Civil War Gallagher cavalry carbine, 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry range match!

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An nice, functional and solid example of a single shot, breech loading, .50 caliber, percussion model Gallagher carbine as issued to the Federal cavalry during the Civil War. Mahlon J. Gallagher, a South Carolina native, developed the weapon while he resided in Savannah, Georgia in July 1860. From its factory location at 12th and Thompson Street in Philadelphia, the firm produced almost 18,000 of these carbines for the Federal government from 1861 to 1865. These carbines saw extended service with Union horse soldiers during the war but the weapon was not well liked by the troopers due to the difficulty in extracting the spent cartridge casings from the breech. The Gallager featured a breech loading mechanism which consisted of a lever / trigger guard combination that when pushed down, allowed the barrel to slide forward and tilt up and away from the barrel. Though Gallager boasted that his design would facilitate the easy removal of the spent casing from the breech, this extraction action was the major defect of his weapon.

This specimen bears serial #9027 and features a 22¼” long round barrel, no fore-end or comb with a total length of 39½”. Fitted with a sling bar with saddle ring on the left side of the breech frame, the carbine also has a two-leaf rear sight, iron blade front sight and a slightly curved butt plate. The round barrel wears a light plum-colored patina and exhibits scattered light pinprick rusting overall. Bore is dusty but strong. The carbine is iron mounted with a receiver and barrel that appears to have been cleaned decades ago. No original colors visible. Stamping “GALLAGER / PATENTED JULY 17TH 1860” on the lock plate and serial number 9027 crisply visible.

Black walnut stock exhibits its original iron patchbox and the stock has a number of dings, dents, and scratches from field use and storage. The wood buttstock is solid with no evidence of repair, cartouches or sub-inspector stampings visible. The carbine exhibits strong mechanics and the frame screws appear to be all original. This is a very good early Gallager cavalry carbine of the Civil War with solid association as being manufactured in late 1862 to early 1863 and issued to the 4th Tennessee (Union) Mounted Infantry circa September 1864.

4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment
Organized September 29, 1864; mustered out at Nashville, August 25, 1865.

Lieutenant Colonel-Joseph H. Blackburn.
Major-Thomas Waters.
James Wortham, George Gray, Co. “A”. Mustered April 14, 1864. Men mostly from Bedford County.
John W. Phillips, Co. “B”. The nucleus of this company was The Union Guards of Tennessee, mustered at Memphis, April 14, 1864 with men from various West Tennessee Counties. Mustered out at Nashville, June 1, 1865.
Andrew C. Card, Co. “C”. Mustered at Nashville, September 29, 1864 and January 10, 1865; men from Bedford and Rutherford Counties.
Norton E. Quinn, Co. “D”. Mustered at Nashville, October 26, 1864. Men enrolled at Liberty and Alexandria, DeKalb County.
McAdoo Vanatta, Co. “E”. Mustered at Nashville, October 26, 1864, and December 9, 1864. Men from DeKalb County.
William L. Hathaway, Co. “F”. Mustered at Nashville, October 29, 1864. Men from DeKalb County.
James P. Paty, Co. “G”. Mustered at Carthage, December 5, 1864, and February 1, 1865. Men from Wilson, DeKalb and Smith Counties.
George Oakley, Co. “H”. Mustered at Carthage, December 14, 1864, and February 10, 1865. Men mostly from Wilson County.
John Simpson, Co. “I”. Mustered at Nashville, February 1, and March 10, 1865. Men from Bedford and Giles Counties.
Rufus Dowdy, Co. “K”. Mustered at Nashville, February 27 to April 10, 1865. Men from Smith, DeKalb and Overton Counties.

The 4th Regiment, Tennessee Mounted Infantry was organized at large in Tennessee September 1, 1864. Stationed at Alexandria, Tenn., operating against guerrillas. Four companies at La Fayette, Tenn., 4th Sub-District, Middle Tennessee, April, 1865. Action at Wall’s Hill September 28, 1864. Polk County November 23, 1864. Operating against guerrillas in White, Overton, Fentress and Montgomery Counties and quieting country till August, 1865. Mustered out August 25, 1865.

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