The Henry rifle was one of the most advanced firearms of the American Civil War, and most of the Henry rifles manufactured by the New Haven Arms Co. were purchased by individual Federal soldiers who wanted the advantages of a 15-shot repeating rifle. Many were purchased by soldiers fighting in the Western Theater of the war, such as the 23rd Illinois Infantry. Smaller numbers were also purchased by Confederates, but most used by the Confederacy were captured. Some were issued to advanced Confederate units such as the 7th Virginia Cavalry and some of Jefferson Davis's guards. The included letter from Jim Hannah on July 16, 1979, at the time of the sale of this rifle to Hank Culbert states the rifle had been in his family since the Civil War when it was used by his grandfather Major John H. Hannah. Hannah was wounded in battle and later died at Oliver Springs in 1880. The rifle was passed down through his family. Jim Hannah received it from his father, General Harvey H. Hannah. Copies of information on Major John H. Hannah (1838-1880) are also included. This information originated from "The Old Nineteenth Tennessee Regiment, C.S.A. June, 1861-April, 1865" by Dr. W.J. Worsham from 1902. Hannah was born in Polk County, Tennessee, and came from "Old Virginia Revolutionary stock." His parents had moved from Virginia prior to his birth. His 75 year old father, John P. Hannah, along with J.H. Hannah and his four brothers all joined the Confederate Army. His father helped raise a company for the Old 19th Tennessee and then resigned due to his age. J.H. Hannah served as captain of Company F. He was noted as "kind hearted and esteemed by all, he made a good soldier and gained the respect of his superior officers." The 19th fought in nearly every campaign with the Army of Tennessee, including fighting at Fishing Creek and Shiloh. Hannah was wounded by a piece of a shell that struck him in the chest and left him with lung issues for the remainder of his life. The wound is believed to have occurred at Shiloh. He was promoted to major on October 10, 1864, when Major Deaderick was promoted to colonel of another regiment. The 19th suffered heavy losses throughout the war and only consisted of less than 100 men when they surrendered with the Army of Tennessee on April 26, 1865, at Greensboro, North Carolina. After the war, he married, had two sons (Gerarld and Harvey H. Hannah), and worked in wholesale. Harvey H. Hanna (1868-1936) was the lieutenant colonel of the 4th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish-American War and then adjutant general for Tennessee as well as a railroad and utilities commissioner and a noted orator and supporter of William Jennings Bryan. His son Jim T. Hannah was born in 1917. The rifle has a rounded brass blade front sight, notch and folding ladder rear sight, second rear sight dovetail on the frame, additional mounting hole and tap visible on the upper tang, "HENRY'S PATENT. OCT. 16. 1860/MANUFACT'D BY THE NEWHAVEN ARMS CO. NEWHAVEN.CT." on top of the barrel, the serial number stamped on the top of the barrel at the breech, sling swivel on the right side of the stock, and a screw fastened loop for a sling hook on the right side of the barrel and magazine.
Good "out of the attic" condition overall with dark brown patina, mild oxidation and pitting, moderate dings and scratches, some absent or replaced screws, and fairly moderate overall wear. The stock is also good and has some thin cracks, small chips at the edges, and general scratches and dings. Mechanically fine. Overall, a solid and interesting Confederate associated Henry lever action rifle.