Tell me more! What type of muzzleloaders were used during the New Mexico Campaign? (Kind of a rehash)

Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
Hey folks, so interesting story, I'm looking for a particular Fowler, or muzzleloading shotgun of a certain design. The catch is that the Fowler in question would have to resemble something used during 1862 New Mexico Campaign. Since Sibley recruited men mainly from East Texas I'm curious if anyone know of any East Texas gun smiths that were around a couple decades before the War? Possibly even from other places that we're in close proximity to the South but not in Texas. States like Louisana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama.

This post presupposes that there was a "Texas style" of Fowler, or at bare minimum, Fowlers made in Texas, or non military smoothbores used by Sibley's boys.

I've asked a question similar to this before, but I actually didn't know many of soldiers in New Mexico didn't have military grade weapons, many provided their own. Here is our good friend, Rusk County Avengers bringing in his expertise on the topic.


"I'm away from my library right now, but as I recollect from several first hand accounts by men of the Sibley Brigade they were armed with principally, and in order from most to least:"

1. "Shotguns- Every account I've read mentions very large numbers of shotguns. Single barrel ones probably outnumbered double-barrels"

2. "Colt revolvers- Again everyone mentions them being common, if I were to guess from numbers sold in Texas in order from most to least, I'd say M1849 pockets, M1851 Navies, M1848 Dragoons, and very small few of fluted cylinder M1860 Armies, (I say small number of them because around 200-300 made it to dealers in San Antonio before secession and right after)."

3. "Squirrel Rifles"- Most accounts mention that there were a few around, but never in any large number. Most Squirrel Rifles in Texas back then were full stocked Southern Poor Boy rifles running from .32-.40 calibers. I doubt many of them were around, simply because keeping them supplied with their round ball ammo would be a major pain that Texas and the CSA had no time to make for general issue, and were a royal pain to load compared to shotguns and Minie rifles, especially on horseback."

4. "D-Guard Bowie knives- I bet a few made it out there."

5. "Lances- Yeah I think we all know the story...."

"The main thing I've always noticed from first hand accounts is that there is almost no mention of military arms. The Sibley Brigade/Army of New Mexico was probably the only army to take to the field without any or only small numbers. This is probably because the endeavor was almost entirely promoted and carried out by the State of Texas with the CSA only giving them permission to go for it, but very little material support, after all Federal armies threatening places like Richmond and Nashville was more important that Texans going wild in New Mexico for either gold in California or redemption from the Republic of Texas's failed Santa Fe Expedition."

Rusk put me onto the Idea that Fowlers were probably the most common long arm used. Ok, so now that's established what do you think those Fowlers looked like? If you know a little bit about American long guns of the 18th and 19th century, you know that different makers had different styles, and depending upon what reigon you were in the USA back then, that would also effect the look of said firearm. Let me give some examples.

Check out this the "1840s ish" Fowler made in Alabama. https://www.gunsinternational.com/g...m-antique-fowler-shotgun.cfm?gun_id=101183307

Or maybe this "Virginia" style fowler? http://sittingfoxmuzzleloaders.com/k-57/

Or maybe this Fowler that was made in England? It could've been an import right? https://www.ima-usa.com/products/or...piece-by-clarke-of-london?variant=26169789765

Maybe in towns like Marshal, Rusk, and Nagodoches? Maybe they had gunsmiths that would've provided the men of the New Mexico expedition with their weapons?

Thoughts?

Oh, and here is the original post I wrote about the weapons used in New Mexico that I cite. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/we...ted-volunteers-during-the-nm-campaign.169927/
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
My oh, my......I really opened a can of worms!

As far as gunsmiths making longarms here in East Texas, they were few and very far between. Only one I can recall is Short, Biscoe and Company in Tyler, and if I remember right they advertised they're rifles guaranteed to kill an abolitionist at a hundred yards or something along those lines. (There were abolitionists around burning stuff left and right, including the county seat near my home town, Henderson, TX in 1860.) I'm sure they're rifles were of the halfstock variety, and I think there's one in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco. Makers making fowlers and shotguns didn't exist at all, and what few there were made rifles.

Short and them in Tyler opened up in the late 1850's, later during the war they're place becoming, more or less, the Tyler Ordnance Works, building the famed, if rather crude "Tyler Texas Rifle" which along with gunmakers in Palestine and elsewhere provided a lot of guns for the Indian Nations and some Texas units.

The small town gunsmith building guns locally, as in colonial times, was literally not really a thing as it was in the South anymore by the time of the CW. Most of your guns sold were brought in from elsewhere, fowlers/shotguns mostly from Belgium, and double-barreled. Sure there were still makers around, but only in certain areas, like famously Missouri, or like Goucher back east making the "Southern Poor Boy" in percussion, but that design was kind of on its way out.

