Confederate JS/Anchor Marked & Inventory Numbered P1853 Rifle-Musket
Of the various contractors to supply arms to the Confederacy the firm of Sinclair, Hamilton and Company was one of the most important to the Confederate war effort. No less than five contracts between Sinclair, Hamilton and Co and the Confederate Government are known to have been entered into, of which the second contract is the best well know.
The second Sinclair, Hamilton and Company contract was for 30,000 long Enfields, and 10,000 short Enfield rifles. This contract, which required the delivery of the arms between October of 1861 and April of 1862. The arms supplied in these shipments are easily identified by the inspector markings and serial numbers applied to them.
The 30,000 "long" Pattern 1853 Rifle-Muskets specified in this contract were marked with a JS over anchor viewer's mark behind the rear trigger guard extension, which is believed to be the mark of John Southgate. The buttlates on these examples are also serialized. These muskets were engraved with numbers ranging from 1 to 10,000 in three series. The first series of muskets are marked with the serial number only. The second and third series muskets are marked with an "A" or "B" prefix respectively. In addition to the numbers being engraved on the buttplates of the muskets, the numbers were also engraved onto the ramrods and bayonets.
Sinclair, Hamilton and Company relied on five furnishers to complete their contract, and the arms delivered by each contractor are marked on the top of the comb just forward of the buttplate tang with a single letter indicating the firm that delivered the arm.
The firms that delivered arms to fill this order were Parker Field and Company (indicated by an F), C.W. James (indicated by a J), E.P. Bond (indicated by a B), James Kerr (indicated by a K), and W.C. Scott (indicated by a S).
The heavily used Pattern 1853 Rifle-Musket offered here is a textbook example of one of the 30,000 "long" Enfields delivered as part of Sinclair, Hamilton and Company's second contract. This particular example is a very early gun, numbered 95 on the buttplate. This would indicate that this gun was probably part of the cargo of the Bermuda, which successfully ran the blockade in September of 1861.
This musket was furnished by the Birmingham firm of C.W. James and as such is marked with a "J" furnisher's mark on the top of the stock's comb. The stock roundel also names James as the maker as well as on the belly of the stock. As per surviving correspondence from Sinclair, Hamilton and Company 10,000 of the 30,000 "long" Enfields delivered in their second contract were furnished by C.W. James.
This musket has no doubt seen quite a bit of hard use. The lock reaches half cock, but will not reach full cock. There is considerable burnout behind the hammer, and the bolster area of the barrel is significantly pitted. The lock of this musket is marked 1861 over Tower forward of the hammer, with a crown at the rear of the lock. The barrel, although heavily pitted still shows Birmingham proofs.
The stock has some minor grain cracks, and a more major crack extending from the rear of the barrel channel back to the rear lock screw washer. The split is still fairly tight and is in no danger of breaking through the wrist. The stock appears to have been lightly sanded, which has lightened the markings on the roundel as well as the C.W. James stamp on the belly of the stock. Both stamps, as well as the JS anchor stamp at the rear of the trigger guard, are still, however, quite visible. There are some abrasions just above the JS anchor stamp, but they do not prevent the mark from being seen. Additionally, what appears to be a "Y" has been carved onto the left side of the stock. The trigger guard also has the initials "W W K" lightly scratched into its surface.
Unfortunately the barrel and stock on this musket have been cut. The barrel now measures 36 and 1/8 inches, while the stock has been shortened to just forward of the middle barrel band. A small nail has been driven into the left side of the middle (now front) band to help secure it. The rear sight has been removed and the bore has been reamed smooth and measures about .60 caliber now.
All in all, this is a good representative example of one of the most desirable Confederate marked Enfields, especially with such a low numbered buttplate. If you never thought you would be able to afford a Confederate numbered Enfield this is the gun for you.