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Lock, Stock, and History

The Richmond/Fayettville Confederate Musket,

During the US Civil War the Confederates needed arms and they needed them in large quantities.  Unfortunately the South was not as industrialized as the north, and often lacked the machinery, tools, and resources to produce their own weapons.  To help rectify this situation the Confederate government appropriated funds to set up national arsenals at Richmond, Virginia and Fayetteville, North Carolina.  With a minimal amount of machinery imported from the UK, at least what got by the blockades, the Confederacy was able to produce very few muskets.

In 1861 the Confederates were able to capture the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry.  Among the loot taken by the Confederates were 33,993 walnut stocks, lots of machinery, and miscellaneous parts.  Using this capture machinery as well as captured gun parts, the Confederate government was able to bring both armories into full operation.  There they produced a copy of the Springfield Model 1855 rifle musket.  

An almost exact copy except with some modifications, the Confederate version lacked the Maynard Tape System but instead used a regular percussion system.  The patchbox was also removed. A rare carbine version was also made with a barrel length of 25 inches, whereas the original was 40 inches.  

As the war progressed the Confederacy found itself facing graver and graver shortages of resources.  Due to shortages of steel and iron many later models had a lockplate and buttplate made of brass rather than iron.  Furthermore as the war progressed the barrel length also shortened from 40 inches to 33 inches in order to use less iron.  Furthermore gunstocks became shorter to the point of being almost impractical as the Confederacy suffered shortages of wood due to destruction of southern lumber mills.

By January of 1865 Confederate musket production ended due to dwindling resources.  Around 30,000 muskets were produced at the Richmond Armory while another 30,000 muskets were produced at Fayetteville.  This did little to stem the tide of the Union assault on the Confederacy as factories in the North produced hundreds of thousands of Springfield muskets for the Union Army.

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