This old Confederate-marked Enfield has seen far better days but if you look closely, you'll find it has about as much history to tell as any you will find used in the Civil War by the Confederacy. For starters, this gun was born in 1861 inside the London workshops of Parker Field & Son with the blockade number "1732" on the upper tang of the buttplate. Also has the correct supplier's mark on top of the stock which is "F" for "Field". Note: Parker Field was not just the maker of this rifle but one of the five main suppliers of English-made Enfield rifles going to the Confederacy during 1861-62. There is no JS Anchor inspector mark visible on the bottom of the stock...given the condition of the wood, it has obviously worn away. However, this rifle does make up for a bit...as it's from very scarce 1861 contract for the state of Georgia. Note the "G" on the side of the stock. These Georgia contract Enfields are among the best of the best in terms of documentation. In Firepower From Abroad, the author Wiley Sword discusses these Georgia contract Enfields from what ships they came on, to where they landed, and even which regiments received them. Beyond that, this rifle retains the initials of at least two different soldiers who carried it...including one Rebel whose last name must have ended in "G" as he placed his first two initials in front of the "G" for Georgia. At some point during the war, this rifle was either battle-damaged or recovered from a battlefield...and sent to a Confederate arsenal and converted from a 3-band rifle to a 2-band short rifle. We have shown this rifle to two well-seasoned Enfield collectors (separately) who've seen it all...both expressed strongly their belief that this is a Confederate arsenal conversion and not a civilian post-war alteration. The Confederates were excellent battlefield scroungers and they would recover anything that could be salvaged and put back into service...including Union weapons. The key giveaways are the fact that the front sight was recovered and properly relocated to the muzzle of the shortened length. The stock was left in military form...so not cut down to a half stock. The fore-end cap was discarded, but this was noted by our experts as having been correct...some caps were retained...others were not. We'd also like to point out that the bore retains all of its original 3-groove rifling. Post-war conversions to shotguns usually had their barrels bored smooth. That was not the case here. It also retains its original rear rifle sight. That said, between the Confederate markings, Georgia Contract, soldier's initial, and Confederate conversion to a short rifle, this is ONE interesting rifle.
Condition-wise, yes, it's in poor shape. The wood is especially bad with quite a bit of erosion in places. When we found this rifle, most of the eroded areas had been filled with bondo or filler of some sort. We were able to removed most of it and if desired, I'm sure the rest could be expunged from the stock. I don't know if this gun was recovered from a battlefield or just left out in the elements. I'll tell you a story that my grandfather told me about 20 years ago. My grandfather was born in 1904 in a small town in south Georgia. While he knew very little about guns, he did know his grandfather fought for the Confederacy under General McLaws and was shot in the leg at Chancellorsville, VA in 1863. That wound caused him to miss the battle of Gettysburg and may be the reason our family exists today. At any rate, my grandfather, or "Fodder" as I called him, knew I liked guns from an early age and one day told me about something that happened to him during his childhood. One day while playing a game of hide-and-go-seek with his friends, he hid underneath an old house and crawled into a pile of what he vividly described as "old Enfield rifles". This would have been around circa 1910-15. One can only imagine how many Civil War weapons ended up under houses, in barns, smoke houses, and left out in fields by youngsters playing Cowboys and Indians. That may be the case here. The only incorrect components on this rifle are the upper tang screw for the buttplate and the rear band is a British Baddely type with Brit War Dept markings...this would not be correct for the Civil War. I may have a proper band for this rifle...and will look. Otherwise, the gun is original. The lock is in good working order. In spite of the scale on the metal, the surfaces are actually pretty decent and the markings are in pretty good shape. There are a couple different directions one could go with this Enfield...left as-is as a war-weary semi-relic....or could be cleaned up and the wood restored to a more pleasing appearance. Either way, if you're looking for a real Confederate Enfield that was truly there and saw action in the Civil War, they don't come much better (in terms of history and markings) or cheaper than this.