Tell me more! Civil War arm used by the Fenians.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
I am glancing over the display ",Fenians and Canadian Guns".
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I see the Fenians had some rifles made but also appear to have used some surplus Civil War arms. Later today I will have to read all the signage on the display but was wondering if the Fenians added markings to the surplus Civil War arms and if so does the addition of Fenian markings hurt the value of a Civil War musket or rifle?
 

Don Dixon

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Location
Fairfax, VA, USA
In addition to the Fenians who invaded Canada, one also has the Fenians who invaded Ireland. On 12 April 1867 a group of 40 Fenians who had been Federal soldiers boarded the brigantine Jacmel [AKA: Erin’s Hope] for an invasion of Ireland. On board were thousands of Enfield rifle muskets; Spencer, Austrian, Sharps, and Burnside rifles; pistols; 1.5 million rounds of ammunition; and three dismounted cannon. Using techniques like those used in blockade runs into the Confederacy the arms were packed in piano and sewing machine cases and wine barrels, with the ship’s papers indicating that they were consigned to Cuba. After landing in Ireland the Fenians were captured, tried, and convicted of “coming to Ireland in an armed vessel and cruising along the coast with intent to affect a landing of men and arms in order to raise an insurrection against the Queen.” The Crown elected to be merciful and by 1869 all the prisoners had been released. Given the large Irish expatriate population in the United States at the time the Jacmel affair represented a major diplomatic embarrassment to the U.S. government. Given their efforts to disguise the guns I suspect that the Fenians placed no markings on them. What the Brits did with the weapons they captured I have no idea, but it would be an interesting research project.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
I will look at the markings on the weapons in the display later today. Some of the display arms have a little magnifying glass over the markings but I did not bother to inspect them yet.
 

Jeff in Ohio

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
I once owned a Colt Model 1860 Army, a military contract arm, which had a presentation inscription in jeweler's script on the backstrap in two lines. The top line says "Pres 'd by the Boston Circle F. B." [the F B means Fenian Brotherhood and the various Fenian groups were called "circles"] and the second line says "to Capt (hard to read name - but I believe it is "Powell") I. R. A." [the Fenians were the first to use the name Irish Republican Army].
Captain Powell was the head of the Irish Republican Brotherhood Navy.
This was a military surplus 1860 with all the usual military marks with that inscription added after it left government srvice in the Civil War.
 
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