Muzzleldrs "S.N.&W.T.C. For Massachusetts" Musket

bobinwmass

Corporal
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
Here is one of two Norris and Clement Massachusetts contract muskets that I have in my collection. Both are similar. The musket is a Model 1863 type one variety, with an “S” shaped beveled hammer and clamped barrel bands held in place without springs. It has a full length 40-inch barrel with 3 bands as originally made, not one of the “Artillery” models that were apparently cut down after the Civil War. The lockplate is marked “S.N. & W.T.C / FOR / MASSACHUSETTS” with a Federal eagle and “U.S.” in front of the hammer, and the date 1863 behind the hammer. The bolster also has a stamped eagle upon it. The barrel has the inspector initials “L.F.R.” stamped on the left flat, with the proof markings of an eagle head and “VP” above that. Due to pitting around the nipple and breech plug from firing, the date stamped on the barrel there is pretty much illegible, but it looks like the final digits are “63” also. Barrel bands are all stamped with a “U”, the butt plate is stamped with a “U.S.”, and trigger guard has a subinspector letter “s”. The barrel retains good rifling and the musket has a two-leaf rear sight. The metal has been cleaned and the nipple appears to be a modern replacement. It looks like the stock was lightly sanded and re-stained at some time in the past, so I cannot make out the cartouches. I can just barely make out two outlines where they once were. What looks like an upside down “40” is tacked into the stock. The musket is accompanied by a Model 1855 bayonet. All in all, it displays pretty well.

In 1863 Massachusetts contracted with Samuel Norris and William T. Clement for 2,000 muskets, which appear to have been delivered and payed for around September of that year. Apparently, the State was pleased with this first batch, as another 11,000 were contracted for, resulting in a total of 13,000. The first muskets of this second contract must have been delivered by year’s end, as the 1863 Massachusetts Adjutant General’s Report indicates that as of December 31st​, 1863 there were 2501 “Sp’field Rifle Muskets, Mass., cal. 58” at the Cambridge Arsenal. Massachusetts paid an average of $18.73 for these 13,000 muskets. It would appear that a number of the muskets were issued to the Unattached Companies of Infantry that were placed in forts guarding the Massachusetts coastline, and others may have been issued to some of the 100-day companies and Regiments that were mustered into Federal service in 1864. It is also likely that some saw very little service at all, and may be why many are found in very nice condition.

Prior to this Massachusetts contract, Samuel Norris, whose shop was in Springfield, Massachusetts, was a subcontractor and assembler of muskets for other makers who had or were seeking musket contracts with the Federal government. Apparently, his location near the Federal Armory in Springfield where the firearms could be subject to Federal inspection was of great benefit to his business. While much is written about Norris and his involvement in firearms, which continued after the Civil War, I found very little written about William T. Clement. I’ve seen it said his background was more financial or he had political connections, and perhaps he was the financier in the partnership. I found all sorts of conflicting information about these muskets when doing research about them. In his book Massachusetts Military Shoulder Arms 1784-1877” George D. Moller reports that none of these muskets are stamped with the Federal eagle and VP proof marks. My experience has been just the opposite, as both of mine are so marked, and so are many that I have seen for sale online. There is also the controversy about the numerous two band “Artillery” models that some have claimed in the past are actually Civil War vintage, though that has never been proven. I have also seen it written that the original 2000 muskets delivered to Massachusetts were actually Model 1861 types, but I have never seen such an example. I did see some conversations that perhaps some sample models submitted by Norris and Clement may have had some 1861 hammers on them, and some other discussion that perhaps examples put together after the war may have a combination of parts. But the Massachusetts Adjutant General’s report consistently refers to all muskets ordered as Model 1863. It does appear that Norris and Clement did subcontract the making of the parts to other entities, and then assembled the muskets from these gathered parts. I have seen it written that they used condemned parts from the Springfield Armory to manufacture these muskets, but I do not believe that is the case. While it is true that many of the muskets are found with “I.C.” (Inspected and Condemned) markings, and both my two and many others I have seen online are so marked, I believe this marking was put on them when Massachusetts removed them from service as obsolete. I mentioned this in a recent thread when discussing a perfectly good Massachusetts marked 1840 cavalry saber that I have with the “I.C.” marking. Why would barrels that are already stamped with the eagle and VP proof marks also be immediately stamped with condemned marks? And why would a State contracting for 13,000 muskets accept brand new ones marked as condemned? I don’t think they did.

After completing his Massachusetts contract, Norris continued in the firearms business. I’ve seen it written that the Lindsay double-muskets may have been assembled by Norris in his Springfield shop from parts produced elsewhere. After the Civil War, Norris worked overseas as an agent for Remington, selling arms to the warring countries in Europe. While in Europe, he met the Mauser brothers, who had just invented their bolt action design, and partnered with them in developing a rifle.

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ucvrelics

Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
VERY NICE Mass musket. I believe you are correct on the IC as I have seen other musket parts with IC and the fonts for the letters have always been different then the latter post war musket that were IC marked. A lot of those were sent to military schools for drill purpose only
 

S. Buckles

Cadet
Joined
Jun 6, 2020
My S.N. & W. T. C. is similar to yours except it has "L.D." stamped on the left barrel flat. Lock date is 1863. Barrel date appears to be 1863 as well. It does not have the springs, just barrel bands.
 

S. Buckles

Cadet
Joined
Jun 6, 2020
One appears to be AJH (or N). The other appears to be J (?) C? The last two letters are hard to read. Sorry!
 
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