Excellent Miles Greenwood Altered M1812 type 4
Miles Greenwood established the Eagle Ironworks in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1832. The firm primarily focused on manufacturing various common iron items such as "Stoves, Hollow Ware,
Sad Irons, Dog Irons, Wagon Boxes, Plow Moulds, and some other ordinary articles". By 1861 the firm was the second largest ironwords in the "western" United States. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Greenwood threw his full capacity behind the Union War effort, first manufacturing anchors for pontoon bridges, and then by altering longarms for both the Federal Government and the State of Ohio.
The first musket alterations Greenwood was contracted to perform were on contract for the State of Ohio. Greenwood agreed to alter to percussion and rifle Ohio's stocks of flintlock muskets, as well as rifle Model 1842 muskets the State owned for $1.25 per musket. In addition to rifling the arms, Greenwood was to install long range rear sights on 1/20th (5%) of the arms for an extra $1.75 each.
Greenwood began work on Ohio's arms in the summer of 1861, with the first delivery of 1,000 muskets taking place on July 24. By the end of the year the Ohio Adjutant General's report stated that 16,918 flintlock muskets and 8,406 Model 1842 muskets (a total of 25,324 muskets) had been rifled; a rate of almost 1,200 guns per week! Based on the total arms delivered to Ohio it can be calculated that just under 850 muskets were rifled and sighted.
In addition to his work for the State of Ohio, Greenwood also had a contract with the US Ordnance Department to percussion alter, rifle, and sight 10,000 Austrian Muster 1842 Muskets from their original Augustin-Console tube lock configuration. Greenwood would deliver 5,000 of the muskets in December 1861, the balance being subcontracted to Hall, Carroll, and Company.
The muskets altered by Greenwood were percussioned with the National Armory, or cone-in-barrel, method. The muskets' barrels were rifled with a shallow 3 groove rifling. Those muskets that were also equipped with a soldered-on long-range rear sight feature a flip-up type sight of the same general look as the US Model 1855 rear sight, although the sight is slightly shorter. The 2 5/8 inch base is graduated on the left side from 100 to 400 yards, and the leaf sight is graduated, also on the left, from 500 to 800 yards with an ungraduated "V" notch at the top for 900 yards. The front sights of flintlock muskets altered by Greenwood were filed off of the rear strap of the front barrel band. A new 1/2 inch tall brass blade sight was soldered onto the front strap of the barrel band. The heads of the ramrods were also cupped, with the most commonly encountered version having a new head brazed to the original ramrod.
After Greenwood's alteration work was completed at the end of 1861. After that, the Eagle Ironworks was involved in producing the first 6 Gatling guns, which were destroyed by Southern arsonists. Greenwood also cast cannons and undertook the manufacture of ironclad ship turrets for the US Navy.
The musket altered here is very unusual for a Greenwood alteration. The overwhelming majority of flintlock muskets altered by Greenwood were of the M1822/28 configuration; whereas this example is a Model 1812 (Standard Model of 1815) Type 4.
The Model 1812 was the brainchild of Marine T. Wickham and has the distinction of being the first US designed musket. Prior to it's adoption in 1815, American military muskets were of the French "Charleville" style and based on, or on American copies of, the French M1763/66 muskets. Unfortunately, Wickham's design was never fully implemented as constraints of the War of 1812 delayed production. By the time an approximation version of Wickham's design made it into production the Ordnance Department was already moving forward with designing what would become the Model 1816 musket. The pell-mell adoption of Wickham's design resulted in the Model 1812 being produced in no less than 4 different primary variations as well as a shorter "Special Purpose" model. With so many variations the chief distinguishing feature of Model 1812 muskets is their flat, beveled, edged lock that ends in a gentle point. The locks feature an integrally forged round-bottomed iron pans.
Our musket was produced in early 1817, the last year of production of the Model 1812, and features a very unusual lock marking that was used very briefly prior to the adoption of Model 1816 style lock markings. The front of the lock features a forward facing eagle over US, while the rear of the lock is marked with a vertical arched SPRINGFIELD over 1817. This style of lock marking is generally similar to musket produced at the Springfield Arsenal in 1806. This marking was probably only in use for the first quarter of 1817, in which a total of 1,900 muskets were completed. Given the overall rarity of this lock marking style it is quite possible that less than 1,000 muskets were marked in this manner.
Overall, this musket is in very nice condition. The musket is mechanically excellent, with the lock functioning crisply at both half and full cock. The mostly bright iron components show some areas of spotty patina, mainly along the rear of the barrel and a concentrated patch on the side plate. The balance of the metal shows a dulled National Armory bright finish. There is a 1.75 inch long mar on the left side of the barrel that appears to have come from a vise. The lock shows very clear markings as detailed prior. The 1817 lock date matches the date on the barrel tang as well. The pan recess on the lock has been filled with brass fill, which is correct for Greenwood alterations. The barrel's proofs are very clear, with a P over an eagle head over V. The breech of the barrel is also marked P 51, which I believe to be a form of alteration serialization. The percussion cone retains most of its fire blued finish and is in excellent condition. A small piece of the up-turned cone seat has chipped off, but the cone remains well secured. There are several other subinspector marks on other iron parts, as well as the appropriate US on the top of the butt plate tang. The musket retains both of its original sling swivels, both of which are retained by the correct screws used on Model 1812 muskets.
The long range rear sight is complete and functions very well. The yardage graduations are lightly struck, but still visible. The front sight is the correct Greenwood high brass type and is appropriately installed on the forward strap of the front band. The ramrod has a reattached cupped head for conical ammunition that is the most commonly employed rammer style on Greenwood's muskets.
The stock rates in very good to near excellent condition. The wood grain still shows general "feathering" indicating this musket must not have seen much use at all. The right side of the butt stock is marked with a large 3 on its lower edge. The stock flat opposite the lock has two wonderful inspector cartouches; one being script EB over 3, which is the arsenal reinspection cartouche of Elizur Bates showing this to be a 3rd Class arm; and the other being script ET for Elisha Toby, or perhaps Edwin Taylor, who initially inspected this musket. The stock also shows several wonderfully crisp subinspector marks; one atop the comb near the butt plate tang, and another at the rear of the trigger guard tang. There are a few small scratches and dents scattered over the musket, and one small punch hole that is a puzzle to me on the front of the left side of the butt stock near the wrist.