Confederate Purchases of Belgian Rifles?

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#1
Awhile back I posted a question about Belgian rifles mentioned in correspondence of a Confederate ordnance officer at Abingdon, Virginia. Were these Belgian rifles purchased by the Confederacy or were they from captured arms?
In Guns For Cotton, England Arms the Confederacy by Boaz and Firearms From Europe by Noe, Yantz, and Whisker I have only found references to 18,000 Belgian rifles that were part of the cargo of the Bermuda that arrived at Savannah in September, 1861. I suspect that most of the Belgian shoulder arms used by the Confederacy were obtained by capture.
Does anyone have additional information or opinions?
 
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#2
Are we speaking of the Potsdam 1809, or some other model. Its my understanding that most of these weapons were purchased by the Federal forces (both Regular Army and State Militia.) At first, they were used as issue weapons, but once their inadequacies were revealed, all further purchases were primarily to keep them away from Confederate Purchasing Agents.
 
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#3
The Potsdam 1809 was Prussian, not Belgian.
There were 18,000 Belgian rifles that arrived in Savannah in September, 1861 and that is the only information I can find on Confederate purchases. Since some Belgian rifles were used by Confederates, I was wondering if anyone had information on other purchases. I suspect that most of the Belgian rifles used by the Southern troops were captured Federal arms but, that is just speculation.
 

johan_steele

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#4
Are we speaking of the Potsdam 1809, or some other model. Its my understanding that most of these weapons were purchased by the Federal forces (both Regular Army and State Militia.) At first, they were used as issue weapons, but once their inadequacies were revealed, all further purchases were primarily to keep them away from Confederate Purchasing Agents.
The Potsdam usually isn't thought of as a Belgian arm. Most Belgian arms were copies of various French arms w/ the various models of the M1816/22, M1840, M1842, M1853, M1857 being common ones imported as well as Leige copies of the P53 & P56 series arms. These were usually imported by the US. CS imports of Belgian arms were fairly rare.
 
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#5
I stand corrected... though I do remember seeing an ordinance report citing 'Belgian Musket, .71' which, to me, was more in line with the pumpkin roller Potsdam. I once owned such a beast, and I swear, you'd fire it and as the smoke was clearing, you could still see the ball flying down range!

Poor muzzle velocity for sure!
 

Craig L Barry

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#6
About the Belgian muskets little of a complimentary nature has been recorded. They were also issued to Union western theater troops. U.S. Grant quipped in his memoirs that they were "almost as dangerous to the one firing it as the one aimed at..." And also that somebody "...might fire at you all day without you ever finding out about it."
 
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#8
Awhile back I posted a question about Belgian rifles mentioned in correspondence of a Confederate ordnance officer at Abingdon, Virginia. Were these Belgian rifles purchased by the Confederacy or were they from captured arms?
In Guns For Cotton, England Arms the Confederacy by Boaz and Firearms From Europe by Noe, Yantz, and Whisker I have only found references to 18,000 Belgian rifles that were part of the cargo of the Bermuda that arrived at Savannah in September, 1861. I suspect that most of the Belgian shoulder arms used by the Confederacy were obtained by capture.
Does anyone have additional information or opinions?
Hello,
In your research did you come across anything regarding the purchase of Belgium made hand guns by the Confederates?
 
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#9
Substantially more than 18,000 French military pattern weapons manufactured by the Liege gunmakers were imported by both sides in the Civil War. The Confederates, for examples, manufactured "Belgian" ammunition for the entirety of the war. Additionally, thousands of European military surplus weapons were transformed from flintlock and tubelock to percussion and/or rifled by the Liege firearms industry. Although somewhat dated, the classic book on the subject is:

Balace, Francis. L’Armurerie Liégeoise et la Guerre de Sécession, 1861-1865 [The Liege Armaments Industry in the War of Secession, 1861-1865]. Pamphlet XIII. Liege, Belgium: Editions de la Commission Communale de L’Histoire de L’Ancien Pays de Liége, 1978.

