Map of the Confederate States, Circa 1862.

Perrine's map of the Confederate States, Circa 1862.

Confederate manufactures appear in alphabetical order; each reference has been taken from text listed below the manufactures section and may not reflect finding in recent years. This section should only be referred to for basic information surrounding the maker in question.

It is always recommend that before purchasing any Confederate weapon, a complete analysis of the piece be accomplished by a competent military weapons appraiser. Corrections are welcome.

Augusta Machine Works, August, Georgia

The Confederate revolver attributed to the Augusta Machine Works is somewhat of a mystery. Since it is not marked with a name, some collectors question whether this is the revolver made at the site, while others question whether any revolvers were manufactured at the Machine Works. It is a fact that the Confederate Government had a factory in Augusta, Georgia, known as the Augusta Machine Works, but what war materials it produced has never been verified. Other questions arise as to whether 6-stop and 12-stop revolvers were made at the same place, and if so, why? Are these revolvers of Confederate origin or not? This revolver is a close copy of the Colt Navy, with a full octagonal barrel, brass trigger guard and back-strap, and a Colt Navy-Type loading lever catch. The rifling has six lands and grooves with a slight clockwise twist with no gain. It has a deep oval to the trigger guard, a finely checkered hammer spur, a roller onto hammer, and a spring on the wedge. There are specimens in existence, which have either 6-stop or 12-stop cylinders. The 6-stop or 12-stop cylinders. The 6-stop cylinders have safety pins and a slot in the hammer face, while the 12-stop cylinders of course, have no safety pins. The guns have assembly numbers on most parts, but no serial numbers. They are called assembly numbers because the marks are not visible on a fully assembled gun. They consist on one-digit numbers or letters, and there are duplications on all of them. The dies used were extra large for a handgun. The marks appear on the rear of the barrel lug beside the hole for the plunger, the top of the loading lever flat, and the loading lever plunger. Other marks show up on the top of the wedge, the rear of the cylinder between the nipples, the back of the frame beside the hammer, and the front of the frame beside the hammer, and the front of the frame between the locking studs. They also are located on the back strap, and the inside of the trigger guard plate. A number does not appear on the rear of the 6-stop cylinder because the safety pins are in the way. Without serial numbers it is difficult to estimate the total number of Revolvers produced. A comparison with the Columbus revolvers offers some possible conclusions. An estimated 100 Columbus revolvers were manufactured, and today there are more Augusta revolvers in the hands of collectors than Columbus revolvers. This could indicate that either more than 100 Augustas were made or that the end of the war was near and so revolvers did not receive long or hard use, thus, the higher survival rate. It is absolutely certain that the 6 and 12-stop cylinder pistols are of the same origin. All characteristics, including the large oval trigger-guard, are identical. The rifling was made with the same rifling machine and the assembly numbers and letters were stamped with the same dies. Why produce both a 6- and 12-stop revolver? They probably started out copying the 6-stop Colt Navy, then decided to adopt the improved safety device by the 12-stop cylinder. Was the revolver manufactured by the Confederacy? This can be answered by looking at the brass on different specimens. Some were made with yellow brass and others with the bronze-colored brass that is typical only of Confederate Arms. The gun is definitely not European because it also has American threads on the screws. In Confederate Handguns by Bill Albaugh presents two letters and a deposition stating that handguns were made at the Machine Works. James W. Camak, an attorney at Athens, Georgia, wrote in March 1915 that pistols were made at the Confederate government-owned pistol factory in Augusta. In a letter to E. Berkeley Bowie in 1918, Samuel C. Wilson, secretary, Department of Public Health, Augusta, wrote “A pistol factory at Augusta between Jackson and Campbell, Adams and D'Antignac streets, now occupied by the Augusta Lumber Company, was operated by the Confederate Government under Major N.S. Finney, Chief of Ordnance on the staff of General B.D. Fry, commanding the Department of Augusta. The pistol was long-barreled, six chambered, percussion cap, paper cartridge, similar to Colts, and considered at that time one of the best in our service.” The description of the revolver in Wilson's letter fits that of the designated Augusta revolver, including the statement that it was one of the best made in the Confederacy. Remember too, that people writing about these events in 1915 and 1918 could still get their information first hand from persons who had lived in Augusta during the Civil War. In a deposition taken in 1928, J.B. Patterson stated that he was a small child living in Augusta during the Civil War. When General Sherman's army was expected to pass through Augusta, he distinctly remembered that people flocked to the foundry, known as the Augusta Machine Works, to remove anything left of value. According to his deposition, guns, cannons, heavy machinery and pistols were made at the foundry, which was the property of the Confederate Government.

