Id’d Confederate Double Barrel Shotgun Carried by Petersburg Confederate Soldier – William Thomas Morgan, 12th Va. Infantry



Id’d Confederate Double Barrel Shotgun Carried by Petersburg Confederate Soldier – William Thomas Morgan, 12th Va. Infantry – This well constructed, side by side shotgun was assembled and sold by Petersburg, Virginia merchant, William Morgan, Sr. Morgan immigrated to this country in 1816, settling in Petersburg, Virginia where he went into business with his brother, Andrew, in Petersburg; their business, advertised as “Morgan & Brother” commenced operation, just prior to 1850. Both Morgan brothers are listed as gunsmiths in the 1850 and 1860 US census records. The Morgan brothers maintained a hardware store on Sycamore St., in antebellum Petersburg; from this store, they sold a wide range of household goods and tools, as well as guns; in the Petersburg census of 1850, Morgan is listed not only as a gunsmith, but a member of the Petersburg Mechanic Benevolent Association. Like many gunsmiths of the antebellum period, it is presumed that the majority of the guns the Morgans sold were just assembled by them, from European parts; by 1860, an advertisement in the Petersburg Directory, listed William Morgan & Brother as “importers and manufacturers of all kinds of guns, pistols, rifles, &c. at Sycamore Street”. This shotgun, comparable in construction to other known examples assembled by the Morgans, differs from extant other Morgan shotguns in its engraved marking attributing assemblage and sale by the Morgans. Known examples depict William Morgan’s name, engraved in manuscript letters, on the rib between the barrels, as well as the location of Morgan’s business – Petersburg, Virginia. This shotgun has the name “William Morgan” and “Petersburg” engraved or incised in the rib, in block letters, filled in gold. William Morgan, Sr. had a son, William Thomas Morgan, who joined the Confederate Army, at the war’s onset; he joined Company C of the Petersburg Riflemen. The shotgun, apparently assembled by William Thomas Morgan’s father or uncle, was seemingly given to the younger Morgan, by his father or uncle, at the onset of the son’s service in the Confederate Army.

William Thomas Morgan, age 22, enlisted on April 2, 1862, in Petersburg, into Company E, The Petersburg Riflemen; this unit was quickly absorbed into Company E of the 12th Virginia Infantry. Morgan was wounded in the right hand at Crampton’s Gap, in Maryland, on September 14, 1862; at the same time, his right leg was struck by a Minie ball breaking the bone. When he arrived home in Petersburg, he had to have a finger amputated at the General Hospital; he would remain hospitalized from September of 1862 until March of 1863; he was then detailed to the office of Medical Director of the Army of Northern Virginia, serving as the custodian of medical papers at General R.E. Lee’s Headquarters. In a letter written by Dr. Lafayette Guild, dated December 6, 1864, then Medical Director of the ANV, Morgan’s services were “highly valued”. Morgan, sickened with diarrhea, would remain at the C.S. General Hospital in Charlottesville, until March of 1865; he was paroled at Appomattox in April of 1865.

This shotgun remains in very good condition – a black powder, side by side, 12 gauge shotgun, it remains mechanically fine, with both hammers functioning properly. All of the iron elements of the gun retain a dark, steel gray patina The shotgun has an overall length of 49 1/2″, with barrel lengths of 34″. The barrels, lock plates, trigger guard and butt plate all have a matching steel gray patina. The bores are dark with some light pitting. The iron lock plates, trigger guard, hammers and butt plate all exhibit simple engraving. The walnut stock is in good condition, exhibiting two short, repaired cracks in the stock behind each hammer; the forestock has an old sliver-like section, now very smooth from age, along the side of the right barrel. The wrist is checkered, and shows significant wear commensurate with the wear on the lock plates. The gun retains its original brass capped ramrod. An example of a Morgan shotgun can be seen in the recently released book “Confederate & Southern Agent Marked Shotguns” by Russ Pritchard Jr. and John Ashworth Jr.


William Thomas Morgan

Residence Pine St, Petersburg VA; Enlisted on 4/2/1862 at Petersburg, VA as a Private. On 4/2/1862 he mustered into “E” Co. VA 12th Infantry He was Surrendered on 4/9/1865 at Appomattox Court House, VA     He was listed as: * Wounded 9/14/1862 Crampton’s Gap, MD (Right hand) * Hospitalized 9/15/1862 Petersburg, VA (Finger amputated) * Detailed 3/15/1863 (place not stated) (Limited duty) * Hospitalized 9/15/1864 Charlottesville, VA (Severe diarrhea) Other Information: born in 1840 in Petersburg, VA


12th VA Infantry

Organized: on 5/15/61
Mustered Out: 5/3/62


From To Brigade Division Corps Army Comment
Jul ’61 Jul ’61 Dept of Norfolk
Jul ’61 Apr ’62 Mahone’s Dept of Norfolk
Apr ’62 Jul ’62 Mahone’s Huger’s/Anderson’s Army of Northern Virginia
Jul ’62 May ’63 Mahone’s Anderson’s 1st Army of Northern Virginia
May ’63 Apr ’65 Mahone’s/Weisiger’s Anderson’s/Mahone’s 3rd Army of Northern Virginia