1862 Confederate Richmond Rifle Musket
I brought a family heirloom, a Civil War musket that's been passed down for a long time.
Do you know anything about your relative who had this gun?
His name was Silas Bishop.
And he was either in the 1st Virginia Regiment or the 41st Virginia Regiment, an infantry company in Richmond, Virginia. And he was wounded in 1862.
Well, what you have here is a Confederate-made, what they call a Richmond rifle musket because it was made at the Confederate arsenal in Richmond, Virginia. At the beginning of the war, there were very few arms manufactories of any type in the South. And in April of 1861, the Confederates captured the Harpers Ferry arsenal, in what at the time was Virginia, and removed all of that machinery where they made U.S. rifle muskets and rifles to Richmond. And that allowed them to set up an armory to manufacture rifle muskets for the infantry to use. For all practical purposes, this is a sort of simplified version of the U.S. 1855 rifle musket that was in production at Harpers Ferry. However, they didn't have the ability to manufacture the complicated automatic Maynard tape priming system that was part of the lock of the 1855 rifle musket. So they made a simplified version, but the remnants of that lock system remained in these guns. The very first ones have a very high hump where the lock plate comes up here almost to the bottom of the hammer. And by '62, they're starting to grind down this a little bit, and this is sort of what we would call a type-two rifle musket, in that it's got a medium-sized hump. Eventually, they grind the hump all the way down, they're using new dies, and it's looking more like what you would consider to be a standard Civil War rifle musket. Some of the ways we know that this is a real Richmond rifle musket are some of the features. First of all, it's clearly marked with the "C.S. Richmond" mark on the lock plate, dated 1862. It also has some other features. The U's on the barrel bands are stamped in kind of a funky offset way compared to a U.S. rifle musket. That's because they're working by hand, stamping them by hand, and not holding them in a jig. One of the other interesting features is, the butt plate is made of brass instead of iron. So they're using brass, which they can cast easily, not use a more important resource for something that doesn't really affect the fighting capability of the firearm. The gun's in nice, untouched shape, has the original Richmond rear sight. The only thing I see on it that might be replaced is the upper sling swivel. It hasn't been abused. It's all complete. And it's a good example of a pretty scarce gun. They made somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 of these three-band rifle muskets. By 1865, Richmond falls, they're out of production, and it's all over. So for the most part, these guns were made from the end of 1861 through the very beginning of 1865. Okay. For insurance purposes, I would probably insure this gun at about $8,000.
It's a nice example. If you can substantiate all the information about your ancestor and substantiate that it absolutely was his gun in some way, then we can look at the value increasing substantially. As much as 100%.
Boy, that's surprisingly valuable. I had no idea it was worth that much.
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