Confederate Type IV Fayetteville Rifle
Confederate Type IV Fayetteville Rifle – From 1862 to early 1865, Fayetteville Armory produced four variants of the U.S. M1855 rifle, on machinery that had been lent to North Carolina by Virginia, after the machinery’s capture at Harper’s Ferry Arsenal, in April 1861. The earliest, Fayetteville production (Type I) began in April, 1862 and exhibited lock plates that had not been milled for the Maynard Taper Primer; these plates had been captured at Harpers Ferry and are distinguished by retaining the “hump” where the compartment for the Maynard primer would have been milled; this “hump” extended to the arc of the hammer. The Type II Fayetteville rifle utilized newly made locks, received from Richmond, during the balance of 1862; these rifles exhibited a relatively low “hump” that did not reach the arc of the hammer. By the end of 1862, Fayetteville began producing its own lock; this plate resembled the U.S. M1861 rifled musket, but had a distinctive, S-shaped hammer. This lock appears in both the Type III and Type IV rifles. In addition, all rifles made through 1863, continued to exhibit a saber bayonet lug at the near right side of the muzzle. By 1864, this lug was eliminated, as a triangular socket bayonet was utilized. The absence of the saber bayonet lug and a remodeled front sight distinguishes Type IV production. Because the barrel machinery went to Richmond, rifle production, at Fayetteville, was often hindered, with only a few more than 300 rifles, per month, manufactured, during the three years the Fayetteville Arsenal was in existence.
This Type IV Fayetteville rifle exhibits the following: 1864 dated lock plate, with these markings and diagnostic characteristics – “1864”, lightly stamped Eagle with “CSA” stamped beneath; “CSA” stamped on the brass butt plate; brass furniture with “U” stamped on both barrel bands; “VP” over an eagle head on the barrel breech, opposite the nipple bolster; period replaced, Mississippi Rifle, brass tipped ramrod; Fayetteville, S-shaped hammer; .58 caliber bore with only traces of original rifling; absence of a bayonet lug; 33” barrel and overall length of about 49 “; non-hump lock plate; three-leaf rear sight; slightly smaller eagle stamped on the lock plate (typical of the Type IV Fayetteville).
Condition: This rifle remains in overall very good condition; all firing mechanisms function properly; the bore is clean, with only a trace of original rifling; overall pleasing plum patina to iron elements; brass elements exhibit a nice, aged patina; the stock is in good condition, with some age induced, shrinkage cracks; there is some minor stock burnout in front of the nipple bolster. Part of an Enfield Rifle nipple protector is on this gun’s nipple.
It is estimated that between 8000 and 9000 Fayetteville rifles of all types were made during the war, although the majority, nearly 5000 of those manufactured, were the Type IV rifles. Many collectors consider this to be the highest quality rifle manufactured by the Confederacy, during the Civil War, as well as the most aesthetically pleasing in appearance.