Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1175: State of New York Marked Civil War Delafield Rifled Field Gun

Auction Date: May 15, 2021

Extraordinarily Scarce Documented State of New York Marked Civil War Delafield Rifled Field Gun

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $25,000 - $40,000

Extraordinarily Scarce Documented State of New York Marked Civil War Delafield Rifled Field Gun

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 696
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 140
Class: Other

This Delafield rifle is noted on page 49 of "Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War" by James C. Hazlett, Edwin Olmstead, and M. Hume Parks where it is noted as then located in Wappingers Falls, New York, and presumed to have been manufactured by Moores M. White & Co. also known as Globe Iron Works of 33rd Street and 11th Avenue in New York City. It was cast at the Isaac Gale Johnson foundry and finished by Moores M. White & Co. These 3.67 inch field Delafield rifles were manufactured in very small numbers and very few survive. The book lists three, and the consignor noted that seven of these are now known per "The Big Guns" by Edwin Olmstead, and this one is in the best condition. The included notes also state that this is one of only two in private hands. Thirteen were delivered to the commissary general of the State New York on March 18, 1862. The muzzle is marked "No. 3" above the bore and "3.67" below. The top of the tube above the trunnions is marked "S.N.Y." (State of New York), and the trunnions are marked "M.M.W.&Co/I.G.J" and "1862/R.D." The markings note the finisher and foundry discussed above and the designer discussed below. The breech under the knob is marked with the weight "1016." A rare shell for this rifle is also included. These rare field rifles and their shells were designed by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Delafield (1798-1873). The shell is designed to mechanically fit the rifling via flanges at the rear similar to winged bullets and belted balls used in some rifles. He graduated first in his class in 1818 from the United States Military Academy at West Point and was assigned to the Corps of Engineers, was the superintendent at West Point in 1838-1845 and 1856-1861, led the "Delafield Commission" sent by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis in 1855 to study European military strategy, published as "Report on the Art of War in Europe in 1854, 1855, and 1856," and rose to brigadier general and chief of engineers during the Civil War. After retiring in 1866, he was a regent of the Smithsonian Institution. Thirteen guns were fired in his memory at West Point when he died. Copies of documentation about Delafield are included as is an albumen print portrait of him. Also includes a black and white photograph of the piece being fired at the North South Skirmish Association Nationals in 1980 where it placed 2nd in a 200 yard live fire match (carriage not included).

Rating Definition:

Fine with a coat of black paint, legible markings, and mild overall wear. This is one of the rarest of all Civil War artillery!

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