This Civil War Enfield musket was found recently by a good friend of mine right here in Georgia and has never been in a collection before. While it's not in the best of shape, it has some great Confederate markings. Originally, it was imported and run through the blockade by the Confederacy at the beginning of the Civil War. The top of the buttplate has an engraved inventory number in the 3,900 range. Just forward to the top toe of the buttplate is a weathered but completely legible letter "S" which stands for Scott & Son.
Suppliers in the pipeline to the Confederacy: Scott was one of the five main suppliers in England that fed Enfields from Birmingham and London to the main Confederate buyer who was Archibald Hamilton. Hamilton was superintendent to the London Armoury who supplied a limited number of Enfields to the Confederate government through his factory, but through his intimate knowledge of the British gun trade, filled a much greater role purchasing Enfields from other large makers which extended through their networks of makers. In essence, Hamilton was as proxy for Major Caleb Huse, CSA, who was sent by the Confederate Ordnance Department to secure Enfields for the South. In addition to Scott, the four other suppliers were "K" for Kerr, "F for "Field and Son" (I used to think this Freed but have been corrected on this), "B" for "EP Bond", and "J" for "James". To date, the only one of these suppliers we haven't found is one with a "K" for Kerr. Many Enfields do not have these supplier letters at all, so when we do find one, it's always an extra layer of icing on the cake.
Confederate JS Anchor Marking: To insure that these rifles were consistent in quality, Hamilton and Huse hired a viewer to inspect each rifle. For many years, nobody knew the true identity of JS. Some believed it a man named John Smiles while others believed it was an alias, but in just the past few years, some very strong evidence has surfaced pointing towards a viewer for the British gov't who worked at the London Armory named John Southgate. That Southgate lived just blocks away from the London Armoury, took a leave of absence from his official gov't work around the time these rifles were being inspected for the Confederacy, strongly supports this theory. While I never met him, one thing I can tell you about our mysterious "JS"/Mr. Southgate is that while his mark is precise, he usually didn't apply a great deal of force when making them. As a result, if you're going to find his mark here in the 21st century, you've got to know where he put them and THEN you're really going to have to look for it. The marking we almost always see on these is in the form of a "JS" over an anchor symbol. JS Anchor on this rifle as it was under 150+ years of dirt and crud but we were successful in locating it about an inch past the end of the trigger guard on the belly of the stock. So this is quite a score, 1. It has the blockade number; 2. the initial of the supplier; 3. the JS Anchor. All are visible and intact. The only thing that would be better was if it had its original numbered ramrod...which even in the best of shape, rarely do.
Condition: Overall, this rifle has remained in untouched condition for the past 145 to 150 years. As with many Confederate and Union Enfields that remained across in the South following the Civil War, many had second lives as their roles changed from weapons of war to fowlers and hunting rifles. This one was converted to a fowler (shotgun) and given the quality of the workmanship, probably by a gunsmith as the wood has been slightly contoured in places. The front section of the wood was removed and a pewter cap was made for the forend tip. The rear sight, which was commonly removed by Confederates during the War, is no longer present. Strangely, the front sight is still mostly intact although its been trimmed down a bit. The lock works. The hammer is not your typical Enfield hammer as it has no borderline engraving. Some were made like this but the checkering pattern is different too as the spur is cross-hatched but not within an oval border. Almost all Enfields I've seen have checkering within a border. Given that this Enfield came from GA, this hammer may be from a Confederate Cook & Brothers, Athens GA as it appears to be very similar in shape and style to a Cook Rifle or Carbine. The ramrod is a simple hickory rod. Barrel has good Birmingham proofs with double "25" gauge stamps (.577 caliber). The name "Turner" is located underneath the barrel. There is a name scribed on the right side of the stock which appears to be John Jones. This could be either from the soldier who carried it or a previous owner, but given that Jones is such a common name, it would be tough to ID. This Enfield tells a great story like it is or it could be restored back to its original military configuration. All it needs is some wood, a rod, swivels, bands, and a rear sight...plus a lot of sweat equity. For a Civil War buff on a budget, this is a great chance to get one of the most desirable Confederate marked Enfields without spending several thousand dollars.