Antique CIVIL WAR Navy Contract WHITNEY M1861 Percussion “PLYMOUTH RIFLE”
Named After the Navy Ship USS PLYMOUTH!
Here we present an antique Navy Contract Whitney Model 1861 “Plymouth Rifle” percussion rifle-musket made in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1863. Eli Whitney Jr. and his family legacy, Whitneyville Armory, played a large role in providing small arms to the Union during the American Civil War. In July of 1861, Eli Whitney received a government contract to produce 10,000 of these Navy rifles for the Ordnance Department. Named after the USS Plymouth, a naval ordnance testing ship, this rifle is a rifled, .69 caliber muzzle loader that saw the majority of its service with the Federal Navy, though there are some cases of the Federal Army infantry outfits using this rifle.
It came with a round 34-inch barrel and a brass blade front sight. Marked between the hammer and bolster is the spread-winged eagle. Forward of this is “U.S. over WHITNEYVILLE” with the date “1863” behind the hammer. The black walnut stock is similar to the M1861 rifle stock, except it is a bit bulkier. The barrel tang shows the number “4470”, which isn’t a serial number but was applied by Whitney to match up with the saber bayonet provided by the Collins Company of Connecticut. The bayonet isn’t included.
The overall condition is good. Strong action. Bored smooth to .71 caliber. Solid stock with expected wear, and a cartouche (“HW” for Commodore Henry Walke; Naval Ordnance inspector) on the left stock flat. “1863” is dated on the lock and barrel. The small hole next to the trigger guard was likely where a screw was added to adjust the spring tension for the lock, which is a seldom seen modification. The bayonet lug and the sling swivel have been removed.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 34 inches.
Caliber: .71 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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