Confederate States Navy Research Center, Mobile, Alabama,
Confederate Navy Small Arms
Nomenclature: British made muskets have
39 inch barrels and rifles (aka rifle-muskets) have 33 inch barrels.
The 2 band Enfield rifle (aka
Model of 1858 sea service rifle)(aka short Enfield)
London Armoury was one of the main contract
makers. Also were Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) & others.
Notice the bayonet lug on the right side
of the barrel used for the sword-bayonet and cutlass-bayonet.
These were .577 caliber and one of the most
accurate arms, even with the shorter barrel than the musket.
Known use were on the CSS TENNESSEE in the
Battle of Mobile Bay and on the CSS FLORIDA.
The 1st Model Maynard rifle (carbine)
was popular (caliber 50)
It is identified by the roundish buttplate
with patchbox. Known use were 30 captured on the CSS ATLANTA
Also used on the CSS TENNESSEE in Mobile
Bay were Springfields (probably 1855 model)(caliber 58)
40 were captured along with 40--2 band Enfields
Short Whitney-Enfield Rifle (caliber
10 of these were captured on the CSS RESOLUTE.
Maryland bought many of these that went South. Also the states of Georgia
and Mississippi bought them in 1860-61. These resemble the regular Enfields
that were imported from England.
Revolvers and Pistols
Nomenclature: Pistols were originally
single shots before the invention of revolvers, which term usually distinguishes
between the two. However in common usage both are used interchangeably
then and now.
The standard official caliber of the CSN
was .44 for revolvers----not navy caliber of .36 as used by the
Only CSN Officers and members of boarding
parties who were issued them at the time carried handguns.
The LeMat Revolver (aka Grapeshot revolver)(aka
These were made in France, Belguim and England.
They had 9 shot, .42 caliber cylinders, and a 63 caliber shotgun barrel
which was located under the regular barrel and also acted as the cylinder
pin upon which the cylinder rotated.
Most all LeMats were paid for by the CS
Navy and many were in use by the Navy. Those that weren't were transferred
to the Army and Cavalry where they are more popularly known. The reproductions
have model names that are incorrect with historical usage. The proper models
are 1st Model (spur on trigger guard and rammer on right side) and
2nd Model ( rammer moved to the left side and spur has been removed
from the trigger guard). Also the firing pin was changed. All of the final
production was inspected by Confederate Navy officer Lt. Wm. Murdaugh and
bear his inspection marking of 'M'.
The CSS FLORIDA used 1st Models for boarding
captured ships and was the first crew to have them.
Other ships usually had a few. A total of
5,000 were ordered but not over 3,000 were shipped. None were used by the
The London Armoury (Kerr) Revolver (44
Large shipments of these were brought over
by blockade runners and was the most widely used revolver. 5 shot cylinders.
Most people have never heard of it even though
around 7,000 of these were bought by the South. (none by the north)
This was considered one of the finest made
and finished revolvers in the world and was better than Colt in terms of
It's back action lock was used so that almost
any gunsmith could work on it, as simplicity was the key.
The Adams and Beaumont-Adams Revolver
The Adams was without a hammer spur and double
action only. Beaumont's patent added a hammer spur and single action.
They were made by London Armoury and Robert
Adams Company in England and had 5 shot cylinders.
These were popular with CSN officers. Many
are in museums to testify to that fact.
The French LaFaucheux and Belguim 12mm
(44 caliber) Pinfire Revolvers
These were much more common than most people
know. This was one of the first cartridge revolvers made. Instead of a
central primer in the rear of the cartridge, they had a post protruding
out the side at the rim in which the hammer struck thereby igniting the
load. The Selma Arsenal made cartridges for them, showing how widespread
they were in use.
The 1860 Colt's New Army (44 caliber)
This really surprises many folks. Raphael
Semmes was sent north to buy as many of these as he could early in the
From the pen of Jefferson
Davis: "Even before I had selected the members of the provisional
cabinet, or engaged a private secretary, or had any clerical assistance
whatever, one of my first acts as Provisional President, at Montgomery,
was to commission Captain Raphael Semmes to proceed north and purchase
all the arms, ammunition, and other munitions of war, and the machinery
for making them, that he could buy and have delivered."
They were shipped to San Antonio, New Orleans,
Richmond, Charleston, Georgia and Natchez.
Many of the early first production were in
use by the CS Navy and are in museums today as a testimony.
Return to the:----
Topics page---What's New?
Carbines were the official shoulder arms of
the CS Navy. Among the makes listed were:
London Armoury, Maynard and the Whitney-Enfield
short rifle was also used.
Copyright 2000-2001, John E. Ellis, www.csnavy.org