Pre war carbines.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Aug 25, 2012
I am trying to get a handle on what arms Michigan had at the start of the Civil War. Many of our records were destroyed in a fire so I am trying to understand what arms Michigan held in 1860.

In 1855 Michigan had 40 older carbines (Hall carbines received in 1853.), but in 1854-56 Michigan receives 400 artillery musketoons. Any idea what type of artillery musketoons the Federal Government was issuing in 1855? I have also seen the musketoons called carbines. I want to dismiss these musketoons as obsolete by the start of the Civil War, but not sure I can do so until I know what was received. What I want to say is that the Michigan Militia artillery companies were armed with obsolete arm in 1861 but not sure this is right. The better militia artillery companies were armed with some of the 600 Colt 6 shot revolvers the State had received in 1855-1858 which would probably been considered "modern" in 1861.

Legion Para

Retired Moderator
Jul 12, 2015
Are you sure the records state 'Artillery Musketoon'? Could it have been the Springfield Model 1847 Musketoon?


major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Aug 25, 2012
The Adjutant General inventoried them as musketoons or artillery musketoons. I have seen them called carbines as well. It is possible that they were musketoons obtained for use by artillery companies and not truly artillery musketoons.

The most common use for the musketoons were the artillery companies.

The Scott Guard (Detroit, Wayne County) was given the honor of being Company A of the 2nd Michigan Infantry Regiment. The Scott Guard received ‘new’ Minnie riles from the state in early 1861. The Michigan Quartermaster Report of 1861 has Company A with 60 musket rifles, 24 musketoons, 10 noncommissioned officer swords, 96 sabers and a pair of six-pound brass cannon. The Quartermaster indicates Company B had 37 sabers, but some of the equipment listed for Company A was likely for this small artillery company and the cannons and musketoons would most likely be for them.

The Williams’ German Light Artillery, a.k.a. the German Company (Lansing, Ingham County) formed in 1859; they ranked in Class III of the Michigan Uniformed Militia. They were named for Colonel A.S. Williams who later became the commander of the 4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Captain Jacob Weber took twenty men to the 1860 Michigan Uniformed Militia encampment being held in Jackson. In 1860, they had 1 six-pound brass cannon with caisson. Their pre-war weapons were side arms and musquetoons. The Michigan Quartermaster’s Report of 1861 has them with 20 musketoons, 6 revolvers, 20 sabers and 1 six-pound brass cannon with carriage and limber complete.

The Coldwater Light Artillery a.k.a. The Coldwater Flying Artillery a.k.a. Loomis’ Battery, a.k.a. First Michigan Battery a.k.a. Battery A, 1st Michigan Light Artillery (Coldwater, Branch County) was the artillery company attached to the 1st Michigan Three Month Volunteer Infantry Regiment.In 1859, they were armed with musketoons and 1 six-pound brass cannon with carriage and limber, one caisson complete, and four harnesses with leads and wheel sets. In 1859 they ranked in Class I of the Michigan Uniformed Militia order of merit. In 1861, they had 20 musketoons, 8 revolvers, 20 cavalry sabers, 20 artillery swords and 1 six-pound brass cannon. The State military board minutes from 1859 indicate they wore blue uniforms and carried carbines, so perhaps their musketoons had been replaced with carbines by time of the State Military Board’s October meeting.

The Hudson Artillery a.k.a. Hudson Military Company (Hudson, Lenawee County) as infantry, became Company C of the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment. In 1859, they carried rifled muskets, had 1 six-pound brass cannon with carriage, and limber complete, and 1 caisson complete. In 1861, they had 40 musketoons, 40 sabers, 8 noncommissioned officer’s swords and 1 six-pound brass cannon.

