A true combat veteran for sure, manufactured circa 1863 (S/N 10,939).
Produced by the Burnside Rifle Company of Providence, Rhode Island, the 4th model was the second type with a wooden fore end, a barrel band and a modified style hammer different than those of the 1st through 3rd versions. The carbine’s hinged center breechblock drops down when the triggerguard inner latch is activated and allows for quick insertion of the unique tapered brass cartridge, which still required a percussion cap to fire.
This example is a .54 caliber single shot, percussion breech loading weapon as manufactured by the company from late 1862 to mid 1863. It is stamped with the serial number (#10939) in thin numerals and exhibits a pleasing plum / brown patina on barrel surfaces with virtually no traces of original bluing. Stamped on the top of barrel in front of the rear sight is “CAST STEEL 1862”. Only faint traces remain of the maker’s stamp (“BURNSIDE PATENT. / MARCH 25TH 1856.”) on the receiver at the top of the frame. The lockplate tang shows the maker’s marks “BURNSIDE RIFLE Co. / PROVIDENCE R. I.” and are strong and clear, but there is an area of oxidation as can be seen in the photographs.
The 4th Model carbines saw incredible use in the field by Union cavalry and were known for their reliability and accuracy. This is a very honest example of a true combat cavalry weapon. This particular weapon falls within the known and documented range of weapons issued to several Texas and Illinois Union cavalry regiments, according to Springfield Research Service data files.