This is an original Confederate ID'd Palmetto Model 1842 Musket. WARNING! This is a PROJECT and it will require some time and effort on your part. However, it will be well worth the effort! Over the years, if we've learned one thing about projects...Before you start one, make sure you PICK the RIGHT PROJECT! You're going to be investing a fair amount of YOUR TIME and MONEY. By picking the right one, you will insure that at the end of the journey, that your TIME and MONEY will have worked just as hard for you as you did to acquire it! Nobody likes to spin their wheels and this is gun that there's plenty of room left to make a great profit once the restoration is complete. Being a quite rare and potentially valuable Confederate Palmetto Musket this is the RIGHT kind of Project to undertake.
This musket was built by William Glaze of the Palmetto Armory in Columbia, SC for the state of South Carolina in the early 1850's in anticipation of War with the North. However, when a compromise in congress was reached over slavery issues, War was delayed for about another 10 years. Given the foresight, one could say these were the first Confederate weapons. Glaze's contract with South Carolina called for 1,000 Percussion Rifles, 6,000 Percussion Muskets, 1000 Dragoon Pistols, 2000 DragoonSabers, and 526 Artillery sabers. When war finally came a few years later in the Spring of 1861, these muskets were quickly pressed into service. Furthermore, during the first weeks of the War, Glaze converted about 3700 of his originally smooth-bored 1842 Muskets he built in 1852 to rifles by boring them with 3 groove rifling and adding a fixed rear sight. It is documented that Sherman's Army destroyed 1,740 .69 Caliber Muskets on February 17, 1865 after capturing the Old Citadel Arsenal in Columbia. Some of which were certainly Palmetto muskets. Today, these Palmetto muskets are quite rare and like all Confederate weapons, quite valuable!
This particular musket has had its wood and barrel cut down from 42" to 33" many years ago for Civilian use as a shotgun. We're pricing it accordingly at about 1/4 the price of a complete untouched Palmetto musket. At the recent Nashville and Dalton Civil War shows, we saw two Palmetto muskets priced between $9000-$11,000. We're pricing this gun for the cost of just an original Palmetto lockplate, only you're getting a nearly complete musket not to mention being ID'D to a Confederate soldier! If restored and researched correctly without cutting corners, this should yield several thousand dollars of profit as a "RESTORED" and Identified piece. Once again, this is for someone who isn't afraid of hard honest work. In the past, I've taken on a few projects like this and found them to be some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Upon completion, we've accurately represented the item fully disclosing any repairs and in each of those cases, we've found that item a good home. Unfortuntely, with a 7 month old son, we no longer have the time or resources to take on another restoration so we're listing it here AS-IS.
The gun has 3 names carved in the wood, one with the name "W.A. STAFFORD" carved into the left side of the stock. Other names are CEA and TJ. I want you to know that we've put a grand total of 15 minutes of research into this rifle so there is much more that can be learned about this gun. Here's what I can tell you! There were several W.A. Staffords, 7 Confederates, who fought in the Civil War with that exact name in various units and states....interestingly, there was not a single one from the state of South Carolina where this rifle was made. However, we did find a W.A. Stafford from the 55th Georgia Infantry Regiment. Part of this unit did spend considerable time in Florence, South Carolina as prison guards. He seems to be the more logical choice however, history and logic don't always go together congruently. This will need additional research.
