648
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $4,995.00


In 1812, the US military began the process of improving and upgrading the design of the “Charleville Pattern” muskets then in use by the army, which were being produced at Springfield, Harpers Ferry and by various contractors. The project would take some three years, would involve the production of a number of model and sample guns, and would involve ideas gleaned from Eli Whitney’s state contract arms from the first decade of the 1800s. Additionally, innovations from all levels of the US government, from the director of procurements (predecessor to the chief of the ordnance department) to input from arms inspectors and workmen at the national armories were taken into consideration as the new model of arm was developed. 

 

The resulting Standard Model of 1815 would be the first truly “American” designed military musket to be put into widespread production. As the name of the pattern implied, one of the primary motivations in the adoption of the new design was to standardize production. Up until this point, the arms of “Charleville Pattern” (US Model 1795 muskets) manufactured at Springfield and Harpers Ferry were different enough that for a very long time, collectors thought they were actually two different patterns of musket! No level of standardization existed in the arms delivered by contractors either, as in the era of non-interchangeable parts, the contract arms were produced by copying a pattern arm supplied by one of the armories, and thus the contractors working from a Harpers Ferry pattern musket produced a gun different from those working from a Springfield pattern. The goal of the Standard Model of 1815 was to rectify this, improve upon known deficiencies in the “Charleville Pattern” arms, and to take the first baby steps towards interchangeability of parts. 

 

The pattern went into production in 1815 and like most US arms of the era, immediately went through a number of small changes (noted as Type I-Type IV by collectors), over the next three years, with the “Standard Model” being produced from 1815 through 1818. These are the muskets that have long been misidentified as the Model of 1812, based primarily upon the fact that the design process that resulted in these muskets had started in that year. The evolution of the Standard Model of 1815 soon resulted in the identification of areas of design that should be addressed and improved. Most notably the stock design, which had been radically altered from the “Charleville Pattern” by making it more robust and adopting a lower comb and thicker wrist, was further altered by lowering the comb even more and extending the rail of the butt. A multi-year debate about band spring placement and type was finally resolved, and a new, rounded lock plate was adopted. Even though the new stock profile would begin to appear on muskets produced in 1816, the newly adopted US Model 1816 would not really go into full production with all newly made parts, not using older pattern parts on hand, until January of 1818. At that time, it was noted that the guns being produced at Springfield were “All of the new model.”

 

The US Model 1816 Musket would remain in production through about 1840 at the Springfield Arsenal and 1844 at Harpers Ferry and more than 800,000 of the muskets would be produced during that period between the two national armories and the various contractors who provided the arms as well. Over the years, collectors have divided the Model 1816 into three types, Type I, II and III. More recent scholarship has indicated that the more appropriate terminology is probably Model 1816 (Type I), Model 1822 (Type II) and Model 1822/28 (Type III). However, the primary changes between the three variants are extremely minor and focus on a change in the attachment of the rear sling swivel (Type I on a stud, Type II on the triggerguard bow), a change in finish (Type IIs “National Armory Brown”, while most Type Is and Type IIIs are “National Armory Bright”) and a push to make the dimensions of the musket consistent enough that major components (locks, stocks and barrels) would be able to interchange. It is interesting that the push towards a greater level of interchangeability was a driving force behind the adoption of the Model 1822/28 (1816 Type III), as this very lack of standardization and inconsistency in parts production had been the  primary motivation in the design of the Standard Model of 1815 more than a decade earlier. 

 

While some authors suggest the technology of the period placed inherent limitations on the potential to manufacture arms with interchangeable parts, the process had been applied successfully to firearms by the beginning of the 1820s by John Hall, Simeon North, and to some extent Eli Whitney. In the case of the National Armories, I think it was the slowness of the bureaucracy that kept the armories from improving machinery and production techniques that prevented them from achieving this goal. In fact, John Hall would establish the rifle works at Harpers Ferry and produce fully interchangeable Hall Rifles there some two decades before Harpers Ferry would be able manufacture its first muskets with interchangeable parts, the US Model 1842. 

