The State Military Works in Greenville, South Carolina, manufactured approximately 1,000 of these brass frame, breech loading carbines during the Civil War. George W. Morse invented and patented this breech loading system as well as the cased center-fire cartridge it uses; considered to be one of the earliest of its kind in using what is the precursor to the modern day firearms cartridge. These carbines were manufactured on machinery which had been captured by the Confederates from the Harpers Ferry Armory. Interestingly, Morse had started work on overseeing the alteration of muskets to his breech loading system at the government owned Harpers Ferry Armory just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, and continued his work during the war, now in support of the Confederacy, using some of the same captured machinery. The majority of the Morse carbines were issued to the South Carolina Militia with limited numbers issued to other Confederate forces. It is chambered in .50 caliber centerfire and is loaded by raising the breechblock upward. It correctly lacks maker markings; with only the last few production examples found with maker markings other than the serial number. The serial number "485" is marked on the underside of the frame and breech cover. The breech cover has an iron latch with finger serrations. The barrel is fitted with fixed blade front and notch rear sights. Mounted in a smooth butternut forearm and straight grip stock. Brass tipped iron ramrod.
Very good, exhibiting extensive wear associated with a Confederate issued arm. The barrel displays a gray and brown patina with scattered light to moderate pitting. The brass retains a highly attractive dark golden aged patina, with some scattered dings from period use. The re-oiled wood is also very good, with some scattered light dents and scratches, a crack at the left bottom rear corner of the forearm, and a crack at the front tip of the comb. Mechanically fine. With surviving examples few and far between, this rare Morse carbine will make a great addition to any Confederate or Civil War collection!
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