Brief History of Civil War Muskets converted to Shotguns: Well, they won't write a book about this because it isn't interesting enough...but like it or not, this is what happened to a lot of Civil War weapons. The first time I ever saw a Confederate musket converted to a shotgun was when I was just a kid. I can remember visiting my grandparents in South Georgia one Summer...I was about 13 or 14 years old and one of the neighbors who had a son my age invited me over. Upon walking in their living room, the family introduced me to their Great Great Grandfather's Confederate Enfield hanging on the wall over their couch. It was missing about half of the forewood and the barrel had been cut back...a typical Farmer's shotgun but they were very proud of their Confederate ancestor and especially that gun! Since that day, I've lost count of how many old muskets had similar conversions...especially 1861 Springfields and P53 Enfields. But why you ask???? Well, following the Civil War, old muskets like this were practically worthless relics. If you were a Veteran and lucky enough to return home following the Civil War upright....chances are you went back to the farm. What's more, farmers have always needed guns..particularly shotguns...whether it was for hunting or pest control, this all-purpose utility gun was a necessity on every farm North or South. With the Southern economy in complete ruins following the War, many an old Confederate musket was returned to duty and altered into shotguns. This old Palmetto is no exception, it served its time in the Civil War and afterwards, went on to serve someone else in a new life...probably one that lasted much longer than its brief years in the Confederacy. I guess from an perspective of American Agriculture, this gun would be very interesting because it has two histories but from a Civil War perspective, it's something a collector would lament. Time doesn't stand still though once a war ends and sometimes the only reason a weapon of war survives is often solely because it could adapt to a new way of life. Just look at the C-47 Cargo plane (aka the Civilian DC-3)...there are planes that dropped Paratroopers over Normandy on June, 6 1944 that are still working today! They've been over-hauled half a dozen times, been modified, stripped, rebuilt, re-painted, patched, etc. yet they're still flying. Even though their military value has long since expired, they only exist today because they can still serve fill a role in Modern civilian Aviation. In our small universe, we may cry..."Why did someone do this???" but 140 years ago, this would have made perfect sense...it was just survival..plain and simple. This is generally the sole reason a Confederate item survived...it could be adapted. The rest were usually discarded...and succumbed to the climate or scrap heap. That is a survivor and its story and adapted history is echoed with many Confederate weapons we find are still discovering 140+ years later.
Details: Overall, this gun has an even brown patina with generally smooth metal and a few areas of scattered pits...mainly around the bolster and a small spot towards the front of the barrel. There is a small dovetail groove for a rear sight between the breech and the rear brass barrel band...this may have been one of the 3700 Palmetto 1852-dated muskets converted to rifles in April 1861....originally, these were rifled with 3 shallow grooves, however after being used as a shotgun for many years, we do not see any rifling left. The lockplate is marked with the traditional South Carolina Palmetto Tree symbol. You can clearly see the word "Palmetto" to the left side of the tree....the word "Armory" which should be on the right side is all but gone with just traces of letters remaining. The "S*C" underneath the tree is partially visible. It appears the right side of this group of markings was never deeply struck. The rear of the lock is nicely marked "COLUMBIA" over "S.C. 1852". The left side of the barrel is marked with the letters "V", "P", a small Palmetto Tree sybol, and "W.G & CO"...which stands for William Glaze & Company. I cannot make out any letters or words on the top tang due to scattered pitting. The top of the buttplate is clearly marked "SC". Lock still works nicely. Rear swivel is present but bent. Stock is in good condition overall...uncleaned with a nice patina. There is a hairline crack running down part of the ramrod channel behind the rear band...easily fixed...otherwise the wood is quite solid. The wood is cut about 3-4" ahead of the rear band....the original rear brass band and its spring are completely intact. Its missing the front two brass bands. Barrel was cut at about 33". About 5-6" back of the muzzle is a patch of pitting with a small crack in the barrel. There is a perfect solution for the repair and salvaging this barrel without having to replace it. Call me for details. The wood can also easily be mended. That leaves the two front bands...again, there are several options here as well including original parts or modern replacements....Call me for details! Finally, we found this gun without a ramrod but we have located an original Model 1842 Ramrod that matches this rifle perfectly....only its been cut to 29"...this can easily be restored back to the original length. Again, this is a project and its going to require work on your part to reap the rewards. Today, many of us can no longer afford to spend $10,000 for a nicer Confederate weapon like a Palmetto. Here is one for a quarter of the price that needs some TLC. In the end, you will have restored a rare Confederate musket back to its original war-time configuration and improved its value significantly. Furthermore, with some research on WA Stafford, this may well improve its value significantly more.