View Full Version : Spencer Carbine

Trooper Graham
09-06-2006, 12:20 PM
It is known that the first Spencers didn't make it for issue until mid-1863. I have read that some were in the field as an individual purchase as early as spring of 1862. Does anyone have any documentation on any individuals that this would include?


09-10-2006, 11:29 PM
From Christopher Spencer’s Horizontal Shot Tower by Stephen F. Blancard

The first recorded use of a Spencer in battle was by a personal friend of Christopher Spencer named Sgt. Francis O. Lombard. Lombard used it in a skirmish near Cumberland, Maryland on October 16, 1862. The first official use of the Spencer was at the battle of Gettysburg.

Initially rifles were issued to the cavalry. But the shorter carbine soon proved its superiority for mounted troops. From Jan. 1, 1861 to June 30, 1866 the Federal government purchased 94,196 carbines, 13,171 rifles and more than 58,000,000 cartridges. The wartime Spencer was chambered for the No. 56 Spencer rimfire cartridge, also called the .56-56 Spencer. Rifles had a 30” round barrel, full forend retained with three iron bands. About 700 rifles were ordered by the Navy and made to take the sword bayonet. Spencer is though to have actually made about 1,000 on this production run. Probably selling the remaining 300 to the public. All other rifles procured by the government from Spencer were made to take the socket bayonet. The wartime Spencer carbine had a 22” barrel, short forend retained with a single iron band and spring. From the receiver back, it is the same as the rifle. Approximately 50,000 war model carbines were produced. By the end of the war the Spencer carbine had pretty well established itself as the best arm suited for cavalry use.

First published in The Black Powder Report, Sept. 1985

09-11-2006, 12:44 PM
Cool Stuff Frenchie!

the MI 5th and 6th Cavalry were issued Spencer Rifles. The 8th Cavalry was issued Spencer Carbines.....we just reenacted the hunting down of General Morgan and his raiders and unfortunately didn't have a ton of Spencer Carbines in the ranks (8th MI and 11th MI Cav both present).

One of our mounted reenactors has an original carbine......jams a lot but a neat weapon to have on a reenacting battlefield.

Trooper Graham
09-11-2006, 01:13 PM
Thanks Frenchie for this post and the email too.



09-11-2006, 04:42 PM

This link goes to the full article as posted in the Spencer Shootist Society forum on the CAS City board.