Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1230: Inscribed Civil War U.S. Merrill Breech Loading Percussion Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Historic Iron Mounted Civil War U.S. Contract Merrill Breech Loading Percussion Rifle Inscribed to William L. Lutzman of the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery

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Estimated Price: $3,000 - $5,000

Historic Iron Mounted Civil War U.S. Contract Merrill Breech Loading Percussion Rifle Inscribed to William L. Lutzman of the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery

Manufacturer: Merrill James H
Model: Single Shot-Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 54
Barrel: 33 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 338
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 97
Class: Antique
Description:

With leather sling and wood muzzle plug, cracked stock Reportedly, only 770 Merrill rifles were manufactured by James H. Merrill for the U.S. Ordnance Department between 1862-1865. These rifles are generally considered to be among the rarest and most sought-after percussion rifles of the war. These rifles were also issued in limited numbers to sharpshooters in Michigan, Arkansas, and Massachusetts regiments. The 21st Indiana Volunteer Infantry (1st Indiana Heavy Artillery) Regiment are the only known regiment to be armed almost entirely with these rifles. This example is inscribed "William Lutzman" in fancy script on the underside of the brass trigger guard, who has been found to very likely be William L. Lutzman, a Union soldier with Company K of the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery! The 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery Regiment was involved in numerous battles throughout the Civil War between 1862-1865 including the Battle of Baton Rouge, Bayou Teche Campaign, Siege of Port Hudson, Battle of Mobile Bay, Battle of Spanish Fort, and the Battle of Fort Blakely. It should be noted that this rare example is fitted with iron barrel bands and an iron patchbox; unlike the majority of these Merrill rifles that are brass mounted. Matching serial number "1469" marked on the top rear of the breech lever and on the tail of the lock. Modern replacement flip-up two leaf rear sight. "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes a reproduction leather sling. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Good with dark brown patina and scattered moderate pitting visible on the barrel evident of period use. Refinished blue finish visible on the lock with gray and brown patina and some light pitting on the balance, and refinished blue finish on the bands, rear sight, lower tang, sideplate and patchbox. Attractive age darkened golden patina on the brass fittings, and defined markings in the metal overall. Stock is good with some scattered dents and scratches, some chipped/absent sections at the front of the sideplate, small chips behind the sideplate, a crack ahead of the trigger guard tang, a crack at the left rear of the upper tang, and a small crack ahead of the buttplate tang. Mechanically excellent.



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