Tell me more! Arms Issued to the 13th KY Infantry (US)

DenverMann18

Private
Joined
Jun 24, 2021
Location
Lexington, KY
I'm researching the service of my great-great-grandfather, Thomas F. Allen, with the 13th KY Inf. He served from 12/1861 to 9/1862, most notably seeing action at Shiloh. I'm also looking into reenacting for the first time, and I would like to assemble a collection of supplies as close to what my ancestor would have carried as possible. Most importantly, I would like to find a long arm that closely represents what the 13th KY would have carried.

Are there ordinance records in existence that pertain to the 13th KY? If so, where could I access them? Any resources or leads would be greatly appreciated.
 

Don Dixon

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Location
Fairfax, VA, USA
Are there ordinance records in existence that pertain to the 13th KY? If so, where could I access them? Any resources or leads would be greatly appreciated.

By regulation unit commanders were required to report their ordnance inventories on a quarterly basis. The Quarterly Ordnance Report ledgers only exist for the 4th quarter of 1862 through the 1st quarter of 1865, however, and they do not represent all regiments or all regimental companies during those quarters. The National Archives has reproduced the ledgers on microfilm and disc as Microfilm M1281. It is available at the Archives in Washington and probably at the regional Archives sites when they reopen after COVID restrictions end. You may be able to find M1281 at some state or large regional or university libraries. In reviewing my copy of M1281 for my research interest in Federal and Confederate use of Austrian weapons I found the following for the 13th:

13th​ Kentucky Infantry: The 13th​ was organized at Camp Hobson near Greensburg, Kentucky, on 10 December 1861 and was mustered out of service on 12 January 1865. The Quarterly Ordnance Reports contain the following regarding the 13th​:

QuarterWeaponCaliberNumber/Comment
4th​, 1863Muster 1854, Type II.584 (7 companies reporting)
1st​, 1864Muster 1854, Type II.584 (9 companies reporting)

During the 4th​ quarter of 1863 and 1st​ quarter of 1864 the 13th​ was involved in the Siege of Knoxville and operations in Tennessee. (Dyer, III, 1203: M1281, NARA)

For the rest of the 13th's armament, I refer you to M1281. As you can see, the arming of regiments in the Civil War was anything but uniform.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 

DenverMann18

Private
Joined
Jun 24, 2021
Location
Lexington, KY
QuarterWeaponCaliberNumber/Comment
4th​, 1863Muster 1854, Type II.584 (7 companies reporting)
1st​, 1864Muster 1854, Type II.584 (9 companies reporting)

During the 4th​ quarter of 1863 and 1st​ quarter of 1864 the 13th​ was involved in the Siege of Knoxville and operations in Tennessee. (Dyer, III, 1203: M1281, NARA)

For the rest of the 13th's armament, I refer you to M1281. As you can see, the arming of regiments in the Civil War was anything but uniform.

Regards,
Don Dixon
First of all, many thanks for the information!

Just to clarify (I'm still new at this), the arms listed above are M1854 type II Austrian Lorenz rifles, bored out to 58. cal., correct?

Finally, does it seem plausible that the 13th KY would have been issued Lorenz rifles at the beginning of the war? Is it more likely that they would have been initially issued the best available arms, and later had those replaced by Lorenz M1854s? (I'd like to determine what the 13th used at Shiloh specifically.) Thanks!
 

Don Dixon

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Location
Fairfax, VA, USA
Just to clarify (I'm still new at this), the arms listed above are M1854 type II Austrian Lorenz rifles, bored out to 58. cal., correct?

Correct.

Finally, does it seem plausible that the 13th KY would have been issued Lorenz rifles at the beginning of the war? Is it more likely that they would have been initially issued the best available arms, and later had those replaced by Lorenz M1854s? (I'd like to determine what the 13th used at Shiloh specifically.) Thanks!

Its hard to say, absent further documentation which I don't have. European arms purchases were starting to arrive late in 1861, particularly deliveries from Böker and Company. The best stuff - including Austrian arms - went to the Army of the Potomac at the direction of MG McClellan. Foreign smoothbores, "Garibaldi" rifles [Muster 1844 and 1849 Austrian Kammerbüchse], various transformed U.S. weapons [smoothbore and rifled], and second rate Enfields and Austrians were shipped west. Troops got whatever the ordnance officer had to give them, generally in mixed lots of weapons [both in origin and caliber]. Keeping the resulting mess supplied and maintained was a logistics and ordnance officer's nightmare.

