Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 210: U.S. Contract New Haven Arms Co. Henry Rifle

Auction Date: December 3, 2021

U.S. Contract New Haven Arms Company Henry Lever Action Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $20,000 - $35,000

U.S. Contract New Haven Arms Company Henry Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: New Haven Arms Co.
Model: Henry Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 Henry
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1383
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 103
Class: Antique
Description:

This U.S. contract Henry lever action rifle was manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company in November 1863. On December 30, 1863, the Chief of Ordnance ordered 800 Henry rifles from the New Haven Arms Company. These rifles were intended for issue to the 1st District of Columbia Cavalry Regiment and were delivered in March 1864. The 800 Henry rifles in the December 30, 1863 order were stamped on the barrel and stock with the initials of Ordnance Sub-Inspector Charles G. Chapman (C.G.C.). They were the only Ordnance-inspected Henry rifles issued during the Civil War. The 1st D.C. Cavalry was originally assigned police and provost duties in the District of Columbia; the commander, Col. Lafayette Baker, reported directly to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Shortly after the Henry rifles were issued, the regiment was transferred to Virginia and saw extensive action during the Petersburg campaign. Many of the 1st D.C. Cavalry Henry rifles were captured by the Confederates in the Petersburg fighting. Approximately 80 Henry rifles in the serial number range issued to the 1st D.C. Cavalry are listed in "THE HISTORIC HENRY RIFLE" by Wiley Sword as issued to the 3rd U.S. Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment in May 1865. The 3rd Veteran Volunteer Infantry was organized too late to see combat in the Civil War. This rifle has the distinctive Henry octagon barrel with integral 15-shot magazine and brass receiver. The barrel has a flat back, German silver, front sight blade, folding leaf rear sight with 900 yard center notch and a large diameter brass follower. The second pattern brass receiver lacks the rear sight dove-tail found on Henry receivers up to serial number 3000 and has the late style, beveled, follower cut-out. The hammer has hand-cut knurling on the spur. The straight grain walnut stock has the early style brass buttplate with rounded heel. The left side of the stock and barrel, correctly, lack the sling swivel and sling hook loop which were extra cost items and not present on most of the 800 rifles purchased by the Ordnance Department. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped with the first style address: "HENRY'S PATENT. OCT. 16. 1860/MANUFACT'D BY THE NEWHAVEN ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN CT." in two lines with the final "NEW HAVEN" stamped in block rather than serif letters. The serial number is stamped: (1) on the top barrel flat behind the rear sight, (2) on the inside of the buttplate, (3) on the lower left receiver tang beneath the stock, (4) in the upper tang inlet of the stock and (5) on the shanks of the hand-fitted buttplate screws. All of the visible serial numbers match. The "C.G.C." inspection mark is stamped on the right barrel flat. The script, oval, "C.G.C." inspection mark stamped on the right side of the stock wrist is not visible. A New Haven Arms "C C" inspection mark is stamped on the right barrel flat between the Ordnance mark and the edge of the receiver and a second "C C" mark is stamped on the right side of the receiver near the right flat. The crude, period, initials "AR" are faintly scratched on the left side plate. The Ordnance inspected Henry rifles originally had a blued barrel/magazine, casehardened hammer, lever and trigger, fire-blue bolt and small parts and oil or lacquer finished stock with natural brass receiver and buttplate. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Good. This rifle is in the typical condition of a military firearm that saw actual service. The barrel/magazine has an attractive brown patina. The barrel edges show handling wear and the flats have scattered light dents and handling marks. The front sight blade and rear sight are original to the rifle. The barrel markings are sharp. The brass receiver and buttplate have a good looking patina. The receiver shows extensive handling wear with scattered dents and scratches. The side plate joints on the top of the receiver have separation marks. The bolt, hammer, trigger and lever have a deep brown patina. The revarnished stock is in fair condition with service scratches and dents particularly on the left side which is consistent with carriage on horse-back in rifle scabbard. This is a solid representative example of a historically significant Civil War U.S. Contract Henry rifle.



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