 

During the early part of US M1816 production it was determined that the guns were to be serial numbered, a process that had never been in place at Springfield before, but had previously been at Harpers Ferry during the much of the production of the “Charleville Pattern” musket, as well as for pistols and rifles. The system was adopted in 1820 and abandoned in 1832 and used an alphanumeric marking to serialize the guns in lots of 2,500. The system had the ability to number some 60,000 arms before repeating itself. It utilized a capital letter to indicate the series, for example “A”. The guns in the “A” series would then be numbered from “0” to “99” for a total of 100 “A” guns. An additional lowercase letter would be added next, so the next series of 100 guns would be marked A/a 0-99. This would be repeated with A/b, A/c, etc. until the lowercase letter options were exhausted, with the exception of the letters “j” or “v”, which were not used. With a single uppercase letter without a secondary lowercase letter and then 24 additional lower-case letter options for each 0-99 guns, this allowed a single uppercase letter to be used for 2,500 total muskets. When all of the “A” combinations were exhausted, the uppercase letter advanced to “B” until all 2,500 combinations had been used for that letter, then advanced to “C”, and so on. It is important to note that these serial numbers were not applied as soon as the arms were completed, but rather after some period of time in storage, usually prior to being shipped to another arsenal or being issued. In fact, once the period of National Armory Brown finish was entered, it was standard practice for the arms to remain in racks for some five years and allowed to cure with air circulating around them prior to being packed into cases. The cases were organized by date of manufacture, with the oldest guns on hand always being slated to be issued prior to newer arms.

 

No matter the variation of US Model 1816 Musket, the common features were that it was a single shot, muzzle loading smoothbore flintlock musket that was nominally .69 caliber. It had a 42” round barrel, that was secured to the American black walnut stock by three flat, spring retained barrel bands and a single screw through the breech plug tang. With the exception of the National Armory Brown period, the metal parts of the musket were left “in the white” and polished bright. The locks were case hardened and were typically polished to bright, but examination of high condition early production M1816s as well as guns from the National Armory Brown period indicate that the locks were sometimes left with their original mottled colors from the casehardening process visible. 

 

When the US Ordnance Department officially adopted the percussion ignition system for all long arms with Model 1841 rifle and Model 1842 musket, a process of analyzing and evaluating the now obsolete flintlock muskets in store was undertaken during the years of 1842 through 1845. Those guns manufactured after 1831 that were in good repair were considered 1st Class and were to be retained in storage and only issued upon special orders. Eventually almost all of these guns would be altered to percussion. Those muskets manufactured between 1822 and 1831 that were in good repair were classified as 2nd Class and would be issued as needed in their current flintlock state, marked with inspectors’ initials and a “2”, and most would eventually be altered to percussion after the newer muskets rated as 1st Class had been so altered. Those muskets manufactured between 1812 and 1820 were considered 3rd Class arms and were not considered suitable for use as flintlocks and were not considered satisfactory to be altered to percussion. However, these muskets were to be retained in storage should some exigency require that they be altered and issued. These guns were marked with inspector initials and a “3”. Finally, those muskets produced prior to 1812 were considered unserviceable and were to be culled from inventory and sold as surplus. 

 

As a result of the active percussion alteration program that took place during the first half of the 1850s at the various US arsenals, as well as those alterations performed by contractors, original flintlock US Model 1816 muskets are rather scarce. When encountered they are typically early guns (usually “Type I” muskets) but are still often marked with the classification cartouche and “3”. While it was generally assumed that the US military went to war with Mexico in 1846 carrying the newly adopted US M1842 percussion musket, more recent scholarship has revealed that the Ordnance Department was concerned that insufficient quantities of the new musket were available for issue to all troops, and as such a combination of flint and percussion muskets would have to be used. This would create an ammunition supply issue, as the paper cartridge for the M1816 contained extra gun powder for priming the pan, powder that was not required for the percussion M1842. The Ordnance Department was concerned that with a mix of guns and ammunition in the field, the flintlock cartridges might be issued to men with percussion muskets, resulting in overcharged (and potentially hazardous) loads. More concerning, if the percussion cartridges were issued to men with flintlocks there would not be a sufficient powder charge for the load once the pan was primed. As a result, it was decided that only the flintlock muskets would be issued to the troops embarking for Mexico. This made the US Model 1816 musket the mainstay infantry arm for the US forces during that war.

