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Thread: M1816/1822 conversion musket.....What style?

  1. #1
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    Default M1816/1822 conversion musket.....What style?

    I use an original M1822, type III, with Cone in Barrel Conversion. I was comparing it to a friends Pedersoli with French/Drum Conversion. Lets not even go into the issues that the Pedersoli is copied from a Type II or III, dated 1816, etc....

    We were talking about whether the older Type I's and II's w/the drum conversion would have been around,(talking National Armories here), by the 1860's?
    If you follow Flayderman's..... "Bolster" and Maynard Tape Conversions would all have been mid to late 1850's. The "Belgian", "Cone in Barrel", or National Armories Conversions started about 1848 to mid 1850's. Flayderman states that in 1848 over 700,000 of this model were accounted for and that 100,000 of those were sold off as pre 1812, unserviceable, or damaged. The remaining 600,000 were set upon for conversion. Is he including these early M1822's in this count? It says that these "French"/Drum conversions were done by Private Contractors, but were they then returned to the Armories? Or sold off as surplus? Were they used up/issued out during the Mexican War?
    I know that some flintlocks were still being issued at the beginning of the ACW, but according to H.K. Craig, Colonel of Ordnance, Statement of serviceable muskets.... dated November 12, 1859, There were 275,744 "Altered to perc, Cal 69", 14,785 "Altered to Maynard Lock, Cal 69", and 33,631 "Perc since Rifled, Cal 69",(not 100% sure this is not talking about rifled M1842's? as rifled M1842's do not seem to appear on this statement at all!). As a Note: This Statement lists only 213,155 "Made as Perc, Cal 69".

    So you ask...... "Paul, what is your question????? If I read all this correct, there should be as many M1822 Conversions in the ranks as M1842's, and those conversions should mostly be of the "Belgian" and "Bolster" styles.....Correct? And what happened to the other 275,000 M1822's that were in the Armories?

    p.s. Ever seen any ref to Mexican War Troops being issued early Perc Conversion Muskets? or M1842's or M1841's other than the "Mississippians"?
    "In the heat of battle it ceases to be an idea for which we fight... or a flag. Rather... we fight for the man on our left and we fight for the man on our right... and when armies have scattered and when the empires fall away... all that remains is the memory
    of those precious moments... we spent side by side."

    Paul Bennett

  2. #2
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    [QUOTE=Tiger_rifles;213932]And what happened to the other 275,000 M1822's that were in the Armories?[QUOTE]

    Many were still left in their original flintlock conversions 1861. This is why you see a lot more conversion types because the southern arsonals had to come up with their own methods of converting these weapons to percussion. There are many instances of Confederate troops using flintlocks in the early stages of the war. Shiloh and Jackson's Valley Campaign are two places I know flintlocks were extensively used.
    Jason K.
    Prodigal Sons Mess
    36th Illinois Co. "B"
    Old Northwest Volunteers

  3. #3
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    As another example using the status of the Virginia State Armory in the early months and what was indicated on hand and issued during April-June 1861, before the Armory was transfered over to the CS Govt. A compiled tally based upon Col Dimmocks Va Ord returns, and their respective breakdown

    - 27,306 Flintlocks
    - 24,307 M1816 patterns still in their original flintlock form
    - 1,638 M1812 patterned Va Manufactory Musket
    - 541 M1795 US Muskets
    - 700 "English Flint Muskets"
    - 120 "Flint Rifles" (thought to be M1814 short rifles)

    - 14,363 Percussion
    - 9,386 M1816 patterns, converted
    - 379 M1812 Virginia Manufactory Pattern, converted
    - 3,731 M1842 - Muskets
    - 187 M1842 - Rifled Muskets
    - 12 M1855 Rifled Muskets
    - 668 M1858 Harpers Ferry Rifle
    - 135 (not identified)

    Noting that many of these National Armories within the Southern States soon became reclaimed as state property. Mentions within that the armory was making conversions as rapidly as possible in the immediately preceeding months in anticipation of need. Unfortunately no mention of what exact type of conversions were being made. Besides the armory itself it was also utilizing a number of local contractor shops for the purpose as well. Each respective state at that time being left to their own accord, Im would expect the available methods used could have had a wider range.

    Of the weapons available issued out of Richmond in those early months, 65 percent still were flintlock. Of the available percussion ones available, the issues of converted M1816/1822 were 3-1 v/s the M1842. There were also 13K other weapons issued out of VMI, but I dont have the tally/breakdown for those at hand at the moment. Unfortunately the Petr M1816 French Conversion is the only repro of the model being made that Im aware of.
    Last edited by Frederick14Va; 01-24-2013 at 05:18 PM.
    Lieut Frederick Sineth
    14th Virginia Infantry Regt Co.I
    - 106th Penna Vol Co.F

    - Pegrams Va Artillery
    - 150th Sailors Creek

  4. #4
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    Default 1822s

    The numbers don't jibe, do they? Besides the Arsenal conversions---there is still not a firm figure here because of the lost Harpers Ferry records---there were also various conversions done by contractors such as Nippes, Remington, Colt, etc. I have come to the conclusion that we are never going to know for certain exactly what the numbers are. Records also don't always differentiate between the 42s and "improved model of 1822" flintlock conversions.

