This is a fascinating British made Tower Enfield Percussion Cavalry Carbine that was seized by the Chinese Boxers from the British Legation in Peking in June 1900 only to be liberated again by American Troops the following month. In all the years we've been collecting and going to shows, this is the only captured weapon we've ever seen or heard about from that War.
The left side of the stock is carved with the following inscription:
CAPTURED AT PEKIN BY U.S. TROOPS JULY, 1900. ALSO TAKEN BY THE "BOXERS" FROM BRITISH LEGATION BEFORE THE "BOXER" WAR.
It was found in a gun shop about 25 years ago in the upper Mid-West. Other than the inscription, we have very little information about it.
The Boxers were part of a movement to remove foreign invaders and Western influences from China. The cities of Tianjin and the foreign Legations and Cathedral in Peking were attacked in June 1900. In Peking, a great number of Western foreigners as well as Chinese Christians took refuge in the Foreign Legations. Since several of these Embassies were close together, they were fortified and connected to ward off the Boxers. The Boxers lay siege to the foreign Legations for 55 days from June to Mid-August 1900 when an Expeditionary Force from 8 Nations finally quelled the uprising. The American contingent consisted of 295 US Marines and 3125 soldiers from the US Army...many of whom were diverted from fighting in the Phillipines. Here are a couple of good links if you'd like to read up on it:
Overall condition NRA Antique Very Good. The metal has worn to a light silvery grey patina. The wood is a light brown hue with some light handling marks but Very Good+ overall with no chips or cracks, and good wood to metal fit. Its complete with its original swivel, sights, ramrod, and chained nipple protector. In terms of appearance, this carbine is almost identical to the Model 1861 Enfield Pattern Artillery Carbine with the small graduated ladder sight and 5 groove rifling in .577 Caliber. However, it also has a captive ramrod and a sling bar w/saddle ring for Cavalry usage like the Pattern 1856 Carbine. The lock is clearly marked "ENFIELD CARBINE TOWER 1880" with a crown behind the hammer. Perhaps by 1880, the commercial makers of Enfield percussion rifles had merged the 1856 and 1861 Patterns into one gun that could be exported to countries where powder was plentiful but cartridges were in short supply. While lacking in fire-power, this would have been much more suitable for long-term use in a Country like China at the end of the 19th century than a breech loader. The left side of the barrel has a "25" gauge stamp for .577 Caliber and a single Birmingham Proof. So, seems to be a commercially made Enfield Carbine from the Birmingham School of makers just like the ones imported to the Confederacy during the American Civil War. This is probably the latest example of an Enfield Percussion Carbine that we've seen as the British Military were armed with breech loading Martini rifles by 1880. From there, the markings get even more intriguing with symbols pertaining to some type of organization. The top of the barrel is numbered 3617 and has a stamp consisting of two parallel lines attached with 2 pairs of right angles. In addition to that, the left side of the stock is marked with the symbol of an open hand opened out toward some object we can't identify. Excellent mechanics with a near perfect rifled bore. Definitely not your average Enfield Carbine with a super Boxer War capture inscription.