Discussion Are These The Last Guns Shipped South By The US and What Type Were They?

ucvrelics

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Came across this interesting tidbit today in the CS Vets magazine. The article told of all the guns shipped South from 1859 until even as late a Jan 29th 1861. Where these 334 long-range? rifles the last ones the US shipped South and what type would they have been being early 1861.
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cake1979

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My guess is that they were talking about 1855 rifles with the original long-range rear sight. They were the first general issue US long gun that could be expected to actually hit anything at long range.

Plus, they were the most modern weapon available in January 1861. Quite a hot commodity in the rebellious South.
 

Package4

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Came across this interesting tidbit today in the CS Vets magazine. The article told of all the guns shipped South from 1859 until even as late a Jan 29th 1861. Where these 334 long-range? rifles the last ones the US shipped South and what type would they have been being early 1861.
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View attachment 335230
I have to imagine they could be either the M1841 modified with a leaf sight or the M1855 HF rifle. The caliber would most likely tell IIRC most M1841 sent South were .54 while all HF M1855 rifles were .58.

During the arsenal modifications started in 1855 of the M1841s, did the leaf sight addition automatically get a modification to .58 as well? @Lanyard Puller
 

ucvrelics

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I'll be Captain Obvious here. When you dig into the politics of the era, the (still-united) Congress was conducting business-as-usual in the states that were planning to secede.

Without a doubt it appears that it was business as usual even after shots were fired. Here is a great article I found that tells of the efforts of the State of Georgia in the area of arms for that state.
 

ucvrelics

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My guess is that they were talking about 1855 rifles with the original long-range rear sight. They were the first general issue US long gun that could be expected to actually hit anything at long range.

Plus, they were the most modern weapon available in January 1861. Quite a hot commodity in the rebellious South.


I have to imagine they could be either the M1841 modified with a leaf sight or the M1855 HF rifle. The caliber would most likely tell IIRC most M1841 sent South were .54 while all HF M1855 rifles were .58.

During the arsenal modifications started in 1855 of the M1841s, did the leaf sight addition automatically get a modification to .58 as well? @Lanyard Puller

I figured the best way to find out was to determine just what was in the US arsenals at the time and after a little digging below is what I was able to find. Still not definitive as to what the 311 long-range rifles were but now we know they were 58 cal. pattern 1859.

ORDNANCE OFFICE, WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., January 30, 1860.

Maj. A. MORDECAI, Watervliet Arsenal:

SIR: You are hereby required to issue to Capt. J. Gorgas, Charleston Arsenal, the following ordnance stores, viz: 2,000 percussion rifles, caliber .54, with appendages. To Capt. J. A. J. Bradford, North Carolina Arsenal, 2,000 percussion rifles, caliber .54, with appendages.

The within rifles will be held in readiness for issue at such time as you may be called upon by the Quartermaster’s Department. Copy of a letter to that department from this office is inclosed herewith for your information and government.*

H. K. CRAIG, Colonel of Ordnance.

ORDNANCE OFFICE, WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, January 2d, 1860.

Major-General JESUP, Quartermaster-General U. 8. Army:

SIR: I have to request that transportation may be provided for the following number of boxes of muskets and rifles to be supplied to the arsenals at Fayetteville, N. C., Charleston, S. C., Augusta, Ga., Mount Vernon, Ala., and Baton Rouge, La., by direction of the Secretary of War:

Boxes.
From Springfield Armory to Charleston Arsenal750
From Watervliet Arsenal to Charleston Arsenal100
From Springfield Armory to North Carolina Arsenal1,250
From Watervliet Arsenal to North Carolina Arsenal100
From Springfield Armory to Augusta Arsenal1,000
From Watertown Arsenal to Augusta Arsenal100
From Springfield Armory to Mount Vernon Arsenal750
From Watertown Arsenal to Mount Vernon Arsenal100
From Springfield Armory to Baton Rouge Arsenal1,500
From Watertown Arsenal to Baton Rouge Arsenal100
Total5,750
Each box contains 20 arms, weight about 300 pounds, and occupies about 10 cubic feet. The transfers of these arms may be made from time to time as may be most suitable for economy and convenience of transportation, and they will be held in readiness for delivery from Springfield Armory and Watervliet and Watertown Arsenals at such times and in such parcels as may best suit the arrangements which your department may make for their transfer.

Respectfully, &c.,

H. K. CRAIG, Colonel of Ordnance.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Raleigh, April 2, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor, agreeably to instructions from His Excellency Governor Ellis, to address you with regard to the quota of arms due this State from the General Government.