Boyle & Gamble

Located on south Sixth Street, one block from the old Virginia Armory, the above were in operation throughout the war and made swords of all kinds. They also made knives and bayonets. The distinction between the two firms is not known although it appears that Boyle & Gamble sold their property privately to individuals and to such military outfitters as Mitchell & Tyler while Boyle, Gamble & MacFee were strictly under government contract. Judging from survival ratio this was a very large operation. Principals were: Edwin Boyle, Gamble & E. MacFee. The pommels of the Boyle & Gamble swords are quite distinctive in shape and style of decoration. Another distinctive feature is the pronounced “notch” on the top of the pommel, this feature is only known to exist on the Boyle & Gamble swords. “Many of the B & G swords manufactured are marked within the underside of the guard showing the firm name and address, this marking is noted on Staff & Foot Officer's as well as Cavalry sabres.”

College Hill Arsenal, Nashville, Tennessee

“Located on College Hill, Nashville, a private armory was operated under the above name by L.T. Cunningham. Products were sold to the state, the Government and to private individuals. Nashville fell to the Federals on April 1, 1862 which ended Cunningham's activities but until then, all types of swords and sabres were manufactured on a large scale. In the main, their cavalry sabres were a direct copy of those made by their competitor, the Nashville Plow Works but, without the inclusion of the firm’s name on the underside if the guard and with the metal instead of brass backstraps. A peculiarity of the foot, field and staff officer's blades is that the cutting edge does not extend the full length. Instead, it begins abruptly about three-quarters of an inch from the guard, much as do those on present day penknives. Another peculiarity usually found is an unornamented pommel with the knucklebow junction at its bottom rather than the midway. This has the effect of giving the pommel quite a “high” appearance. All blades have unstopped fullers and when etched, such decorations usually confines itself only to the fuller and extends the entire length. Evidently Cunningham performed much of the firm’s etching and is quite distinctive and which sometimes includes the form of a monster and more often than not, the letters “C.S.A.” and a Confederate Sword and Bars flag. Some swords are to be found with “C.L. Cunningham, Nashville” include in the blade etching, but so small as not to be seen without the aid of a magnifying glass.”

The Confederate States Armory, Kenansville, North Carolina

“Despite its official sounding name this was a private, but large enterprise operated by Louis Froelich. A wide variety of products were produced from 1861–1865 which includes swords, sabres, knives and cutlasses. The most recognized Confederate States Armory Sword is the Staff Officer's pattern with “CSA” forming the guard. The guards appear to have been manufactured by way of stamping, however the are indeed cast.”

James Conning, Mobile, Alabama

James Conning, Dauphin and Water Street, Mobile, produced many examples of edged weapons which include fine Officer's swords as well as cavalry and artillery sabres under contract for the State of Alabama. These latter are stamped on the reverse ricasso with firm name and address. This method of marking evidently appeared too commercial to be used on his officer's swords. The maker identified many of these by engraving his name and address on the reverse scabbard throat. In as much as a serial number is stamped on the underside of the guard just in front of the blade. A peculiarity of most blades, officers or contract pieces, is that the sharpened portion extends from tip to about two inches from the guard thence graduating to a rounded portion such as found on the back of the blade. A comparison between the products of this manufacture and those of Boyle & Gamble indicates some common denominator. The extent of such strongly suspected close connection is no known.”

Cook & Brother, New Orleans, Louisiana

“Ferdinand W.C. Cook and his brother, Francis, both English citizens, opened a rifle factory at #1 Canal Street, New Orleans in June 1861. The manufacture continued until the fall of New Orleans when it removed to Athens, Georgia. All types of rifles and carbines were made. Apparently no serious consideration was given to the making of edged weapons although a few cutlasses and sabre bayonets were turned out in limited quantities. It is also reported that an attempt was made to manufacture sabres "but they were crude affairs with an iron hilt of Revolutionary type. Their manufacture was not a success and the attempt was soon abandoned.”

Cook & Brother-Part 2

“Cook & Brother produced firearms in New Orleans from 1861 to 1862 and the Athens, Ga. From 1863 to 1864. The firm manufactured carbines, rifles, musketoons, and swords. Englishman Ferdinand W. Cook, an engineer and architect, and his brother Francis Cook started their arms company in June 1861. While in New Orleans, their production was sold to the state of Alabama. Just before the move from New Orleans on April 1, they accepted a large contract with with the confederacy for 30,000 arms. In April 1862, the Cook brothers loaded machinery on to two ships to avoid possible capture by Farragut’s fleet. They went from New Orleans to Vicksburg, Miss., and then to Selma, Ala. The brothers than traveled from Selma to Athens, Ga. where they purchased the grits mill from the Hodgsons family. Production was reported to be about 300 to 600 arms per month. The markings on the lockplate for the rifles, carbines, and musketoons were “Cook & Brother, N.D.” or “Cook & Brother, Athens, Ga.” and next to this is stamped the serial number and the date. A Confederate flag is stamped on the lockplate behind the hammer. The serial number appears on most parts including the screwheads. The breech of the barrel is stamped “proved” (upside down). The barrels on the arms made in New Orleans were stamped, “Cook & Brother N.O.” The Cook arms were well made and were very serviceable. The inspector’s cartouche is F.W.C which stands for Ferdinand W.C. Cook. The first arms made in 1861 and early 1862 were for the sword bayonet, and later in 1862, almost all were made for the socket bayonet. Early guns had two-piece trigger guards and later arms went to the more simple serviceable one-piece trigger guards. They used both walnut and cherry wood with good inletting finish.  All of the arms examined dated 1862, 1863, and 1864. There were no 39-inch short rifle, 24-inch artillery carbine, and 21-inch cavalry carbines. The barrels were brown and Damascus. The twisted iron barrel is a visible characteristics of all Cook arms. The source of iron for the Cook arms was the Shelby Iron Works.

