Berdan Sharpshooter's Rubber Button

This button was dug at an Antebellum House site's well near Malvern Hill in 1996 near the entrance to Malvern Hill National Park. It should be easy to find details on the exact troops who fought there. I have not done so. In Tice's button book, there is a great drawing of Berdan's men skirmishing at Malvern Hill on page 137. The same drawing is in "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War".

I did not dig it. I bought it from a man named Paul Chandler at 301 Antiques. He bought it from the man who dug it in 1996.

301 Antiques
9552 Chamberlayne Road
Mechanicsville, VA 23116
(804) 730-1576

Berdan's Sharpshooter Button


The Battle of Malvern Hill

The Battle of Malvern Hill was the last in the series of battles known collectively as "The Seven Days," a part of the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, which pitted George McClellan's Army of the Potomac against the Army of Northern Virginia and Robert E. Lee, its newly appointed commander. The aim of this campaign, the most ambitious ever mounted during the War Between the States, was nothing less than the capture of the Confederate capital city of Richmond. Fought on July 1 near the banks of the James River, within site of the spires of Richmond, this battle saw Confederate infantrymen attempt to take Union artillery emplacements, which held an almost unassailable position atop Malvern Hill. Although Federal troops were successful in beating back the Confederate charge, McClellan ordered a "change of base" (better known as a "retreat") immediately following the battle, and Richmond remained in Confederate hands until 1865.

Photos of various surviving U.S.S.S. headgear.
The seamless caps and Co.D 2nd U.S.S.S. cap were owned by Pvt. Leonard Small .
The other caps are, of course, the Gettysburg cap and the Smithsonian "Type One" George Hoff-made cap.

---USSS Issued Caps--

From the Collection of J. Richard Pierce

Henry Alchin Co "I" 1st USSS Reunion Ribbons and Survivor Medal
from the Private Colletion of Michael Tita

Colt Model 1855 Rifled-Musket Serial Number - 4909
from the Private collection of Frank Kalinowski

Date of Manufacture - 1861

This weapon is a .56 caliber, 5 shot, Military Rifle, which, because it has a 37 ½ inch barrel, is denominated the "Rifled-Musket." It is made to accept the socket bayonet using the front sight as the bayonet lug. Between 1855 and 1864, Colt produced 9,310 military rifles: 8,075 of them in .56 caliber and 4,825 of these with 37 ½ inch barrels. During the Civil War, the U.S. government bought 4,613 Colt Rifles - 3726 directly from the Colt factory (all in .56 caliber with 37 ½ inch barrels) and 957 from private dealers (various barrel lengths). Several renowned units were issued Colt Rifled Muskets, the most famous being the 1st and 2nd Regiments of U.S. Sharpshooters, a.k.a., Berdan's Sharpshooters. On January 27, 1862, the U.S. Government ordered 1,000 .56 caliber Rifled Muskets from Colt which were delivered the next day. The 1st U.S.S.S. received 886 of these and the 2nd U.S.S.S. received the others. According to the Descriptive Record of Company G of the 2nd U.S.S.S., a copy of which I acquired from the National Archives, Colt Rifled Musket number 4909 was issued to Private George W. McCrillis of the Berdan Sharpshooters. As an identified issued weapon, this is one of the most important Colt longarms of the American Civil War.

Condition: This gun is in NRA-rated "Fine" to "Excellent" condition. As evidenced by the complete lack of finish under the forestock, and confirmed in an e-mail from Colt authority Herbert Houze, this gun was issued "in the white." Accordingly, the metal has only a slight patina over a bright surface. The surface of the gun is smooth (showing signs of only the light removal of surface grease), the edges are crisp, all principal lettering is fine (including the numbers on the sight), and the action is virtually mint. All serial numbers match and the wood retains at least 90% of its original varnish. As is proper for many of these Rifled Muskets, there are no government markings on the gun except a subinspector's letter at the back of the cylinder. The only minor detractions are some roughness near the muzzle and on the inside of the topstrap (indicating that the gun was fired), and a replaced cleaning rod. The Berdan Sharpshooters turned in their Colts and were issued Sharps in June of 1862, and so, while this gun was part of this legendary regiment, it shows that it was only in service for three months.

This Website Uses Macromedia Flash Technology

Get your free Flash Player Here

| Home | Tactics | Monuments |Schedule | Links | Contact Us | Literature
| Hiram Berdan | Photo Gallery | Wanted | About Us | Guestbook | Regiments
| Members Only
Relics | Terminology | Rifle Care | Art Gallery | Sharps Rifle | USSS Forum | USSS CDV's


WebSite Designed by
Rider Web Designs

Question Regarding this Website?
email the Webmaster
Website Designed & Created by David Rider
 This site was last modified  December 5, 2007 .
Copyright © 2001-2007

Berdan USSS Berdan's Sharpshooter Sharpshooter's