Governor E., having been notified as usual that the quota of arms due North Carolina was subject to his draft, drew the entire quota in long-range rifles (pattern of 1859) with sword-bayonets. No notice having been taken of the latter, he made a second application, and was {p.64} informed on the 4th of February last, by the Chief of the Ordnance Department, that orders had been issued to the U. S. Armory at Harper’s Ferry to forward to his address “334 long-range rifles with sword-bayonets and appendages,” being the equivalent of 453 muskets, the quota due North Carolina. Up to this date nothing further has been heard from them, and application is now made directly to you, sir, in the hope that you will cause the matter to receive proper attention without further delay.

With much respect, yours, &c.,

GRAHAM DAVES, Private Secretary.

No.Price.No.Price.No.Price.No.Price.
States and Territories.Long range rifles, caliber .58-inch.Percussion rifles, caliber .54-inch. Colt rifles.Hall carbines
Massachusetts100$17.43
New York4291$42.50
New Jersey100
Virginia50
North Carolina311
Louisiana104
Mississippi212
Tennessee1
Kentucky80
Indiana170
Illinois11$17.00
Wisconsin40$12.88
Iowa12
California115
Washington Territory242.50
Kansas Territory10
New Mexico Territory22012.881042.50
Pennsylvania4217.434012.88
Total1,728300131
 

Lubliner

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John B. Floyd served as Secretary of War until the end of December 1860, and resigned. Hon. Joseph Holt was interim Secretary December 31, 1860 to the inauguration of Lincoln, March 4. There were strict laws governing the distribution of weapons, dating back to 1808, 1825, and more recently 1855. The Government was in mid-process, it appears of altering the stock on hand at the different armories and arsenals. As of November 12 1860, there were still 23,894 flint-lock muskets and 352 flint-lock rifles still to be altered. [*Series 4, Vol. 1, page 2*].
It seems from the correspondence that the Colonel of Ordnance, H. K. Craig was keeping a pretty tight eye on Floyd's transactions. But...November 6, 1860, 5000 altered rifles at $2.50 are approved for purchase to the State of Virginia. On November 24, G. B. Lamar was approved for purchase at Watervliet Arsenal for 10,000 altered percussion muskets, at $2.50 each. These arms needed payment in advance.
The rumor on Floyd began Christmas Day, 1860 from Pittsburgh;

"An order has issued from the War Department to transfer all the effective munitions of war from the Arsenal in this city to Southern forts. Great excitement has been created in the public mind by this order. We would advise that the order be immediately countermanded. We speak at the instance of the people, and if not done we cannot be answerable for the consequences." [*Series 3, Vol. 1, page 15*].

It was leaked to the newspaper press on Dec. 29 that this shipment of 10,000 muskets were to be sold to G. B. Lamar, and the leak was blamed on John E. Wool, who denied it;... 'to be put on board the steamer Florida for Savannah'....

Then on December 31, 1860 the House of Representatives instructed the Committee of Military Affairs to inquire into the sale and distribution of arms for the last year....etc.
Lubliner.
 

Jeff in Ohio

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In the year 1859, Georgia was allotted 260 Model 1855 rifle-muskets as their yearly share of model US arms. An elite militia unit from Savannah, the "Republican Blues," demonstrated their political pull by getting 200 of the 260 rifle-muskets sent to Georgia. As discussed above, these were the state of the art and best infantry arms at that time and in great demand.
The number of arms sent to North Carolina suggests those were also this model.
The Republican Blues branded their unit's name into the stocks of their rifle muskets, and these arms are some of the very few that are marked to a Southern unit.
 

Package4

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I figured the best way to find out was to determine just what was in the US arsenals at the time and after a little digging below is what I was able to find. Still not definitive as to what the 311 long-range rifles were but now we know they were 58 cal. pattern 1859.

ORDNANCE OFFICE, WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., January 30, 1860.

Maj. A. MORDECAI, Watervliet Arsenal:

SIR: You are hereby required to issue to Capt. J. Gorgas, Charleston Arsenal, the following ordnance stores, viz: 2,000 percussion rifles, caliber .54, with appendages. To Capt. J. A. J. Bradford, North Carolina Arsenal, 2,000 percussion rifles, caliber .54, with appendages.

The within rifles will be held in readiness for issue at such time as you may be called upon by the Quartermaster’s Department. Copy of a letter to that department from this office is inclosed herewith for your information and government.*

H. K. CRAIG, Colonel of Ordnance.

ORDNANCE OFFICE, WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, January 2d, 1860.

