Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 9: Documented Civil War Production Henry Lever Action Rifle

Auction Date: February 16, 2022

Historic Documented Civil War Production Henry Lever Action Rifle

Estimated Price: $25,000 - $35,000

Historic Documented Civil War Production Henry Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: New Haven Arms Co.
Model: Henry Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 Henry RF
Barrel: 24 inch
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 4724
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Class: Antique

OD - VERY GOOD- all original parts; none to 30% original finish; original metal surfaces smooth with all edges sharp; clear lettering, numerals and design on metal; wood slightly scratched or bruised.


Manufactured in May 1865. The barrel is fitted with a slightly filed nickel silver, square back front sight and a carefully aged replacement dovetail mounted folding rear sight with 900 yard center notch. The receiver tang has been drilled and tapped for a tang sight. The walnut stock has a sling swivel on the left side. A screw-fastened sling loop is located on the left side of the barrel. The serial number is stamped on the top barrel flat, left side of the lower tang, upper tang inlet of the stock and inside of the buttplate. All of the visible serial numbers match. The late style cap head buttplate and tang screws are, correctly, not serial numbered. The serial number of this rifle falls within the serial numbers of 127 Henry rifles purchased by the Ordnance Department on May 16, 1865 and issued to Companies B, C, I, H and K of the 3rd U.S. Veteran Volunteer Infantry (VVI) Regiment. These serial numbers are listed on page 76 of "THE HISTORIC HENRY RIFLE" by Wiley Sword. The 3rd VVI was one of 10 infantry regiments recruited from veteran soldiers during late 1864 and early 1865. These troops were intended to be an elite unit and were armed with Henry, Sharps and Spencer rifles. As an incentive for volunteers, members of the VVI regiments were authorized to retain their rifles on discharge. The Civil War ended before the VVI regiments saw action. The 3rd VVI was organized at Camp Stoneman in the District of Columbia in February and March 1865. The regiment served in the Washington defenses, the Shenandoah Valley and at Camp Butler, Illinois before it mustered out of service on July 20, 1866. The 127 Henry rifles purchased by the Ordnance Department in May 1865 have no Ordnance inspection marks or other distinguishing markings and can only be identified by serial number records in regimental orderly books. This is a good example of what is almost certainly a late production, U.S. contract, Henry rifle issued to the 3rd U.S. Veteran Volunteer Infantry at the end of the Civil War.

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