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US Model 1863 Springfield Musket Type II

This is THE VERY LAST muzzle-loader produced for the United States miltary. It is a Model 1863 Springfield Type 2 that is dated 1864. These are sometimes referred to as the Model 1864 as well. Note in the photos that it has the late single leaf rear sight, solid barrel bands held by springs, straight tulip-head ramrod w/ no swell, and split front sling swivel. Springfield produced over a quarter of a million Type II's from 1864-65. Although it's late Civil War production, this one looks like it saw some action as it has some graffiti on the wood in the form of a soldier's initials. Better yet, make that two soldiers as another one went to great lengths to inscribe his name, quite nicely, on the stock bordering the buttplate. It reads J.O.REILEY. I have not researched O'Reiley but given the unusual nature of the spelling as well as the fact that we know this musket would have seen use for only 1864-65, it's certainly possible this soldier could be narrowed down considerably. Since these were primarily infantry weapons, we could also assume that he's a foot soldier most likely serving in the infantry (definitely not cavalry). Furthermore, given the intricacy of his carving, which is practically calligraphy with wood, he would most likely be well-educated and literate. The last time we had a name carved on a rifle like this, we were able to ID it to a young Confederate who showed up in the 1860 census as a clerk. One other thing to note here is while carving one's name on their rifle was almost a given within the Confederacy, it was usually frowned upon by the Union Army. If he survived and mustered out of service in 1865, chances are pretty good he would have been in trouble with his regimental quartermaster for destruction of gov't property. The usual punishment for such an infraction was to dock the soldier's pay for the cost of the weapon and make him return home with it. Ironically, the graffiti may be what saved this musket as many late Model 1863's that stayed in military stores following the war were converted to breechloaders or parted out. So my guess would be Union infantry, served at least 1864 and/or 1865, probably literate...occupation in 1860 census may provide clues, and last, look for a soldier with a record of pay docked and him purchasing this rifle when he musters out of service circa 1865.

Overall Condition grades to NRA Antique Good+ with silvered out traces of case colors mixing with a light brown patina on the lockplate. Clear markings on the lock and legible barrel proofs. The barrel date is obscured due to spark erosion on the top surface areas around the nipple and bolster. The rest of the metal has turned to a brown patina. Wood is solid with no breaks or repairs and has never been sanded. "US" marked on buttplate. Original rear sight, ramrod, front swivel, etc. The only part this rifle lacked when we found it was that the rear swivel was missing...which we replaced. Looks good! The left side of the stock has two faint but visible US gov't inspector cartouches. Nice example of a late-war Springfield.

Item# 1724




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