Major-General JESUP, Quartermaster-General U. 8. Army:

SIR: I have to request that transportation may be provided for the following number of boxes of muskets and rifles to be supplied to the arsenals at Fayetteville, N. C., Charleston, S. C., Augusta, Ga., Mount Vernon, Ala., and Baton Rouge, La., by direction of the Secretary of War:

Boxes.
From Springfield Armory to Charleston Arsenal750
From Watervliet Arsenal to Charleston Arsenal100
From Springfield Armory to North Carolina Arsenal1,250
From Watervliet Arsenal to North Carolina Arsenal100
From Springfield Armory to Augusta Arsenal1,000
From Watertown Arsenal to Augusta Arsenal100
From Springfield Armory to Mount Vernon Arsenal750
From Watertown Arsenal to Mount Vernon Arsenal100
From Springfield Armory to Baton Rouge Arsenal1,500
From Watertown Arsenal to Baton Rouge Arsenal100
Total5,750
Each box contains 20 arms, weight about 300 pounds, and occupies about 10 cubic feet. The transfers of these arms may be made from time to time as may be most suitable for economy and convenience of transportation, and they will be held in readiness for delivery from Springfield Armory and Watervliet and Watertown Arsenals at such times and in such parcels as may best suit the arrangements which your department may make for their transfer.


Respectfully, &c.,

H. K. CRAIG, Colonel of Ordnance.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Raleigh, April 2, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor, agreeably to instructions from His Excellency Governor Ellis, to address you with regard to the quota of arms due this State from the General Government.

Governor E., having been notified as usual that the quota of arms due North Carolina was subject to his draft, drew the entire quota in long-range rifles (pattern of 1859) with sword-bayonets. No notice having been taken of the latter, he made a second application, and was {p.64} informed on the 4th of February last, by the Chief of the Ordnance Department, that orders had been issued to the U. S. Armory at Harper’s Ferry to forward to his address “334 long-range rifles with sword-bayonets and appendages,” being the equivalent of 453 muskets, the quota due North Carolina. Up to this date nothing further has been heard from them, and application is now made directly to you, sir, in the hope that you will cause the matter to receive proper attention without further delay.

With much respect, yours, &c.,

GRAHAM DAVES, Private Secretary.

States and Territories.Long range rifles, caliber .58-inch.Percussion rifles, caliber .54-inch.Colt rifles.Hall carbines
No.Price.No.Price.No.Price.No.Price.
Massachusetts100$17.43
New York4291$42.50
New Jersey100
Virginia50
North Carolina311
Louisiana104
Mississippi212
Tennessee1
Kentucky80
Indiana170
Illinois11$17.00
Wisconsin40$12.88
Iowa12
California115
Washington Territory242.50
Kansas Territory10
New Mexico Territory22012.881042.50
Pennsylvania4217.434012.88
Total1,728300131
These being called Pattern of 1859 rifles would most likely be Harper's Ferry M1855 rifles.
Looking at the OR I do not see that these 311 were ever shipped, they were requested and promised, but as late as April 14th had not shipped. Lincoln called for troops from each state and then on April 15th:


RALEIGH, N. C., April 15, 1861.

Honorable SIMON CAMERON,

Secretary of War:

Your dispatch is received, and if genuine, which its extraordinary character leads me to doubt, I have to say in reply that I regard the levy of troops made by the Administration for the purpose of subjugating the States of the South as in violation of the Constitution and a gross usurpation of power. I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina. I will reply more in detail when your call is received by mail.


JOHN W. ELLIS,

Governor of North Carolina.

Virginia secedes on the 17th and the Armory/Arsenal at Harper's Ferry was put to the torch the same day, on the 18th the machinery and what was not destroyed were shipped to Richmond.

Unless these were located elsewhere, I do not see that they would have been shipped, especially from HF.
 

Jeff in Ohio

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Oct 17, 2015
The Model 1855 rifle-muskets shipped to Georgia in 1859 as part of that state's allotment were dated 1858 and made at Springfield, according to the surviving examples known to me.
 

Package4

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The Model 1855 rifle-muskets shipped to Georgia in 1859 as part of that state's allotment were dated 1858 and made at Springfield, according to the surviving examples known to me.
Apples and Oranges the 311 are M1855 rifles not rifled-muskets; based on the description, which states saber bayonets:

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Vs


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