When I say dated, the problem lies with Professor Balace's citations to U.S. secondary sources such as Edwards. His original research in primary sources in U.S. and Belgian archives was of the first quality. The book is extremely difficult to find in the original French, and has never been translated into English and published in the U.S.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 
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#10
Hello,
In your research did you come across anything regarding the purchase of Belgium made hand guns by the Confederates?
I haven't found anything yet but have seen Belgian made pinfire revolvers, copies of the French Lefaucheux, that were allegedly Confederate and probably privately purchased.
 
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#11
Substantially more than 18,000 French military pattern weapons manufactured by the Liege gunmakers were imported by both sides in the Civil War. The Confederates, for examples, manufactured "Belgian" ammunition for the entirety of the war. Additionally, thousands of European military surplus weapons were transformed from flintlock and tubelock to percussion and/or rifled by the Liege firearms industry. Although somewhat dated, the classic book on the subject is:

Balace, Francis. L’Armurerie Liégeoise et la Guerre de Sécession, 1861-1865 [The Liege Armaments Industry in the War of Secession, 1861-1865]. Pamphlet XIII. Liege, Belgium: Editions de la Commission Communale de L’Histoire de L’Ancien Pays de Liége, 1978.

When I say dated, the problem lies with Professor Balace's citations to U.S. secondary sources such as Edwards. His original research in primary sources in U.S. and Belgian archives was of the first quality. The book is extremely difficult to find in the original French, and has never been translated into English and published in the U.S.

Regards,
Don Dixon
Thanks for the information.
 
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#13
I haven't found anything yet but have seen Belgian made pinfire revolvers, copies of the French Lefaucheux, that were allegedly Confederate and probably privately purchased.
Thank you!
Substantially more than 18,000 French military pattern weapons manufactured by the Liege gunmakers were imported by both sides in the Civil War. The Confederates, for examples, manufactured "Belgian" ammunition for the entirety of the war. Additionally, thousands of European military surplus weapons were transformed from flintlock and tubelock to percussion and/or rifled by the Liege firearms industry. Although somewhat dated, the classic book on the subject is:

Balace, Francis. L’Armurerie Liégeoise et la Guerre de Sécession, 1861-1865 [The Liege Armaments Industry in the War of Secession, 1861-1865]. Pamphlet XIII. Liege, Belgium: Editions de la Commission Communale de L’Histoire de L’Ancien Pays de Liége, 1978.

When I say dated, the problem lies with Professor Balace's citations to U.S. secondary sources such as Edwards. His original research in primary sources in U.S. and Belgian archives was of the first quality. The book is extremely difficult to find in the original French, and has never been translated into English and published in the U.S.

Regards,
Don Dixon
Thank you!
Don Dixon is certainly a prime source for such information.
Here's a Confederate inspected {a Sinclair, Hamilton inspector for the CS government in England} "Brevette" LeFaucheux.

View attachment 207028
View attachment 207029

View attachment 207030

Headin' out on a 3 day, long range rifle shoot.... C'ya on Monday.
Very nice looking revolver. Is it the "?C" marking on the wood grip that is the Confederate inspection mark? Thank you!
 
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#14
Yes it is.
"I.C" was the mark for Isaac Curtis. This is also found on Confederate Enfields, but there it is smaller and in a few variations. It is definitely NOT Inspected & Condemned, which was the popular gun show wisdom in the past. The original receipts for the "IC" and "CH/1" stamps are part of the McRae papers, now property of The Confederate Relic Room in Columbia, SC.
 
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#15
Yes it is.
"I.C" was the mark for Isaac Curtis. This is also found on Confederate Enfields, but there it is smaller and in a few variations. It is definitely NOT Inspected & Condemned, which was the popular gun show wisdom in the past. The original receipts for the "IC" and "CH/1" stamps are part of the McRae papers, now property of The Confederate Relic Room in Columbia, SC.
Very informative! Thank you.
 

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