 

Offered here is very attractive and crisp example of a scarce North Carolina marked US Model 1822 (1816 Type II) Musket, in its original flintlock configuration. The gun was produced on contract by Lemuel Pomeroy of Pittsfield, MA. State marked muskets in their original flintlock configuration are not common. When they are encountered, they tend to be earlier production guns and usually marked to north eastern states. Arms from the first quarter of the 19th century can be found with some regularity marked to the states of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. Much less often encountered are those arms marked to southern states like North and South Carolina. When these guns are found the are almost inevitably altered to percussion for use during the American Civil War. To find a southern state marked flintlock musket or pistol in its original configuration is uncommon, to say the least. While extant examples suggest the marking of small arms in North Carolina was not done universally, or maybe even regularly, enough examples exist to determine that it was done. The arms were marked on the top of the barrel, near the breech with a gang die that read from muzzle to breech: N. CAROLINA. The mark was approximately 1” long and is made up of letters about 1/16” tall, with serifs that appear quite similar to the modern font “Times New Roman”. It is believed that that arms that bear this mark had it applied at the state arsenal in Raleigh, not at the Federal Arsenal in Fayetteville. Period documents indicate that some 10,363 flintlock muskets were delivered to the state of North Carolina under the Militia Act of 1808 between the years of 1812 and 1861. Of those, it is believed that 3,102 were earlier Model 1808 contract muskets, 120 were “Springfield Carbines with Bayonets” (shortened muskets or possibly altered Indian Carbines for Cadet use), 120 were “Short Muskets” from Harpers Ferry and the balance appear to be US Model 1816 and Model 1822 muskets. Of these 7,261 M1816/22 Muskets, 3,200 were delivered from the Watervliet Arsenal in 1831 and another 1688 were delivered from the same arsenal in 1837. An additional 2,373 M1816/22 Muskets were delivered to North Carolina in 1839 (1,220), 1842 (860) and 1849 (293), but the arsenal that delivered them is not listed. As Lemuel Pomeroy delivered his contract arms to Watervliet Arsenal, it would be reasonable to assume that many of the M1816/22s issued to North Carolina were produced by contractors. The state of North Carolina also received  2,660 US Model 1836 pistols under the Militia Act of 1808 between 1837 and 1844. 

 

The majority of the small arms issued to the state would see service with state militia units during the period of Cherokee disturbances and their eventual removal (1836-1839) and then with the 1st North Carolina Volunteer Infantry during the Mexican American War (1846-1848). After the Mexican War, the majority of the arms would have been retained in the state arsenal in Raleigh. With the coming of the American Civil War, the large majority of the state’s inventory of flintlock arms (muskets, rifles and pistols) were altered to percussion, primarily at the former Federal Arsenal in Fayetteville, NC, as well as by private North Carolina contractors like M.A. Baker. However, due to the pressing need for muskets to arm newly organized North Carolina infantry regiments at the outset of the Civil War, many were issued for service in their original flintlock configuration. 

 

Between September 5, and October 1, 1861, the North Carolina State Arsenal in Raleigh issued 1,308 flintlock muskets to arm some of these new regiments, nearly half of which were issued to the 37th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. The 37th North Carolina was organized near High Point, NC and initially fought in the defense of New Bern. After that defeat, the regiment was sent to the Richmond area where it served in Branch’s Brigade of A.P. Hill’s Division in Stonewall Jackson’s Corps. The regiment fought through the Seven Days around Richmond and later that summer fought at Cedar Mountain and Second Manassas. That fall, the 37th fought at Antietam and Fredericksburg. In 1863 the regiment saw combat at Chancellorsville, still under the command of Hill and Jackson. After Jackson’s death the 37th continued to fight with the Army of Northern Virginia  as part of Lane’s Brigade of AP Hill’s Division, eventually serving in Dorsey Pender’s and later Cadmus Wilcox’s Division. At Gettysburg the regiment suffered 30% casualties. In 1864, the 37th saw action during the Overland Campaign at The Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor  (North Anna) and during the Petersburg Campaign. The regiment remained in Petersburg through the breakthrough in April of 1865 and the remnants of the regiment surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse with the balance of the Army of Northern Virginia. While the 37th only carried their flintlock M1816/22 muskets for a few months before they were replaced by percussion altered flintlock muskets, their story is typical of many of the early war Confederate regiments that went to war in 1861. As one officer in the 37th North Carolina wrote home: “We have Rec’d flint Lock Muskets but Lee (Colonel Charles C. Lee of the 37thsays he will not Leed (sic) his Men in to battle without Number One arms.” The replacement of the 37th North Carolina’s muskets with percussion altered ones is also a perfect example of why North Carolina marked US M1816/22 Muskets in their original flintlock configuration are extremely scarce and rarely appear on the market for sale.

