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 Post subject: New guy - hello
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:37 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:32 pm
Posts: 2

Recently acquired an original Berdan Sharps serial number 5750X. I had no idea about the U.S.S.S's until researching this gun. What a piece of history. There is an inset on the right wrist where a silver inlay once was in the shape of a diamond. Does anyone know which unit this would have been?

 Post subject: Re: New guy - hello
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:08 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:33 pm
Posts: 253
Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)

Welcome to the Forum.

I have read both your posts on your rifle. A little general history.

Veterans were allowed to purchase their own rifle at the close of the War at discount prices. However, arms that needed repairs were sent to Arsenals. With the War over, these arms were sold as surplus to dealers. Many Springfield rifle muskets were 'sporterized' (forestock and barrels cut down) and sold to the civilian market.

The imprint in the stock in the shape of a diamond you decribe suggests it represents the 3rd Army Corps. Both regiments of USSS were assigned to 3rd Corps throughout most of 1863 until it's dissolution in March 1864; becoming 3rd Division 2nd AC. There is a photo in Marcot's book of a NM1859 Sharps that has both a diamond and trifoil silver inlays in the wrist of the stock.

During the late 1950's the North South Skirmish Association was born and as a youngster I remember seeing the majority of arms used during competitions were originals. There was also a healthy market of guys buying worn out old guns and doing their own gunsmithing on them. The attitude of the time was 'the very best you sell to collectors, the rest you shoot'. So the barrel and cut down forestock may have been somebody's restoration project.

Be cautious about the 'captured by Confederates at Gettysburg, converted by the Richmond Arsenal, etc. Unless you have specific Ordnance records or soldier letters that document your rifle's serial # (rarely done during the CW) I would suggest skepticism until more concrete information becomes available.

Dave or some of the other guys might be able to give you more information on your Sharps. Very interesting piece from the sounds of it.

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess-USSS

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