Since Shiloh is your interest: Absent further documentation, the 4th quarter 1862 and 1st quarter 1863 Quarterly Ordnance Reports might give you a clue. Unit "histories" state that a unit was rearmed on a certain date, but rearming was in fact generally a gradual process. A decreasing number of a type of weapon in a unit over several quarters tends to indicate that it was armed with larger quantities of them in earlier quarters. Then there was the tendency of individual soldiers to stubbornly insist on continuing to carry a weapon they liked even after the rest of the regiment was rearmed.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 

DenverMann18

Private
Joined
Jun 24, 2021
Location
Lexington, KY
Since Shiloh is your interest: Absent further documentation, the 4th quarter 1862 and 1st quarter 1863 Quarterly Ordnance Reports might give you a clue.
Mr. Dixon, thank you for your insight. I may have to pick your brain more in the future!

I will begin the hunt for 4th quarter 1862 and 1st quarter 1863 Quarterly Ordnance Reports that pertain to the 13th KY. If anyone reading this has access to those reports or has recommendations for finding them, please let me know.
 

DenverMann18

Private
Joined
Jun 24, 2021
Location
Lexington, KY
Open for debate: would anyone consider boring out Pedersoli's beautiful Lorenz 1854 to 58. cal. to be a more "correct" representation of a Federal gun? If you know someone who's had this done, how did it go?
 

Craig L Barry

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
I kind of doubt it for a variety of reasons, most notably that boring it out to .58 would obviously void the warranty along with adding expense to an already over-priced item. Interestingly, it would have been much easier for Pedersoli to offer their M-1854 Austrian rifle in .58 because it could have used the same barrel as some of their other US Civil War products. That would have been Armi-Sport's (Armi-Chiappa) approach had they ever offered a Lorenz. Pedersoli for their part, did not even take the obvious short cut with their Enfield, which they produced in .577 vs .58, although minus the progressive depth rifling of the original.
 

Don Dixon

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Location
Fairfax, VA, USA
Open for debate: would anyone consider boring out Pedersoli's beautiful Lorenz 1854 to 58. cal. to be a more "correct" representation of a Federal gun? If you know someone who's had this done, how did it go?

Boring a ".54" caliber - actually .547 caliber - System Lorenz Type I or II rifle musket out to .58 caliber wouldn't make it any more "correct." Both .54 and .58 caliber weapons were manufactured for the Federals at the Vienna Arsenal. The weapons purchased at the Vienna Arsenal for the Confederates were largely .54 caliber. And, .54 caliber weapons were bored out and re-rifled to .577, .58, and some to .59, and .60 in Vienna, Liege, and the North. Individual Federal units had both .54 and .58 caliber System Lorenz weapons at the same time, although as the war progressed the average in Federal units tended more toward .58 caliber.

You are looking at four rifle muskets in one unit over a two quarter time frame and assuming that that is somehow "correct." The Austrian weapons imported during the Civil War are all over the map in their configuration. The Vienna Arsenal and a variety of Austrian contractors built them. They were modified in Austria, Liege, the North, and the South. Every regiment had a "skilled" workman who repaired them. The Austrian Army Museum published Erich Gabriel's book Die Hand- und Faustfeuerwaffen der habsburgischen Heere. When I spoke with the firearms curator and master restoration gunsmith at the museum they were very frustrated with collectors who "restored" firearms to look like the photos in the book and damaged or destroyed valuable and historical weapons in the process.

I'm afraid that I view the reenactor obsession with "correctness" with rather ill humor because it is difficult to determine exactly what was "correct" 150 years ago. I'm probably the American expert on the Austrian weapons of the Civil War period, but I make no representation of knowing what is "correct" because every time I turn over a rock I find something new.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 

DenverMann18

Private
Joined
Jun 24, 2021
Location
Lexington, KY
I'm afraid that I view the reenactor obsession with "correctness" with rather ill humor because it is difficult to determine exactly what was "correct" 150 years ago.
Mr. Dixon,

I completely agree; I'm not that much of a stickler myself. I was only curious if others had considered or went to such great lengths to make their replicas closer to the original federal bored-out versions (hence why I used quotation marks for "correct").
You are looking at four rifle muskets in one unit over a two quarter time frame and assuming that that is somehow "correct."
I realize that there were a great number of variations of the Lorenz Muster 1854, but as I understand it, a significant number of Federal M1854s were bored to 58. cal. to accept more readily available ammunition. Again, I was merely curious if anyone had attempted to recreate this type of gun with the modern reproduction.

Thanks for weighing in, I've learned a lot more about Austrian weapons in the Civil War period by looking over your posts.
 
Top