These are not artillery companies. Note the State issued cannons to some infantry companies to disperse the cannons. Michigan in the 1850s only had one mounted company I I do not have good information on what arms they were issued

The Steuben Guard (Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County)In 1861, they had 40 rifle muskets, 8 musketoons, 8 noncommissioned officer’s swords and 8 musician swords

The First United States Lancers a.k.a. Rankin’s Lancers a.k.a. Michigan Lancers (the headquarters was in Detroit but the companies formed in several cities)The Detroit Daily Advertiser indicates they were to be armed like the 16th Regiment of British Lancers however; originally, they were issued 7 state owned smooth-bore muskets and 12 state owned musketoons. They eventually were armed with lances, carbines, dragoon revolvers and sabers. Samuel Shaw made both the lances and swords. In other source, Samuel Shaw is referred to as W. H Shaw. The lances provided by Shaw were nine feet, seven inches long with eleven inches of that being a double bladed lance head, which was one and a half inches wide at the widest point. The pennons were red and white. When the First United States Lancers were disbanded, the state collected the lances and stored then for further use.

TheGerman Rifles a.k.a. Grand Rapids Rifles a.k.a. German Military Company (Grand Rapids, Kent County In 1859, they had rifled muskets and 1 six-pound brass cannon. In 1861, they had 40 rifle muskets and 1 six-pound brass cannon. The German Rifles were also said to have carried musketoons.

The Peninsular Guard (Sturgis, St. Joseph County) served during the Civil War in the 4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Before the war they had 40 musketoons with accruements and 4 noncommissioned officer’s swords.
Feb 23, 2013
The musketoons and carbines of the M1842 family of arms are a bit of a collectors nightmare due to the multiple models and the number of arsenal refurbishments that they underwent prior to the Civil War. However, I can provide you with a simplified run down of them.

The M1847 Artillery Musketoon

A .69 caliber smoothbore iron mounted arm. It features a 26 inch barrel, with a total length of 41 and 1/16 inches. The gun is equipped with a rectangular bayonet lug on the under side of the muzzle in the manner of the M1842 musket. The sling swivels are located on the rear barrel band and on a rectangular lug just forward of the toe of the stock. These were produced at the Springfield Armory only from 1848 to 1855 (none were made in 1851), with a total production of 3,201 musketoons.

The M1847 Cavalry Musketoon
A .69 caliber smoothbore brass mounted arm. It features a 26 and 1/16 inch barrel, with a total length of 41 and 1/16 inches. The gun has no provision for a bayonet. The ramrod is secured by means of a swivel under the muzzle of the musketoon. A 9.5 inch sling swivel bar is located on the side opposite the lock. These were produced at the Springfield Armory only from about 1850 to 1854 (although production of parts occurred as early as 1847). Moller gives a total production of 5,802 musketoons. Production of this model is difficult to track, as the production numbers are sometimes misreported and the musketoons are sometimes mislabeled in period armory records.

The M1847 Sappers Musketoon
A .69 caliber smoothbore iron mounted arm. It features a 26 inch barrel, with a total length of 41 and 1/16 inches. The gun has a distinct two part bayonet lug use to affix the trademark brass hilted short sword bayonet. The rear support lug is affixed to the side of the forward loop of the front barrel band. There is also a 7/8 by 1/16 inch locking and support key affixed to the right side of the barrel, 1/4 inch from the muzzle. The sling swivels are attached in the manner of the M1847 Artillery Musketoon. A total of 1,030 arms were produced at the Springfield Armory in 1847, 1848, 1855 and 1856.

Modifications to the M1847 Cavalry Musketoon

Due to problems in the field a number of modifications were made to the M1847 Cavalry Musketoon during and after its production. In 1849 a safety notch was added to the tumbler allowing the hammer to help hold the percussion cap in place better. It seems that all Cavalry Musketoons made from 1851 onward were manufactured with the safety notch.

In 1852 a longer ramrod was adopted and the use of a friction spoon was incorporated into production. It seems that some 1,500 musketoons produced in 1851 were not modified in this manner.

Even with these modifications the arms were found to be ill-suited for mounted service and were withdrawn from service and in 1860 a number were sold to arms dealers in St. Louis, Missouri and Alexandria, Virginia. Records from 1862 show that "470 U.S. Musketoons and 179 Enfield Carbines" were being sent from the New York Arsenal to St. Louis to arm forming cavalry regiments. A further 947 musketoons were still in use by US Cavalry units in December of 1862; 301 with the 1st New Mexico Cavalry and 410 with the 1st Texas Cavalry. A January 2, 1864 inventory lists 1,407 smoothbore musketoons in storage.

