Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1061: Civil War Confederate Columbus Armory Percussion Rifled Carbine

Auction Date: May 14, 2022

Extremely Rare and Desirable Civil War Confederate Columbus Armory Percussion Rifled Carbine

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $27,500

Extremely Rare and Desirable Civil War Confederate Columbus Armory Percussion Rifled Carbine

Manufacturer: Confederate
Model: Carbine
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 58
Barrel: 25 inch round
Finish: bright/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 516
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 62
Class: Antique

This extremely rare example of a Columbus Armory carbine has no visible markings on the outside besides "PRO/F.C.H" visible at the breech end of the barrel for "proved" above the inspection initials of Captain F. C. Humphreys, the officer in command of the Confederate Ordnance Department and Arsenal at Columbus, Georgia. Roman numeral assembly number "XVI" ahead of what appears to read "gray" is hand chiseled on the inside of the lock. John D. Gray, an English immigrant, ran a construction business working on railroads before settling in Columbus, Georgia, where he operated a furniture factory, mill, lime kiln, and a wheat farm prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. In Spring of 1861, John D. Gray would begin conducting business under the name "Columbus Armory". By 1862, Columbus Armory had a Confederate contract for 200 rifles and 1,000 carbines while also manufacturing Bowie knives, sabers, and pikes for the state of Georgia. Reportedly, Columbus Armory delivered 176 rifles and carbines in total against the contract to the state of Alabama between 1863-1864. An included copy of a June 20th, 1864 dated $3,600 invoice addressed to John D. Gray from the State of Alabama for 80 "Mississippi Carbines" at $45 each would indicate the likely total amount delivered in the configuration of this example offered. Features a tulip head iron ramrod, brass blade front sight, notch rear sight, three-groove rifling, brass "Mississippi" rifle style barrel bands and sideplate, iron trigger guard, sling swivels mounted on the front the front of the trigger guard bow and underneath the front barrel band, and a plain stock. "3" marked underneath the barrel at the breech. Information on these Columbus Armory carbines and one other example pictured (has a Columbus marked lock) can be found on pages 119-126 of the book "Confederate Carbines & Musketoons" by John M. Murphy and Howard Michael Madaus in which it states on page 126, "It is now speculated that those carbines having double-strap front barrel bands and unmarked lock plates that were previously attributed to J.P. Murray may in fact be the products of John D. Gray's enigmatic Columbus Armory." Of the reported 80 Columbus Armory carbines issued, their known survival rate is next to unheard of; making a Columbus Armory carbine one of the rarest Confederate arms in existence. Provenance: Fred Slatton Collection, a Gentleman

Rating Definition:

Very good for a Confederate used gun, exhibiting scattered dark moderate pitting and brown patina on the barrel, and scattered light to moderate pitting on the remainder of the iron surfaces. Strong traces of original case colors visible on the lock plate. Deeply stamped proof markings visible at the breech. Brass retains an attractive golden aged patina. Stock is also very good with scattered scratches, numerous minor chips at the edges, a crack above the sideplate, a few cracks behind the lock, and various cracks ahead of the buttplate. Mechanically fine. This extremely rare example of a Columbus Armory carbine is the missing piece to any Confederate or Civil War collection!

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