What are the differences between a Richmond and a Springfield


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johan_steele

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The Richmond utilized machinery from Harpers Ferry and was often called the Confederate or Rebel Springfield. Most of the parts from a Richmond were interchangeable. The main exception being the lock plate. Quality was quite similar.

It was considered, by the men who carried them, as superior to the Enfield. It was American made so some of that was made here instead of over there bias.

Captured Richmond’s were issued out in the same way as Springfield’s.
 

thomas aagaard

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Despite the the fact that people often talk about a Springfield, we really should not, because it is a rather bad way of describing a firearm.

The arsenal at Springfield, Massachusetts was the main center for arms production run by the government.
The second one was at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

And for some reason the Model 1855, M/61 and M/63 is often called a Springfield,
despite it also being manufactured at Harpers Ferry before the war.
And at a number of privately owned factories across the north during the war.
And despite the fact that plenty of other firearms was manufactured at the Springfield arsenal.
(Like the M/1842 musket that was also used during the war)

The arsenal at Harpers Ferry was burned by the regular army men when the war broke out, but the damage was not that bad, and the machinery was moved to Richmond and put in use there. And what they made is the "Richmond"

In the eyes of the ordnance departments, it did not matter if you had a M/1855, a M/1863 or Richmond they counted all as the same weapon and issued it like the same weapon.
 

3rdTennCo.C

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So how is it the firearms should be refered to? Instead of refering to all of them as a springfield, your saying that each model should just be refered to along with the M-date springfield, or was only one model year actually called the springfield?



Despite the the fact that people often talk about a Springfield, we really should not, because it is a rather bad way of describing a firearm.

The arsenal at Springfield, Massachusetts was the main center for arms production run by the government.
The second one was at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

And for some reason the Model 1855, M/61 and M/63 is often called a Springfield,
despite it also being manufactured at Harpers Ferry before the war.
And at a number of privately owned factories across the north during the war.
And despite the fact that plenty of other firearms was manufactured at the Springfield arsenal.
(Like the M/1842 musket that was also used during the war)

The arsenal at Harpers Ferry was burned by the regular army men when the war broke out, but the damage was not that bad, and the machinery was moved to Richmond and put in use there. And what they made is the "Richmond"

In the eyes of the ordnance departments, it did not matter if you had a M/1855, a M/1863 or Richmond they counted all as the same weapon and issued it like the same weapon.
 

johan_steele

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So how is it the firearms should be refered to? Instead of refering to all of them as a springfield, your saying that each model should just be refered to along with the M-date springfield, or was only one model year actually called the springfield?
There were a variety of Springfields in use. M1855, M1861,M1863, M1864
 

3rdTennCo.C

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Ok so all were springfields just different model years or production run years, thats what I thought, I over thought it
 

thomas aagaard

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Nomenclature is important...
But often change depending on who you ask, and what their interest is.
If a gun is a 1855 or a 1863 is rather important to a collector or reenactor.
But the ordnance department didn't care when they where issuing guns... but they did care when ordering them and paying for them.

And that make it hard.
I would also not be the least surprised if the army itself did not always use the same Nomenclature... not even in official publications.

"Springfield" is often used for all the models of the rifle musket. And I use it myself.
But it cover a number of different models with smaller differences.

My point is that the name is just as correct for the M/1842 musket... or even the M/1795 flintlock musket
They where all manufactured at the Springfield arsenal.

On this forum, where we are debating the civil war, the context make it clear that an "enfield" is most likely a Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle-musket. (or what ever its official name is)

But Using the name of a town is just a very bad way of naming a gun, considering that the manufactures usually existed for 100+ years and in some cases still do.

Offcause using the Model designation also is not perfect, especially when looking at the 20th century.
And using a longer name like Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle-musket every time is just to long.


So to get back to the original question. " I don't quite know what the differences are "
I would say a "Richmond" is a rifle musket manufactured in Richmond during the civil war, and is a variant of the US model 1855 rifle musket.
 

johan_steele

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Ok so all were springfields just different model years or production run years, thats what I thought, I over thought it
Don’t worry about it. I grew up around firearms and am an amateur collector. Sometimes people take for granted.

Typically an ACW reference to “a Springfield” is a reference to a .58 rifle musket of the M1861 pattern to include all of the contract arms.

What gets really confusing is the large number of officers who didn’t know a Musket from a cannon and who were in charge of the paperwork we rely upon for research today.
 

3rdTennCo.C

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It was really that common for an officer to not now the difference between a cannon amd musket by name? Huh thats an odd one.

Unless maybe some artillery officers refered to their field guns as muskets or something?
 

johan_steele

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It was really that common for an officer to not now the difference between a cannon amd musket by name? Huh thats an odd one.

Unless maybe some artillery officers refered to their field guns as muskets or something?
It was an extreme example. Many didn’t honestly know the difference between an Enfield and a Springfield or a Whitney and a Ballard and didn’t really care.

Not that different than today when many people don’t know a revolver from an automatic.
 

thomas aagaard

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It was really that common for an officer to not now the difference between a cannon amd musket by name? Huh thats an odd one.

Unless maybe some artillery officers refered to their field guns as muskets or something?
There where only about 1000 officers in the US regular army when the war broke out.
At the Battle of Shiloh only the union Divisions where fully commanded by professional officers, at the regimental level and company level all officers where men who until the outbreak of war, had been civilians.

----
One example of counting.
On a list of stuff picked up at Gettysburg after the battle and moved to the Washington arsenal, most officers involved with the collecting and counting used the name "muskets" for the infantry firearm they pick up.
So 800 muskets, another give 339 muskets, 425 muskets...
This have to be both smoothbore muskets and rifle muskets of all models and versions.
(Since we are talking 20.000+ weapons and as such they must represent a wide selection of arms in sue by both sides during the battle)

Some just list "accouterments."
Other list Cartridgeboxes, belts, plates and cap-punches.

One officer lists
10 rifles,
10 saber-belts
2 Caissons and limbers.

Do rifles mean rifled cannons or small arms?
Since he also list 11 Bayonets I guess we are talking a small arm.

The next officer list 2 "Guns-rifled"
Since he is from an artillery battery and also list a gun-carriages and 2 limbers I guess his "guns-rifled" is two cannon.
But we cant be sure. Had he clearly written "2x 12pound Napoleon" or similar, it would have been clear.

And the are plenty of other issues with this list.
 
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3rdTennCo.C

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Makes sense, Im not reading anything right today, its a monday haha

It was an extreme example. Many didn’t honestly know the difference between an Enfield and a Springfield or a Whitney and a Ballard and didn’t really care.

Not that different than today when many people don’t know a revolver from an automatic.
 

musketjon

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Nosecap and butt plate are brass on a Richmond, iron on a "Springfield". The high hump on a Richmond lockplate is just there in profile only, unlike the Springfield which housed the Maynard tape priming system. Other than that, they're pretty much the same.
Jon
 

Craig L Barry

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I have always considered the CS Richmond rifle-musket a variation of the US 1855, since it was made (more or less) from the machinery taken from Harpers Ferry for that particular model. There are differences of course, mostly the omission of the tape primer mechanism but also a few other mostly cosmetic considerations. The Richmond has more in common with the US 1855 than any other US Armory produced rifle musket.
 


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