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Thread: Curious...What happened to surrendered rifles at Appomattox and end of war

  1. #1
    ck76239 is offline
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    Curious...What happened to surrendered rifles at Appomattox and end of war

    This popped in my head earlier, I've tried to google it, but can't seem to find much about it...

    What did the government do with the rifles surrendered?

    Destroy them? Sell them off as surplus?

    Just curious...

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    dogtagg88 is offline
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    not an answer to your question but interesting pre war info

    http://www.civilwarstlouis.com/artic...-arsenal-guns/ I saw your question while doing research on something else, thought you might find this article interesting. D

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    Don Dixon is offline
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    A partial answer to your question.

    The Springfield Armory led in the effort to recover weapons. On 6 January 1866 the Springfield Republican reported on the effort: “The most interesting work going on at the arsenal at present is the repairing of old muskets, the relics of every battle-field of the war…More than one hundred thousand old guns have already been sent here, and others are coming in sizable quantities every few days…The guns sent for repairs include nearly every kind used in both armies, the following being the list of those already here: Springfield rifle musket, 58-100; the Sprinfield smooth bore musket, calibre 69-100; the old flint-lock musket; the Enfield rifle musket, calibre 75-100; the same with sabre bayonet; the Enfield, Dresden, Mississippi, Spencer, Windsor, and Austrian rifles; Colt’s revolving rifle; the Richmond rifle musket, and the Burnside, Spencer, and Sharpe’s carbines. Of course, it is impossible to say how many or which of these guns came direct from rebel hands, as the rebels captured extensively from us in the early part of the war, and we from them in the later. The Mississippi and Richmond guns, however, were made by them, and they imported large numbers of Enfields…The guns are battered, twisted, broken, damged, in every conceivable way, and show in every form the sings of hard usage and ‘the shock of war.’ The barrels are frequently filled with sand, and to find several charges in one gun is a common thing…”

    Regards,
    Don Dixon
    2881V

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    Carolina Reb is offline
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    Bill Edwards classic Civil War Guns has a concluding chapter on what happened to the leftovers. Al Frasca has done a lot of research into the post war period with his Trapdoor Springfield work. His newsletters have a lot of great information.

    Captured arms, and arms turned in by units mustering out ended up at Springfield or some depot, and got put into storage until being sold off surplus. There seems to have been no differentiation as to where the arms came from.

    Springfield started a huge clean & repair operation after the war, which justified retaining a staff of skilled gunsmiths. Hundreds of thousands of arms were run through that program before going into storage. For instance, over 400,000 Enfields were refurbished at Springfield. This is probably the source of most of the bright P-53s we see today, since Springfield did not have facilities to repair bluing on a large scale until the M-1873 Trapdoors came out. Enfields were hot items on the international market, so those were quickly sold off to retire some of the country’s war debt.

    About 40,000 M-1864 muskets were converted into M-1866 Trapdoors. Large numbers of Sharps and Spencer carbines were sleeved to 50 caliber and stored or reissued. M-1863 muskets were broken down for parts and rebuilt as M-1868 and M-1870 rifles.

    The obsolete carbines went into storage until they were sold off. France got lots of them during the Franco-Prussian War, but carbines were still being sold out of federal armories into the 20th century, when you could pick up a 1st class Smith or Maynard for about $0.50(!).

    Arms that were too damaged for repair were broken up for parts. One sale lists 1200 pounds of misc. Smith parts.

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    COOL STUFF!! We're any troops allowed to take them home? How did my Spencer carbine end up in Spencer, Iowa?

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    Don Dixon is offline
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    Under the provisions of General Order (G.O.) 101, 30 May 1865, discharged Federal soldiers were permitted to purchase their arms and take them home with them. Muskets of all types, with or without accoutrements, cost $6.00. Spencer carbines, with or without accoutrements cost $10.00, while all other carbines and revolvers cost $8.00. Under G.O. 101, soldiers purchased 116,677 “muskets”; including 96,238 Springfields, 19,882 Enfields, and 557 “others.”


    Regards,
    Don Dixon
    2881V

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    Jim Brady Knap's Battery is offline
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    Interesting article on Bannerman's military surplus business.

    Jim Brady
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    Knap's Battery


    CUM CATAPULTAE PROSCRIBEANTUR TUM SOLI PROSCRIPTI CATAPULTAS HABEANT

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    ck76239 is offline
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    You guys have so much knowledge!

    Reading the 1st article, I put the monetary figures into an inflation calculator.... If your great grandfather bought those 1842 Springfield, 1816 Springfield, etc at that Gov't auction in 1859 for $2 each, that $2 in 1859 money would be about $60 today. What a bargain!

    Thanks!

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    Carolina Reb is offline
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    This will make you weep! The last big government surplus sales of CW arms were in 1901(!), although small lots came up afterward as they were discovered on various warehouses and armories. Here are some prices.

    5678 Maynard Carbines, new ………. $0.1975 each to W. Stokes Kirk
    1512 Spencer Carbines, Cal 52 ……. $0.68 to $1.57 each to Kirkland Bros.
    2489 Sharps carbines, Cal 52 ………. $0.076 to $0.328 each to Bannerman
    7954 Smith Carbines, with 1,194 pounds of spare parts …. $$0.162 each to Nolan Brothers
    768 Burnside Carbines …. $0.31 to $0.4188 each to Nathan Spering
    495 Ballard Carbines, Cal 44 …. $0.86 each to Marcus Hartley Co.
    9999 Remington M-1863 Rifles, new with Sword Bayonets (The infamous Zouaves) …. $0.5357 each to Bannerman

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    Carolina Reb is offline
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    This will make you weep! The last big government surplus sales of CW arms were in 1901(!), although small lots came up afterward as they were discovered on various warehouses and armories. Here are some prices.

    5678 Maynard Carbines, new ………. $0.1975 each to W. Stokes Kirk
    1512 Spencer Carbines, Cal 52 ……. $0.68 to $1.57 each to Kirkland Bros.
    2489 Sharps carbines, Cal 52 ………. $0.076 to $0.328 each to Bannerman
    7954 Smith Carbines, with 1,194 pounds of spare parts …. $0.162 each to Nolan Brothers
    768 Burnside Carbines …. $0.31 to $0.4188 each to Nathan Spering
    495 Ballard Carbines, Cal 44 …. $0.86 each to Marcus Hartley Co.
    9999 Remington M-1863 Rifles, new with Sword Bayonets (The infamous Zouaves) …. $0.5357 each to Bannerman

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