Recent Find Tell me more! 1841 Mississippi - Leman Modification

limberbox

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Apr 25, 2020
@Craig L Barry ....we need your help on this, please. You co-wrote an article about the M1841:

https://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?33634-M1841-Monograph

In that article, you stated:

In 1864 as more and more regiments turned in their still serviceable US 1841 rifles for the Union Army’s standard versions of the US .58 rifle-musket, increasing numbers of them went into storage at either the various Arsenals or storage depots. Already by February 1864, their number had risen from 5,900 in December to 8,700. By February of 1864, 650 were stored at the New York Arsenal, 1,582 at the St. Louis Arsenal, 1,740 at Vancouver, and 2,186 at Washington Arsenal. By June of 1864, only about a dozen units were reporting US 1841s in their possession. In addition, with the Civil War’s end in April of 1865 in the eastern theater, it was reported that Union troops took home officially at least, 146 Whitneyville, 11 Windsor, and 15 Harpers Ferry produced US 1841s for use as hunting rifles or perhaps souvenirs.

Yet no 1841s show up in the Ordnance records noted in posts #8 and #9....I am a bit confused, can you please explain?

Also Craig, do you have information on any Pennsylvania regiments that used the M1841s? Any references you can point to for me to scour through?
Fascinating article. Thanks for sharing.
 

limberbox

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Apr 25, 2020
Very helpful indeed! I did look at these entries and go "hmmmmmm" but since it said M1840, I just figured they were smoothbores that were altered for rifling. The Leman alterations were for socket bayonets, as were some of the other 1841s that were altered by states like NY (some of them, using the Grosz alteration), NJ, Maine and Massachusetts. Apparently no entries for 1840s with socket bayonets? (I haven't checked for that ... probably should, but a word search capability would make that far easier....sigh...)
That is also the same nomenclature used in the Ordnance Bureau's 1863 "Instructions for Making Quarterly Returns of Ordnance and Ordnance Stores as Prescribed by the General Regulations of the Army." It has four entries and a footnote for these weapons:

Rifles, U.S., sword bayonet, model 1840, '55
Rifles, U.S., triangular bayonet, model 1840, '55
Rifles, U.S., sword bayonet, model 1840
Rifles, U.S., model 1840, without bayonet

The footnote, applicable to all four, states: "These four include what are known as 'Harper's Ferry,' 'Mississippi Jagers,' 'Remington,' 'Windsor' and 'Justice' rifles."
 

limberbox

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Apr 25, 2020
Whoops, I left out the calibers. Here is the full quoted material from the 1863 Instructions:

Rifles, U.S., sword bayonet, model 1840, '55.....................................Calibre .58
Rifles, U.S., triangular bayonet, model 1840, '55......................................do. .58
Rifles, U.S., sword bayonet, model 1840..................................................do. .54
Rifles, U.S., model 1840, without bayonet................................................do. .54

The footnote, applicable to all four, states: "These four include what are known as 'Harper's Ferry,' 'Mississippi Jagers,' 'Remington,' 'Windsor' and 'Justice' rifles."
 

BillWright

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Joined
Jul 15, 2021
The book you might want is "American Military Shoulder Arms vol.3" by George D. Moller. It has all Flintlock and Percussion alterations of shoulder arms 1840-1865. Regarding the Leman alteration, there is only about one page. The bayonet, 1012 pieces of 1841/42 angular. As the lug was now .11" high , the bridge and locking ring's height was increased to clear the .135" high stud on the altered rifle. The bayonet lug was rectangular .23" x .24" brazed under the barrel. New front sight. Barrel was reduced to .853" tapered to .64" at muzzle. Rear sight was not changed.
Hi folks.

I just bought an M-1841 Mississippi (due to arrive any day now). My “Missy” (she's a bit of a rough-looking girl) was made at Harper’s Ferry in 1853.

View attachment 376170
View attachment 376171

In 1861, it had been re-bored to .58 cal, and also had the Leman modification to accept a socket bayonet. These modifications were made to 2,352 of the M-1841s that had been issued to Pennsylvania. Thie picture below shows the Leman modification:

View attachment 376172

I’ve been trying to learn more about this particular modification, and the Pennsylvania regiments that might have received these as their service weapons. Based on what I’ve found on the Internet so far, M-1841s were in use by Union troops in the first 1.5 years of the war, and later phased out. The Confederacy used their M-1841s right to the end of the war. Wikipedia stated the following:

At the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861, US Regular Army regiments had Model 1855 Springfield rifles and some companies also had Model 1841 "Mississippi" rifles, however most soldiers in both armies had smoothbore muskets, primarily the Model 1842 musket or percussion-converted Model 1816/1822 musket (as well as some muskets still using the original flintlock mechanism).

I am looking for any information on these Pennsylvania M-1841s and regiments that used them, but here are a few focused questions to get things started:

  • If the M-1855s were preferentially given to the US Regular Army troops early in the war, it would presumably be safe to assume that the Leman-modified M-1841s were issued only to Pennsylvania regiments?
  • The M-1841, being still a relatively modern design, compared to the many smoothbores still in inventory, would have been considered the best quality musket available to the Pennsylvania regiments early in the war?
  • Which Pennsylvania regiments were known to have been issued the M-1841s (e.g. based on ordnance records when they were being swapped out for 1861/63 Springfields, or based on other official correspondence or soldier’s letters home, etc.)?
  • The socket bayonet used was a modified 1842 bayonet. Does anyone know what the specific modification was?
Any other information is welcome!

For anyone learning more about the 1841 “Missy”, the following websites provide a lot of useful information and pictures of the 1841 Mississippi and its various modifications for various States and the Federal government:

https://americansocietyofarmscollec...8-B97-Beautiful-Rifles-With-Pointy-Things.pdf

https://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?33634-M1841-Monograph

If anyone knows of another website or a comprehensive book on the M-1841s, please share. Thanks!
I have a 1841 Mississippi rifle as you described, lock dated harpers ferry 1853 the 3 in the 1853 is deep set and it has been altered to 58 caliber with a socket bayonet affixed with a lug beneath the barrel, the date on the tang is 1848. My rifle has been in my family a very long time and is is near museum quality. I believe the lock plate might have been a replacement when alterations were made. The deep set 3 is identical to an1853 Springfield cadet musket.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
I have a 1841 Mississippi rifle as you described, lock dated harpers ferry 1853 the 3 in the 1853 is deep set and it has been altered to 58 caliber with a socket bayonet affixed with a lug beneath the barrel, the date on the tang is 1848. My rifle has been in my family a very long time and is is near museum quality. I believe the lock plate might have been a replacement when alterations were made. The deep set 3 is identical to an1853 Springfield cadet musket.
Interesting! Please post pics. The Leman alteration for Pennsylvania was done mostly on Tryon's and a limited number of Harpers Ferry's. Perhaps yours is a Tryon (other than the lockplate)? Lets take a look at the pics and see what the markings tell us.
 

DixieRifles

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Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
The bayonet lug was rectangular .23" x .24" brazed under the barrel. New front sight. Barrel was reduced to .853" tapered to .64" at muzzle.
Thanks for posting details. I was going to ask. I was just interested to see how they attached the lug. I didnt think they could weld steel without hammer forging and losing the heat treatment.
 

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