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Confederate JS Anchor marked P1856 Cavalry Carbine

Confederate JS Anchor marked P1856 Cavalry Carbine

SKU: FA-18-0038

     Given the massive numbers of "Enfield" pattern arms imported by both sides during the Civil War the Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbine is a very rare piece. Surviving documents show only 250 purchased by the United States, while the Confederacy is believed to have purchased somewhere around 10,000 of the carbines. Although that figure is substantially larger than what is attributed to Federal agents, it still represents less than 4% of total Confederate purchases of British arms, even if one uses the more conservative estimate of 300,000 arms imported by Confederate agents.

     Their scarcity on the collector's market today is no doubt due to their hard use in the hands of Confederate cavalry, who were chronically short of proper cavalry arms, as well as their capture and disposal by Federal troops who had no need for cumbersome muzzleloading carbines. The later factor can be perfectly illustrated by the following report from the 7th Indiana Cavalry which documents the destruction of a full 40% of Confederate imported Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbines!

"On the 21st of December (1864) the Seventh Cavalry moved from Memphis with a cavalry expedition under General Grierson. On the 28th Forrest's dismounted camp at Vernon, Mississippi, was surprised and captured, and a large quantity of rebel stores destroyed, including sixteen railroad cars, loaded with pontoons for Hood's army, and four thousand new English carbines."

     Surviving documents show that imports of the P1856 Cavalry Carbine generally occurred in the second half of the war, with the majority of the guns (as many as 9,700) were delivered no earlier than July 1863. Currently all known imported Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbines have locks marked Barnett, E.P. Bond, or Tower, and in a very few cases Parker Field & Son. Relatively small numbers of P1856 Carbines show Confederate viewers marks, which is consistent with the marking process becoming less stringent as the war progressed. Confederate viewer marked examples show either JS/Anchor of Anchor/S marks forward of the buttplate tang.

     The carbine offered here is a good example of a Confederate imported, and viewer marked Pattern 1856 Cavalry Carbine. This gun was manufacture by John Edward Barnett & Sons of London; the most prolific of English manufacturers associated with the Confederacy. The carbine also shows a very crisp JS/Anchor stamp forward of the buttplate tang. This well known viewer's mark is believed to be the mark of John Southgate who was employ