Antique HARPERS FERRY U.S. Model 1841 “MISSISSIPPI” Rifle Jefferson Davis
Civil War Rifle-Musket Made 1853 Antebellum
Here we present an antique Harpers Ferry U.S. Model 1841 Mississippi Rifle manufactured circa 1853 in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Design work on the Model 1841 began in 1840. The result was a hefty 9-pound rifle chambered for the .54 round ball. The Harpers Ferry Arsenal had just completed production of the Hall Rifle when it took on the 1841. Production continued from 1941 until 1861, with over 25,000 produced by 1855 alone. It was adopted by the U.S. Army forces and became the first standard production percussion rifle. As mentioned, it was originally chambered in .54, and in 1855 many of these rifles underwent a modification to chamber the .58 Minie ball. The .58 Minie became the standard for the Army and the existing model 1841s were reworked to support it. When it was reworked, the rifle was given bayonet mountings to complete its appearance.
First use of the Model 1841 was during the Seminole Wars (1816-1858) between the United States Army and the Seminole tribes in Florida. The rifle earned it name of “Mississippi Rifle” during the Mexican-American War under the banner of the 1st Mississippi Volunteer Regiment headed by Jefferson Davis. Davis got the untested rifle-musket into the hands of his men and was a deciding factor during the Battle of Buena Vista against Santa Anna’s forces. The battle was a decisive victory by the 4,594 Americans over a much larger Mexican Army of 15,000+ strong.
Like many mid-century guns, the Model 1841 remained in use, in useable numbers, by the time of the American Civil War. Like the South, the Federal forces also carried this model into combat due to shortages on both sides when the fighting began. However, Northern use of the gun seems to have ended during 1863, while the Confederate forces carried the rifle-musket into the last days of fighting in 1865. Even at this time, it was still called by its well-earned nickname of “Mississippi Rifle”.
The overall condition is good. Original patina. The action is strong. The percussion nipple, rear sight, and ramrod have been replaced and the last owner did shoot this rifle. The action is excellent and the bore is in good condition with strong rifling. The stock shows some period loss on the left side of the barrel tang and on the left side of the forestock; solid throughout. “J.W.B” inspector stamp on the left stock flat.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 33 inches.
Caliber: .54 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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