Standard Model of 1815 type 2 Musket with 1813 dated lock
American muskets from the end of the 18th century and early 19th century have long been a difficult area of study for the arms student. Variations abound, even withing single year production at one armory. Indeed, the commonly used "Model" 1795, 1798, and 1808 designations have no real historical documentation. Rather, US martial flintlock muskets produced through the War of 1812 were all "Charleville pattern" arms and had their genesis at the Springfield and Harpers Ferry Armories using French muskets are pattern pieces.
In 1812 design began on a truly American musket. The musket would be adopted on December 8, 1812 as the "standard" for future National and Private Armory production. The new muskets had several innovations not seen in longarms produced at either National Armory up to this point. The most salient of which is the newly designed "Wickham type" stud-type barrel band springs. The new musket was also designed with a lock featuring a pointed rear and a detachable brass pan. The cock shape was changed as well, from the traditional flat with beveled edges to a convex faced design. Overall, the new pattern muskets, 5 of which had been produced at Harpers Ferry and 6 at Springfield by 1813, bore a general resemblance to what would become the Model 1822 Musket.
Exigencies resulting from the War of 1812 delayed the production of the Model 1812 until 1815. For reasons unknown the majority of the innovations in the new design were set aside when production commenced. The lock shape, and convex shaped cock were retained, as well as the Wickham stud-type band springs, but the brass pan as well as the newly designed triggerguard were omitted. This change in design and the delayed production required a new designation from the Ordnance Department, and the research of Peter Schmidt has identified that the most accurate name for these muskets is the Standard Model of 1815.
The earliest Model 1815 muskets were produced with the last remaining components from the 1795 type IV muskets produced at the Springfield Armory. Generally speaking the lock shape is the only distinct feature that separates these Model 1812 type 1 muskets from the earlier 1795 type muskets.
As stocks of old parts were used up new components were introduced, and by mid-1815 the Armory was producing what we know as the Model 1812 type 2 was in production. This iteration of the Standard Model of 1815 is the closest that the Springfield Armory came to manufacturing muskets based on the pattern arms delivered in 1813. These muskets are identifiable by their high comb stocks that feature a well defined cheek rest on the left side of the butt, as well as the usage of the unique Wickham style stud-band springs. Production of the Model 1812 type 2 would continue until the end of June 1816. During that time Springfield had manufactured a total of 9,522 Model 1815 Muskets. Of those, 3,550 were assembled in 1816 and 5,972 were assembled in 1815. The Springfield Armory did not distinguish between the Type 1 and Type 2 muskets, and as such Type 1 production is included in the figures for 1815, although based on their scarcity it seems likely that their production did not amount to more than a very few thousand at most.
Production of the Model 1815 would continue through 1817 during which the design would slowly change as stocks of old components were exhausted and new Model 1816 pattern parts were introduced. In the summer of 1816 the use of the Wickham band springs was discontinued in favor of conventional forward facing band springs. Shortly thereafter, the height of the stock's comb was reduced giving the musket more of an appearance of a Model 1816. Further changes were made in 1817 in the lock's markings before all old components were exhausted and production of the Model 1816 commenced in January 1818.
In addition to the chief "types" described previously two more variations of the Model 1815 were produced in 1816. The first has been described as a "Special Purpose" musket. The Special Purpose Model 1815 type 2 is essentially identical to standard production muskets, however the barrels measure about 38 and 5/8 inches as opposed to the nominally 42 inch barrels used on standard muskets. These muskets are quite scarce today and apparently did not constitute a significant portion of the Model 1815 type 2 muskets completed in 1816.
The second variation of the Model 1815 type 2 consists of muskets manufactured with new-old-stock 1813 dated locks. These muskets are identical in length and finish to standard Model 1815 type 2 Muskets, with the only difference being the use of a recontoured 1813 dated lock. The locks were apparently finished prior to production of the Model 1815, as all lock components are correct for 1813 production muskets. The rear portion of the lock plates were milled to replicate the shape of standard Model 1815 locks. Because the locks are slightly shorter than new-made Model 1815 locks the lock screw holes are drilled slightly closer together.
It is unknown how many of these muskets were assembled. However, all known examples are marked 1816 on the buttplate tang, indicating that these were likely assembled in early 1816. In the January to March quarter of 1816 only 1,350 muskets were manufactured at Springfield, so there were likely no more than a couple hundred of muskets produced with 1813 locks fabricated.
The musket offered here is a very nice example of a scarce Standard Model 1815 type 2 (Model 1812 type 2) fabricated with an 1813 dated lock in its original flintlock configuration. This musket is completely original with the sole exception of the top jaw screw, which is a period replacement.
The musket's lock is complete and functional and has all of the correct features of an 1813 dated lock including the flat beveled edged cock and frizzen spring with a diamond shaped final. The lock is marked forward of the cock with a script US over an American Eagle with its head turned towards the rear of the musket, over arched Springfield. The tail of the lock is clearly stamped with the lock's original date of manufacture, 1813. The flint battery components are all marked with a small "o" mating mark. I have noted the mark on the frizzen, frizzen screw, hammer screw, and top jaw. The metal components show a semi-bright to pewter patina with some scattered darker areas. Most of the metal components have some light to moderate pinprick pitting from a lack of maintenance over the years. The pitting is more concentrated on the sideplate and lock screw heads. The buttplate has a darker patina than the remainder of the musket and is fairly well pitted, although the 1816 manufacture date is still visible atop the buttplate tang. The barrel shows the correct proofs marks for a M1815 type 2, which consist of US stamped forward of the barrel's tang, as well as P over Eagle Head over V; although the latter marks are somewhat lightly struck.
The stock rates very good to near excellent and shows a number of inspector's cartouches including a script ET on the stock flat for inspector Elisha Toby. There are a few scattered handling marks on the stock, but overall it is very near mint.
All in all, this is a very nice example of an exceedingly rare US martial flintlock musket. Every collection of early American martial flintlocks needs a Model 1815, and this one will fill the spot quite nicely.