A captured Whitworth rifle at Gettysburg?

Nathan Stuart

Private
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
After Gettysburg, a report was prepared by Lt. Joseph G. Rosengarten, the designated ordnance officer of the 121st​ Pennsylania (First Army Corps, Army of the Potomac). His report, dated July 19 1863, listed the arms captured from the enemy around Gettysburg. The Lieutenant’s list of captured Confederate weapons on the battlefield showed:

Springfield rifled muskets 174

Enfield rifled muskets 2,402

Austrian rifled muskets 64

English rifled muskets 26

Harpers Ferry smooth bores 212

Various 80

TOTAL 2,958

(Source – ‘Official Records’ , Series 1, Volume XXVII, Part 1, at page 264)

The entry above for English rifled muskets is interesting. Most of the low number of imported English Kerr rifles were used in the western theater. There was also very small quantities of various other imported English target rifles carried by individual Confederate marksmen.

Could any of the captured English rifled muskets included above have been whitworths? This also leads to pondering about another wider question. How many Confederate whitworth rifles (if any) were captured by the Union on the battlefield during the war?
 

BillWright

Private
Joined
Jul 15, 2021
Have any of you ever fired a Whitworth? I have. It was quite interesting. I wish I hadn’t sold it with all of my Enfields.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
After Gettysburg, a report was prepared by Lt. Joseph G. Rosengarten, the designated ordnance officer of the 121st​ Pennsylania (First Army Corps, Army of the Potomac). His report, dated July 19 1863, listed the arms captured from the enemy around Gettysburg. The Lieutenant’s list of captured Confederate weapons on the battlefield showed:

Springfield rifled muskets 174

Enfield rifled muskets 2,402

Austrian rifled muskets 64

English rifled muskets 26

Harpers Ferry smooth bores 212

Various 80

TOTAL 2,958

(Source – ‘Official Records’ , Series 1, Volume XXVII, Part 1, at page 264)

The entry above for English rifled muskets is interesting. Most of the low number of imported English Kerr rifles were used in the western theater. There was also very small quantities of various other imported English target rifles carried by individual Confederate marksmen.

Could any of the captured English rifled muskets included above have been whitworths? This also leads to pondering about another wider question. How many Confederate whitworth rifles (if any) were captured by the Union on the battlefield during the war?
Interesting that there are Springfields that were "captured" from the Confederates. "Re-captured" might perhaps be a better term since these Springfields were likely battlefield pickups from other battles. You should consider posting this in the "Small Arms & Ammunition" Forum as I am sure there will be some interest in this. Are there any other such reports? 2,958 weapons collected from such a huge battle seems surprisingly low...perhaps this was a report filed only for his unit of command/sector of the battlefield???
 

RedRover

Corporal
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
Interesting that there are Springfields that were "captured" from the Confederates. "Re-captured" might perhaps be a better term since these Springfields were likely battlefield pickups from other battles. You should consider posting this in the "Small Arms & Ammunition" Forum as I am sure there will be some interest in this. Are there any other such reports? 2,958 weapons collected from such a huge battle seems surprisingly low...perhaps this was a report filed only for his unit of command/sector of the battlefield???
Perhaps because Lee's army remained on the battlefield in the day after the fight much of the ordnance that otherwise would have been left behind was gathered up by Lee's ordnance types...
 

Nathan Stuart

Private
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
Interesting that there are Springfields that were "captured" from the Confederates. "Re-captured" might perhaps be a better term since these Springfields were likely battlefield pickups from other battles. You should consider posting this in the "Small Arms & Ammunition" Forum as I am sure there will be some interest in this. Are there any other such reports? 2,958 weapons collected from such a huge battle seems surprisingly low...perhaps this was a report filed only for his unit of command/sector of the battlefield???


Agree with your point about the re-captured Springfields. The Model 1861 Springfield rifled muskets were the most widely used by the Union army. In contrast, the Confederacy preferred British Pattern 1853 Enfields.

Am not surprised that only a low quantity of English rifles (apart from Enfields) were captured, given the relative rarity of use of these particular imported weapons. Hence the question was asked about whether any of these might have been whitworths.

Thanks for your suggestion. Haven't come across any other similar captured weapons reports, as of yet.

At Gettysburg, Lt. Rosengarten was Ordnance Officer of the 121 PA. His regiment was part of Biddle's Brigade, in Doubleday's Division, of the First Army Corps. (His report does not indicate that he was the Division's Ordnance Officer and recognizes that a separate division ordnance officer existed for the Division).

On the first day of Gettysburg, Lt. Rosengarten's unit operated in the vicinity east of the Herbst Woods (M-G Reynolds, commander of the First Corps, was killed at the front eastern edge of these woods at about 10.15 am on day one).

It can reasonably be concluded that Lt. Rosengarten recovered the reported captured armaments, including the English rifles, from areas within and around the Herbst Woods.
 
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