Exceptional M1841 Mississippi Rifle by Harpers Ferry Armory, Virginia, 1853

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Incredibly honest and original example of the rifle made famous during the Mexican War by Jefferson Davis, future President of the Confederacy, and his Mississippi Infantry. This example was manufactured in 1853 at the Harpers Ferry, Virginia, arsenal and is one of approximately 25,296 produced (about 25% of the total production by all contractors). As the decade of the 1850s ended, and the new .58 Minié ammunition became the standard for use by the US military, many of the M1841 rifles (which were made in .54 caliber) in store at the various national and state arsenals were altered to the new caliber and were also re-rifled. This example is one of the altered examples which saw heavy use on both sides in the American Civil War. At the same time, the brass ribbed ramrod was replaced with an all iron example, which this one correctly retains.

The M1841 was the first general issue percussion long arm to be adopted by the US military. The rifle was adopted in 1841 and production began in 1843. The military rifle of the early to mid 19th century was a special purpose arm intended for limited issue and use. The rifle was not designed to accept a bayonet, as the tactics of the time called for riflemen to be deployed as skirmishers or to take long range shots at specific targets of opportunity (such as officers, artillery crews, etc.) and then retreat behind the main infantry battle line prior to an assault. The riflemen would then harass the enemy from the flanks.
The US M1841 Rifle earned the nickname of “Mississippi Rifle” in the hands of the 1st Mississippi Rifles during the Mexican-American War. The regiment was led by future US Secretary of War, and later Confederate States President, Colonel Jefferson Davis of Mississippi. The riflemen under his command participated in the battles of Monterrey (September 1846) and Buena Vista (February 1847) and from that time on, the weapon was known as the “Mississippi Rifle”.

Mechanically, the action is crisp and all markings are clear. The bore is in very good condition and the barrel retains the original v-notch rear sight. All metal parts exhibit a smooth deep brown patina and the brass portions are a fantastic untouched dark mustard color. This is as HONEST of an example as you will likely ever find!

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