Here is a great opportunity to obtain a secondary Confederate manufactured arm for less than half of what a Richmond Armory musket costs these days; and it even has the magic word Richmond on the lock plate! This is a Virginia Manufactory 2nd Model Musket that was produced in 1817 in Richmond, VA. The 2nd Model muskets were produced from 1812 through 1821, with a total of about 37,000 produced. This is what Flayderman refers to as the Transitional or Interim style of musket produced from 1816-1817, and roughly 8,000 of these were produced. At the beginning of the Civil War, the Richmond Armory held 50,000 flintlock muskets and the assumption has always been that the majority of these were Virginia Manufactory arms. Interestingly, “Virginia Muskets” also show up on the lists of arms in armories around the south at the beginning of the war, including in Nashville. Due to the pressing need for arms these flintlock muskets were issued in their original configuration initially, and were then typically recalled from the field for conversion in lots, and then reissued as percussion conversions. It is clear that many of the guns were still in flintlock form in mid-1862, as Stonewall Jackson requisitioned flints by the thousands during his “Valley Campaign” to keep his muskets serviceable. Eventually, the large majority of Virginia Manufactory arms were converted to percussion, and un-altered flintlock specimens are rarely encountered today.
This is an above average, GOOD + example of an un-altered, original flintlock Virginia Manufactory 2nd Model Musket. The gun has the integral iron pan, the rounded trigger guard ends and the relocated band springs that are defining features of these transitional 2nd Model muskets. The gun also has a number of interesting period-of-use repairs that are typical of the Confederate used arms. The gun has a locally made (aka “blacksmith” made) ramrod that is clearly from the period of use. The hammer screw obviously broke or was lost during the war, and a screw was threaded into the tumbler, cut off and had a hand made square nut applied to keep the hammer in place. This repair is clearly contemporary to the use of the gun and the smooth wear on the nut and the end of the threads are wonderful evidence of the age of the repair. I remember reading years ago a wonderful account from the Valley Campaign that talked about some of Stonewall’s men carrying their musket hammers in their pockets because they kept falling off- I can only wonder if this was one of those muskets. The final typically Confederate alteration is the barrel is just slightly less than 1/8” shorter than the full 42” it should be. It is clear by looking at the muzzle that a small area of the very end of the barrel was cut off. It was likely dinged or dented and thus difficult to load and fire. A simple problem like than was not sufficient to remove an otherwise functional arm from service and the barrel was simply shortened by the bear minimum to put the musket back in service. Again, examination of the wear on the muzzle and immediately inside the muzzle makes it clear that the gun was used often after the very end of the barrel was removed. The gun is marked in typical Virginia Manufactory fashion, with VIRGINIA stamped boldly in front of the hammer, over the script word Manufactory. To the rear of the hammer, in a two line vertical arch are the markings: RICHMOND / 1817. The date is not completely clear, but can be deciphered. The musket bears the matching assembly numbers of either 8 or 888 on nearly every component. The 888 is found under the barrel, on the bottom of the breech plug, inside the lock plate and on the side plate. Single 8’s appear on the upper and lower barrel bands, on the trigger guard, the butt plate tang and the bayonet lug. Only the middle band has the mismatched assembly number 20, likely an indication of a period replacement. The lock functions perfectly and is still quite crisp. It holds both full and half cock very well and responds appropriately to the trigger. The touch hold is lovely and unmolested and the pan and frizzen are untouched as well. The top-jaw of the hammer is clearly of the period and matches the appearance of the lock perfectly, although it may be a period replacement. The top-jaw screw appears to be an old replacement, although I am not completely sure. The balance of the lock is undeniably original and in very good condition. The barrel has a medium gray color with a splotchy brown patina over it. The iron furniture has a uniform deep brown patina over all of the surfaces. As would be expected, there is some scattered peppering and light peppering over most of the iron surfaces.
The stock is in about good condition overall. It appears to have been lightly cleaned and sanded at some point in the past. There is evidence of some minor rounding of the edges. The stock also shows the typical bumps, dings and bruises that one would expect to see on a military musket that is nearly 200 years old! There is small crack forward of the bottom edge of the lock plate mortise that runs through the bottom edge of the stock. It is about 1.5” long and is not structural, but should probably be paid some attention to avoid the area splintering at some point in the future. The crack is well documented in the pictures below. The inspector initial W appears on the stock flat opposite the lock, as well as on the toe of the stock, behind the trigger guard.
Overall this is a well above average and better than good example of an original, unaltered Virginia Manufactory 2nd Model Flintlock Musket. At the recent Nashville Civil War show I saw one in significantly worse condition being offered for $5,000.00. These guns rarely appear for sale in original flint and are often severely worn or altered. This gun is an attractive example that displays well and is very fairly priced considering what Confederate arms of any type are bringing on today’s market. SOLD