M1847 Cavalry Musketoons Altered to Artillery Models

From 1858 to 1859 a total of 630 Cavalry Musketoons were altered to an artillery version for the use of cadets in various state military academies. There are two distinct variations of these alterations, commonly known as the Type 1 and Type 2. Both alterations involve the removal of the sling bar, the ramrod swivel, and the addition of a socket bayonet lug on the under side of the muzzle. The main differences are the location of the new sling swivels. On the Type 1 alteration the front swivel is riveted through a new stud on the rear barrel band, while the rear swivel is attached to a rectangular plate just forward of the toe of the stock (essentially in the same position of the M1847 Artillery Musketoon). They Type 2 has the front swivel riveted through a new lug on the front barrel band, while the rear swivel is riveted to a semi-circular lug affixed to the front of the trigger guard plate.

Additional Modifications to the M1847 Cavalry Musketoon

In 1859, 2 M1847 Cavalry Musketoons were rifled and sighted at the Springfield Armory. The alteration was approved after testing and a further 344 were altered at the Frankfort Arsenal. These musketoons are rifled with a 1:72 inch two groove rifling and have a M1858 style rear sight added. The original swivel ramrods were removed and replaced with a new ramrod with a cupped head that is secured by a chain rather than the original swivel. The buttplates of these were removed and a hole drilled into the butt of the stock so that an 8 ounce lead weight could be inserted to function as a counterbalance to improve the carrying of the musketoon. The weight also helped reduce the recoil of the musketoon, which had been a chief complaint of troops that were issued it.

In 1860, 100 Cavalry Musketoons were altered by James Merrill and Company to a breechloader. These arms generally match other arms altered by Merrill. The 100 Cavalry Musketoons altered by Merrill were rifled and sighted, although it seems that Merrill sighted them in house. Records mention the issuance of rear sights to Merrill, and surviving examples show that the rear sights on Merrill altered M1847 Musketoons are installed backwards. (Merrill additionally altered 100 M1841 rifles and 100 M1842 rifled and sighted muskets).

M1847 Sappers Musketoons Altered to Artillery Models
In 1856 and 1857 a total of 228 Sapper Musketoons were altered to artillery configuration at the Springfield Armory for the use of state military academy cadets. The alterations were accomplished by removing the short sword bayonet lug components and adding a rectangular socket bayonet lug to the under side of the barrel.

The "Navy" Musketoon

In addition to the assortment of arms listed above, there is an additional variant simply known as the "Navy Musketoon". These musketoons do not confirm with any established patterns. Although there are some that appear to be M1847 Artillery Musketoons, others seem to be purpose made. The purpose made guns have a larger trigger guard plate than normal musketoons that generally matches the M1851 Cadet Musket trigger plate. They also use a iron side plate of the same configuration as the cavalry musketoon, excepting that the sling bar hole is not drilled. These arms are also equipped with unique flat surfaced bands. The purpose built musketoons lack a provision to attach a bayonet.

The one characteristic that binds all of the "Navy" musketoons together is a small anchor stamped onto the barrels or barrel bands of all musketoons classified as such. There is no documentation to confirm that these are a Navy contract arm. It is possible that they were altered by a state or states, or even a local militia company.

Hope this helps you with you search.


major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Aug 25, 2012
Very interesting Garrett. I was working on the arms available to Michigan at the start of the Civil War. It appears the State only had enough modern arms to outfit a single infantry regiment. The First Michigan Three Month Regiment which fought at Bull Rum would have taken almost all of the percussion muskets (most said to be first class bright Model 1822) and improved percussion muskets. This left Michigan with only a couple hundred percussion muskets, a number of flint lock muskets, 330 rifles (said to be Hall Rifles), and about 350 musketoons and/or carbines. To this one could add around 600 Colt Revolvers (some may have went with the First Infantry) and 1000 sabers and swords. It is conceivable that Battery A took some of the carbines or musketoons with them and perhaps some of the Colt revolvers.

I will use the information to state that the First Michigan Three Month Infantry Regiment took almost all of the modern military arms in Michigan leaving the State with few modern arms (note the Second Michigan Infantry was armed by the federal government).