Here is an incredibly rare piece for the Confederate collector. Thanks to the exhaustive research efforts of Russ A. Pritchard and C.A. Huey's wonderful book THE ENGLISH CONNECTION we can now positively identify this Enfield as an honest-to-goodness Confederate musket. This musket's Confederate provenance is proven by its unique stock markings; in particular the "CROWN / SH / G2" markings stamped in front of the butt plate tang. This markings was recently proven to belong to non other than the famous Confederate Purchasing House Sinclair Hamilton & Co. While no one is sure why this Sinclair Hamilton & Co. stamp varies from the other style "SHC" markings found on other Confederate Enfields, the prevailing theory is that this style marking was an attempt by the company to assign a number to each of the five furnishers that delivered muskets to the firm. Previously, these furnishers marked the comb of the butt with a single initial to indicate that they delivered the gun. The marks were B for EP Bond, F for Parker, Field & Son, K for James Kerr, (these 3 being London makers), S for Scott & Son and J for CW James (these last 2 being Birmingham makers). Just because their furnisher’s mark appeared on the stock, did not mean that they built the gun, only that they delivered to Sinclair, Hamilton & Company under this contract. It is rational to presume that the number following the “G” in the SH/G# mark refers to the furnisher for the contract.
Of the other known Confederate "CROWN / SH / G#" stamped Enfields, a majority of them have a script style inspector's cartouche stamped in the left side lock panel. This musket follows that trend with a nice, deep "WR" cartouche stamped in the lock panel.
I'm aware of at least five other identically marked Enfields; the majority of which are London-made guns; with the majority being produced by Potts and Hunt. Of those four, one has been identified to a Confederate Unit. All are marked with the "CROWN/SH/G#" stamp; and four of them also bear the same "WR" cartouche.
Also notable, is the distinctive damage to the belly of the butt stock. A roughly 1/2" wide chunk of wood is missing here. This is not a dent, as the grain is not crushed; the wood is actually missing. These type of stock markings are found on many battle-used weapons, and have been identified as bullet or shrapnel strikes; whose high velocity is required to "punch" a wood section out of a butt stock without causing large cracks to the surround area.
This musket is in great "untouched" condition. The stock is in good shape with a few cracks and chips missing; but is otherwise very sound and sturdy. The lock has a great chocolate patina with some salt-and-pepper pitting and great legible markings. The barrel is full length and both front and rear sights are original. The bore is dark with deep rifling. The furniture is all original including the ramrod; which is full length.
This is a great opportunity to pick up a very rare Confederate piece.