Your small town gunmakers had to get they're materials locally or brought in from elsewhere. In East Texas both presented a major problem. The iron is poor for gun making, (which I think got rediscovered in the war with guns blowing up), and there was no railroads, so it had to come in by wagon or on a boat, the main inland harbor being Jefferson, and all the years I've half-heartedly looked through history like this I've seen no case of local gunmakers bringing stuff in. Cheap imported goods trumped them in a MAJOR way.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
This article doesn't really cover this subject, but is a good place to start on learning the ins and outs of gun makers in East Texas as far as online resources go, but they were CW, except the previously mentioned Tyler maker there were none practically speaking:


https://americansocietyofarmscollec...-Contract-Rifles-of-the-Texas-State-Milit.pdf

As for what you ought to grab, the fowler on Guns International isn't a bad choice. The kit from Sitting Fox, (I've actually been eyeing it myself in anticipation of getting into gun building as a starting point), is pretty useless for any CW impression or representation. That style is really pretty much solely Revolutionary/French & Indian era, and the way guns got used up, you wouldn't have seen very many in the CW, and the men most likely wouldn't have tried using them if there for them. The IMA one is really no good either.

Gunderson Militaria has a lot of muzzle-loading double barrel shotguns that fit the bill for a NM Campaign CS gun right nicely:


https://www.gundersonmilitaria.com/longarm.html

Oh and finally I've never heard of a Texas style fowler particular to here. Usually you have "Schools" of gun making like the "Lancaster School" in Pennsylvania, or "Carolina School" but that's all limited to Colonial and Early Federal eras. The whole concept was pretty dead by the time of the CW. Mass-produced goodies from companies Colt, from Belgium, and so on killed it.

After all why import to the relatively backwoods of East Texas hand made locks, and barrels with all that separate parts, and proper stock wood, when the hardware or general store across the street is bringing in mass-produced double-barrel shotguns and rifles from bigger makers for a lot cheaper than your gonna charge for your hand-made product.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
Oh and one more thing @W. Caldwell-37thNC I really appreciate the heaps of praise and faith in what I got to say, but there are others WAY more knowledgeable than me.

@Grayrock Volunteer is one man I'd trust to know the subject, he's got an encyclopedic knowledge on the subject of guns I could never dream of matching.
Thanks for writing all that Rusk. So something like this would've probably been used?

http://www.antiquearmsinc.com/new-orleans-dealer-marked-double-barrel-shotgun-antique.htm
 

Story

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
Gunderson Militaria has a lot of muzzle-loading double barrel shotguns that fit the bill for a NM Campaign CS gun right nicely:
https://www.gundersonmilitaria.com/longarm.html
There's one there that'd make a good template for a miltarized double barrel, had front and rear sling swivels fitted.
https://www.gundersonmilitaria.com/shotgunpercclarkmemphisGmGcz067.html
At $2250, it's really pricey (I've seen doubles that *look* Confederate, with side saddle ring bars professionally fitted, for only $450. YMMV).

If I was living in Texas in 1860, I'd want this because it's *more* (and the price is right)
https://www.gundersonmilitaria.com/shotgunperchollissheath.html
3257c0838f03d5ae6c0510ce35e8929c.jpg
 

Story

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
Hey folks, so interesting story, I'm looking for a particular Fowler, or muzzleloading shotgun of a certain design. The catch is that the Fowler in question would have to resemble something used during 1862 New Mexico Campaign.
To what end?
1) Live fire
2) Reenacting
3) Wall hanger
4) All of the above
 

Lampasas Bill

Corporal
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
For what it's worth, a fair proportion of the companies in the 4th, 5th, and 7th Texas Mounted Volunteers of the Sibley Brigade were not from East Texas but from Central Texas, much of which was then on the western frontier of settlement. My great uncle, 18-year-old Frank Miller from Atascosa County, enlisted in San Antonio in Daniel Ragsdale's company of the 5th Texas, Col. Tom Green's regiment. Other companies of the 5th were organized around Waco and Austin in Central Texas, as well as in East Texas. Frank's horse was valued at $80 and his equipment at $30. Each man was to provide his own arms.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
For what it's worth, a fair proportion of the companies in the 4th, 5th, and 7th Texas Mounted Volunteers of the Sibley Brigade were not from East Texas but from Central Texas, much of which was then on the western frontier of settlement. My great uncle, 18-year-old Frank Miller from Atascosa County, enlisted in San Antonio in Daniel Ragsdale's company of the 5th Texas, Col. Tom Green's regiment. Other companies of the 5th were organized around Waco and Austin in Central Texas, as well as in East Texas. Frank's horse was valued at $80 and his equipment at $30. Each man was to provide his own arms.
Very interesting. How do you know the worth of the horse?
 

Story

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
Very interesting. How do you know the worth of the horse?
Those were recorded in various unit recruiting records, that have made their way to FOLD3.
https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/tda/civilwarmilitaryrollshttps://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30073/tsl-30073.htmlHorse, horse tack, weapons (rifle, shotgun, revolver) were noted when present.
As I understand it, the value was generally set by recruiting officers, based on local market values.

Focusing on histories of these three units might shed more light on who carried what.

As Canby gathered his forces in New Mexico, Sibley raised the 4th​, 5th​, and 7th​ Texas Mounted Volunteers, along with two batteries of artillery for service in New Mexico, recruited predominantly from southeastern Texas. [6] Horses and equipment were a problem from the start. Stocks of captured Union supplies were quickly exhausted, and many soldiers brought their own horses and weapons with them. Rifles were in short supply, and many Confederate soldiers were equipped with shotguns[7]—of limited use except at short range, and some troops even embarked on the campaign armed with lances!
https://handsacrosstimeproject.net/stories/tag/22nd+Texas+Cavalry
 

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