This is a colorful old Enfield Rifle we picked up just recently in Oklahoma. It has the scarce "TC Star" viewer's markings on the bottom of the stock. This marking was only recently identified in the new book, The Confederate Enfield by Captain Steven W. Knott, as part of a small purchase of Birmingham-made Enfields by the state of Louisiana in 1861. True to form, the lockplate was made in Birmingham by Bayliss & Son and dated 1861. Barrel has Birmingham proofs and a "25" gauge marking indicating .577 caliber. There is also a round maker's cartouche on the right side of the stock which is hard to make out but fairly consistent in placement and shape with the Birmingham Small Arms trade markings. The stock has quite a bit of Confederate graffiti with the initials of at least two soldiers who carried this rifle. The right side of the stock has a large five point star lightly outlined at the beginning of the comb. Metal has turned to a dark brown patina with some heavy pitting around the bolster area. Brass has aged to a mellow patina. Wood has a nice light red tone that shows quite a bit of history on its surface as it shows several years of combat.
This rifle was originally a three-bander but the barrel was cut back to 30-9/16". This appears to have been done a long time ago and we feel this may be a wartime alteration. The Confederates were known to shorten battle-damaged rifles for reissue as well as fashioning muskets into cavalry carbines when the demand could not be met. There is also the possibility that this alteration might have occurred after the war but there are several things that suggest otherwise. 1. For starters, someone went to the trouble of dovetailing a slot for the military post front sight near the muzzle. 2. They kept the three-groove rifling as this was not bored out to a shotgun after the war. 3. They moved the nosecap and reshaped the stock in order to fit to the tip of the wood. 4. It looks old! Most civilians during the postwar years would never have bothered to go to this degree of trouble in retaining the front sight, nose cap, and rifling. However, at some point later, they did remove the sights which may also be an additional wartime alteration. The Confederates were not big fans of the adjustable ladder sights and since they were silver soldered to the barrel, it was fairly easy to knock them off and throw them away. On this rifle, they removed the rear sight and knocked out the post front from its dovetail. Instead, they put in a V notch on top of the rear band and placed a short pinched brass front sight indicating the gun was still being used as a rifle and probably not a postwar-era shotgun. It will need a ramrod and swivels which are easy to find. All in all, a very interesting and scarce Louisiana-purchased Enfield!