1853 Antique U.S. SPRINGFIELD M1847 Cavalry Musketoon ARTILLERY ALTERATION
1 of 630 With This Alteration Performed – G. MOLLER
Here we present an antique Springfield Armory U.S. Model 1847 Percussion Cavalry Musketoon that has been altered to an Artillery Musketoon configuration, manufactured in 1853 in Springfield, Massachusetts and altered circa 1858-59. Production of the Model 1847 Cavalry Carbine began in 1847 although the first guns were not completed until 1848. The guns were produced exclusively at the Springfield Armory until 1854 during which a total of 5,802 carbines were produced. Additionally, Springfield also produced 1,030 Sappers and Miners Musketoons, and 3,210 Artillery Musketoons through 1856. Per George Moller, “In 1858-59, 630 cavalry musketoons were altered to the artillery musketoon configuration”.
By the mid-1850s these Cavalry Carbines were effectively obsolete, and many had been returned to ordnance stores. Several other attempts were undertaken in the late 1850s to update the carbines via rifling, or alteration to Merrill’s breechloading system. In a near last ditch attempt to find something to do with the unwanted carbines, the Ordnance Department began altering them into “artillery” musketoons by removing the sling bar and swivel/chain rammer and adding a conventional ramrod, sling swivels, and an under mounted bayonet lug to accept the current Model 1835 socket bayonet. These new artillery musketoons were then issued to states as cadet musketoons as there were no more Model 1841 or Model 1851 Cadet Muskets available. Only about 630 of these musketoons were altered between 1858 and 1859, although there has been some speculation that additional numbers may have been adapted by Confederate Arsenals.
Muskets were designed for a dual purpose on the battlefield. They could be used as a ranged weapon, and they could also be used as a pike for short range fighting. Because they were used in a manner similar to a pike, muskets had to be long and heavy, which made them impractical for other uses. Because of this, many muskets were produced in a shorter version, often called a carbine or a musketoon, such as this example. These shorter weapons were often used by naval forces and cavalry. The Springfield Model 1847 musketoon was a shortened version of the Springfield Model 1842 standard infantry musket.
As mentioned above, there were three types of musketoons produced at Springfield between 1847 and 1859, those being the Artillery, Cavalry, and Sapper & Miner. Approximately 3,300 Musketoons were produced for the artillery with the total production of all three models estimated at approximately 10,000 carbines. The cavalry model was not highly regarded by those mounted troops to whom they were issued. Inspector General Joseph K. Mansfield conducted a tour of the Western outposts in 1853 and reported that the troops made many derogatory comments about their carbines. Dragoons told him that when the weapon was carried by a mounted trooper, the ball would simply roll out of the weapon’s barrel. His report also stated that “there is no probable certainty of hitting the object aimed at, and the recoil is too great to be fired with ease.” Mansfield concluded that the gun was essentially “a worthless arm,” having “no advocates that I am aware of.”
Along with usage during the Indian Wars and the Mexican-American War in 1846 through 1848, these would have used by both combatants at the outbreak of the American Civil War.
The overall condition is very good. Brown patina. The action is excellent. The bore is smooth and patinated. The walnut stock shows use and remains solid. Given that only 630 Model 1847 Carbines are known to have been altered in this manner means that these arms are quite scarce today. This would look especially nice in a collection of mounted service or cadet arms.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 26 inches.
Caliber: .69 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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