    Suffice to say, the standard infantry arm (pretty much) up until 1863, and perhaps later, was a smoothbore musket. Cone in barrel conversions were very common.
    Last edited by Craig L Barry; 01-25-2013 at 05:09 PM.
    Craig L Barry

    Author: The Civil War Musket: A Handbook for Historical Accuracy

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    That is some great Information!
    Thank you Gentlemen, let me see if I got this right..... if my militia unit was sent to the Armory to draw muskets there was just an even chance to get a 42 as a 1816/22 with Bolster, Belgian, or French conversion.

    I really like the numbers on the Virginia State Armory, where would i find these same numbers for Fort Leavenworth, Ks.?
    "In the heat of battle it ceases to be an idea for which we fight... or a flag. Rather... we fight for the man on our left and we fight for the man on our right... and when armies have scattered and when the empires fall away... all that remains is the memory
    of those precious moments... we spent side by side."

    Paul Bennett

  6. #6

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    Hallo!

    As Herr Craig has shared, it is confusing and imprecise.

    The 1840 survey/inventory was an attempt to clean up if not clean out the armories by prioritzing arms into classes, which looked at older arms that could be altered or converted, and arms considered so old they were junk and sold off at public auction. (However, it seems not universally done, as well as complicated by holding on to to lower class weapons deemed good enough for miitia and emergency use.)

    I assume with the threat of war, another inventory was conducted and completed in December of 1859 listing the muskets and rifles in store. I, and others, have posted it several times over the years, and it should be archived in the SEARCH function.

    Ideally, the armory/arsenal system divided them up into different classes often based on their major function as well. For example:

    Little Rock armory was a "Class 3" armory - storing mostly older weapons intended for state militias if mobilization was called for. According to the Confederate inventory after the CS seizure these list:

    5,625 M1816/22 Springfield muskets, flintlock
    2,864 "Hall's" rifles, flintlock
    52 M1816/22 Percussion conversion muskets
    357 M1842 Springfield muskets
    900 M1855 Springfield rifle- muskets
    54 M1841 "Mississippi" rifles

    Last but not least, we do not know the numbers due to "rate of usage" and the normal life expectancy or life span of an arm in service. Some numbers are always exiting due to use, loss, unmendable breakage, theft, etc.

    Curt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  7. #7
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    Remember that the War was fought - on both sides - by state troops, very few Federal troops were in service, especially in the early period and many of them were in the west away from early action. Federal troops were well armed with modern arms but not always so those serving the states. If the troops were "sent to the Armory to draw muskets" they got what was on hand, very often flint. This was rarely the case, however, the arms the states owned were delivered to troops at points of assembly where the troops were training in large groups. Militia units, both North and South, had many more flint muskets than percussion and those muskets were in the hands of the militia or in state arsenals, there were relatively few Federal arsenals arsenals whether North or South. Remember that by the Militia Act of 1808 states drew new arms and equipment from Federal sources and the arms and equipment they drew were then their property and the maintenance thereof was the state's responsibility, this included conversion. Few states had felt the need to convert all of their muskets and rifles to percussion and the availability of percussion arms was relatively limited from Federal sources as well - the newly made percussion arms, the M1842 as well as the M1855 series arms were sent to Federal troops first, then as the excess came available they were given to the various states.

    For an idea of what was issued, read the example of Virginia in "Message from the Execttive of the Commonwealth, with Accompanying Documents, Showing the Military and Naval Preparations for the Defence of the State of Virginia, &c. &c." published in June of 1861. This tells what was sent to the troops and often where it was sent for their use. Virginia, being what was then considered the most militarily powerful of the all states, was well equipped with muskets and rifles of various military types, old and new, flint and percussion:

    http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/message/message.html

    For more accurate information on the arms and their issue at the beginning of the American Civil war, buy or borrow the following:

    U.S. Military Flintlock Muskets, and Their Bayonets, the Early Years, 1790-1815 and U.S. Military Flintlock Muskets, and Their Bayonets, the Later Years, 1816 through Civil War both by Peter A. Schmidt and absolutely essential to be able to understand the arms situation in 1861. His work uses the original documents from both Springfield and Harpers Ferry. Yes, these are the long thought lost Harpers Ferry records - they originals at Harpers Ferry were destroyed but the Washington copies are in the National Archives where they have mostly been ignored. The original documents of the various contractors are referenced as well.

    Also extremely valuable is American Military Shoulder Arms, Vol. 3, Flintlock Alterations and Muzzleloading Percussion Shoulder Arms, 1840-1865 by George D. Moller. This is the third in Mr. Moller's continuing set of volumes about American military arms and is very detailed. It was recently published in limited edition and is selling out fast. His Volume 2 is also important for understanding of the arms used by both sides in the ACW. There are excellent explanations of the various conversion processes tried and let me tell you that the commonly available reproduction of the M1816 was almost non-existent as an arsenal conversion in reality. And the cone in barrel conversion - the most common method used - had serious problems that doomed it as a safe weapon from the beginning. Yes, many survive... but many do not.

    I might add that Moller's invaluable book, published less than a year ago, is rapidly selling out as are his Volumes I and II which were republished along with the new Vol. III, their prices in the past had risen to high levels on the market (between $350 and $500 each) and there is reason to believe that they will again so if you want one or all three, best to buy them now while they are available for $95.00/volume - they are worth every cent.
    T.P. Hern
    Co. A, 4th Virginia
    The Stonewall Brigade

  8. #8
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    I might add that by no means all lower class or early arms were sold of or destroyed. Early US made flint muskets were quite common during the early war period due to the fact that there were many in state possession - only those in Federal possession were purged. The states converted these to percussion and they served on.
    T.P. Hern
    Co. A, 4th Virginia
    The Stonewall Brigade

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