Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

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Date of Manufacture:C 1850
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 4604
Measurements:OL:142.2CM 56" BL:104.7CM 41 1/4"

Object Description:

Maker unknown - Standard Model 1842 Bavarian musket which has been rifled with 5-grooves. Sliding leaf rear sight which fitted into notches in base. Lockplate and hammer casehardened. Three bands. Light rust on metal parts otherwise complete and in good condition.

Rear sight: 23. No other visible markings.

Weapon transferred to the Museum from Fort Monroe in August, 1909.

Notes: Rifled barrel developed by Bavarian General Philipp von Podewils. Rated 3rd class by Ord. Department.

"Bavaria stood aloof from the German Confederacy and the Hanseatic League, leaning politically and militarily more toward Austria, more than other German states. Not surprisingly, Bavarian arms exhibited a decidedly Austrian flavor. It also had its own armory at Amberg, although it occasionally contracted to have Austrian armories manufacture some of its small arms.
In 1839 Bavaria decided to join with other modern nation-states and to convert its obsolete flintlock arms to the percussion system. Like other nations, change from flint to percussion ignition system was not immediately accompanied by adoption of rifled barrels.
Bavarian Ordnance convened a board of examiners to consider manufacturing a wholly new percussion arm. In 1842 a new arm designed from the beginning as a percussion weapon was adopted. WIth the creation of the French Minie ball in the 1850s the Amberg Armory began to rifle its arms to accept the Minie ball. Apparently Amberg Armory converted all or most of the Model 1842 arms to maximize the effect of the Minie ball.
In 1858, Bavaria adopted a new model rifle-musket in caliber .54. Thus, the earlier percussion and converted flintlock arms became available for sale. Early in the U.S. Civil War, Union agent George Schuyler purchased 10,000 Austrian-pattern carbines in Bavaria.
William Edwards in his "Civil War Guns' wrote that Marcellus Hartley, a major purchasing agent for the North, had informed the Secretary of War and U.S. Ordnance of the availability of obsolescent Bavarian arms. The only Bavarian arms that he apparently recommended purchasing was the Model 1842.
For decades it was not known if the national government had actually purchased any of these arms for there had been no documentary evidence discovered to confirm any purchase. There are no Bavarian arms noted in the 1867 U.S. Ordnance Report, although they may have been lumped together with the Austrian arms they resembled. Then a dedicated collector of imported arms, David Noe, discovered the 1865 version of the Instructions for Marking Quarterly Returns of Ordnance and Ordnance Stores. This document listed 'Rifled muskets, Bavarian, caliber .69.' U.S. Ordnance classed them as third class arms.
The relative scarcity of these arms suggests only a small quantity was purchased. There are no known C.S. purchases although doubtless many were captured or picked up on battlefields. I have not discovered any reference to their use or to issuance to state militia or frontier troops during of after the Civil War.
The Bavarian Model 1842 Rifle-muskets had an overall length of 56.25 inches, with a 41.75 inch barrels, and were rifled in .70 caliber. This was the first percussion arm adopted by Bavaria, but was originally smoothbore and later rifled to take advantage of the Minie system. Its distinctive single strap upper barrel band distinguishes the Model 1842. The lower and center bands are squared at the bottom and all three bands are retained by springs. The barrels have five grooves. The front sight is a simple blade placed just to the rear of the upper barrel band. The rear sight is mound attached to the breech-tang. A few examples viewed have hinged, sliding leaf rear sights. The lower sling swivel is attached to a lug just forward of the trigger-guard. The upper swivel is attached to the middle band. Most steel parts were finished bright, but some lock-plates and hammers were case hardened. Lockplates are stamped AMBERG with the year of manufacture arranged in a semi-circle over a crown just forwa

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