 

The North Carolina Marked Pomeroy Contract US Model 1822 (1816 Type II) Flintlock Musket offered here is in about NEAR FINE condition and was manufactured as part of Pomeroy’s May of 1823 contract to deliver 10,000 guns over a five-year period from 1824-1828. The musket is dated 1826 and is one of the 1,940 muskets delivered and accepted by Ordnance Sub-Inspector Justin Murphy that year. The lock of the musket is clearly marked under the brass pan with a {Spread-Winged Eagle} over L. POMEROY. The lock is marked vertically in two lines behind the cock 1826 / US and the breech plug tang has the same date, 1826. The left upper quadrant of the breech is marked with the view and inspection marks of Justin Murphy and reads US over JM over a raised in a depressed starburst for “proved.” This use of a raised P proof in a depressed starburst would typify the inspection marks on Pomeroy contract muskets through their production of US M1835/40 flintlocks. The left breech quadrant is also stamped with the correct N. CAROLINA state ownership stamp, forward of the proof and inspection marks. The buttplate tang has a weak US mark, running perpendicular to the barrel.  The counterpane of the stock, opposite the lock is stamped with Justin Murphy’s script JMcartouche that is a little weak in the center, due to wear. Interestingly, the musket does not show a reinspection cartouche and category rating number from the period of 1842-1845, where it should have received a “2nd Class” rating. This suggests the gun was not in arsenal storage when the inspectors went through the arms in North Carolina and was likely in service with the state militia in the field at that time.

 

As noted, the musket is in about NEAR FINE condition and remains in its original flintlock configuration. The gun retains none of the period National Armory Brown finish, which was likely significantly worn by some 35+ year of service and subsequently cleaned off during a regular cleaning and refurbishment of arms. There are some lightly scattered patches of minor surface oxidation on the barrel as well as some light pitting and erosion around the breech area and touchhole. The lock is polished to bright with all markings crisp and clear. The lock has the same matching mating mark of a single vertical chisel slash |, resembling a Roman numeral “1” on all of the parts both internal and external, with the exception of the two lock mounting screws which are original replacements and the top jaw and top jaw screw, which all appear to be original but may be period replaced as well. This mark is found on all of the screw heads, the brass pan, the small internal parts, etc. The internal lock parts even retain some of their original fire blued finish. The lock is mechanically excellent and functions perfectly on all positions. The springs all remain stiff and tight and the hammer and frizzen both function crisply. The brass pan shows some moderate oxidation and discoloration, primarily in its recesses. The touchhole is original and appears unmolested, though it does show some minor erosion and moderate wear around its exterior. The hole is well centered in the pan and retains the correct tapered entrance to the chamber of the barrel. The bore of the musket is in about GOOD+ condition. It is moderately oxidized and mostly dark along its length, although is remains relatively smooth along most of its length. There is some scattered pitting and surface roughness along its length, with a few small areas of more moderate pitting here and there. A good scrubbing would probably improve the condition of the bore. The musket retains both of its original sling swivels, as well as its original button head ramrod, which has a period modification at the threaded end which has been tapered and pointed, converting it to a ball screw. This has reduced the length of the rod by about ½”.  The stock of the musket remains in NEAR FINE condition as well and matches the condition of the metal very well. The stock is solid and full-length with no breaks or repairs noted. The stock is very crisp throughout with sharp lines and crisp edges. The stock does show some scattered bumps, dings and mars from handling, use and storage, but shows no signs of abuse. There is some minor splintered loss from the sharp edges of the ramrod channel, but this is quite common on any military musket that saw real service and use.

 

Overall, this is a really wonderful example of an all original and correct North Carolina Marked US Model 1822 (M1816 Type II) Musket. The gun remains in its original flintlock configuration and is very crisp throughout. It retains excellent markings in the metal and a legible cartouche on the stock. Fine condition original flint M1822 marked to North Carolina like are rarely found for sale and are highly prized when they are found. This will be a great addition to any serious collection of US martial arms, or an early Civil War collection centered on the state of North Carolina. This is a gun that you will be very proud to display in your collection.


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Tags: North, Carolina, Marked, US, Model, 1822, Flintlock, Musket, by, Pomeroy