Courtney & Tennant, Charleston, South Carolina and Robert Mole & Sons, Birmingham, England

The firm of Courtney & Tennant, Charleston, were importers and naval outfitters. They did not manufacture. Early in the war, George Tennant, one of the principals, went abroad where he purchased considerable supplies for the Confederate States Navy among which were navy buttons of all sizes, regulation, naval officer's swords and naval cutlasses. These latter two items were made to order by Robert Mole & Sons of Birmingham, England, whose name as makers are stamped on the back of the blade. The purchasing firm's name and address appears on the reverse ricasso, stamped (two lines) in a rectangle. Mole also supplied the Confederacy with a number of distinctive cavalry sabres. These were close copies of the English cavalry Pattern 1853, but with all brass guard. These are also stamped on the back of the blade (sometimes on the guard as well) “Mole.”

Davis & Bozeman, Central Alabama

“Henry J. Davis and David W. Bozeman made approximately 900 rifles and 89 carbines for the state of Alabama. In addition, they repaired arms for the state. In November 1864 their contract had expired. The well made barrel are bolsters are identical to the ones on the Dickson, Nelson & Co. and the Hodgkins arms. It appears the barrels were made in Columbus, Ga., for all three gun makers.”

A.H. DeWitt, Columbus, Georgia

Abraham Henry DeWitt, a jeweler from Columbus, changed his occupation to sword making early in 1861. The extent of this operation is not known although he is reputed to have had a contract with the state of Georgia for cavalry sabres, and offered to sell the Confederacy these weapons with belt for $20 per.

Dickson, Nelson & Co., Dawson, Georgia

“In 1861, William Dickson, Owen O. Nelson, and Dr. Lewis H. Sadler started the Shakanoosa Arms Co. in Dickson, Ala. They received a contract from the state of Alabama for 5,000 Mississippi rifles (Model 1841) and bayonets. Records show that from October 1, 1863 to November 1, 1864, the state received 645 rifles against this contract. Shortly after the armory was started, it had to be moved to Rome, Ga. Here, it was in operation for several months until there was a fire which destroyed the plant. Next the armory was moved to Adairsville, Ga., and then settled in Dawson, Ga., around March 1864. The armory remained in operation until the end of the war. The Shelby Works supplied the iron for the arms made at Dickson, Nelson & Co.”

Dufilho, New Orleans, Louisiana

“It remains for some future historian to properly establish the background of this sword maker, but judging from his specimens still extant, his operation was not as small as formerly believed. Some of his weapons are stamped with his name and address while others are totally unmarked and can be identified as his only by direct comparison with those that are marked. It is possible that Alexandre Henri Dufilho employed the same artist for blade etching as did Thomas, Griswold & Co., New Orleans. Such an arrangement would not be at all unusual. It seemed to be common practice for firms operating in the same town or city to share the same blade etcher.”

Fayetteville Arsenal, Fayetteville, North Carolina

“On April 22, 1861, the state of North Carolina seized the Fayetteville Arsenal which was U.S. property. Governor Elis of N.C. offered the arms stored at the arsenal to President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy. There were 32,678 muskets and 3,685 rifles confiscated. The captured rifle machinery at Harper’s Ferry in April 1861 was shipped to Fayetteville Armory by June 1861. At first the armory fabricated captured gun parts from Harper’s Ferry and converted flintlock arms to percussion. By the spring of 1862 the armory was in full production. The early production rifles, marked 1861 and 1862, were made from captured Harper’s Ferry parts. The lockplate was made for the Maynard tape priming primer, but not milled, and its shape was similar to the humpback Richmond lock. The second production type lockplate is less humpbacked, dated 1862, and made from Harper’s Ferry parts. The standard type has a lockplate without the humpback profile and is similar to the U.S. Model 1861 musket. Also it has characteristics “S” hammer. The total production of the Fayetteville Armory was over 10,000 rifles. The brass mounted rifle was marked on the lock “Fayetteville, N.C.” above the eagle and “CSA” under the eagle. The locks were dated 1862, 1863, and 1864. The brass buttplate was stamped “CSA.” The barrel breech was marked “VP” with an eaglehead motif and the date. This is identical to the Harper’s Ferry barrel markings. The early rifles made in 1861 and 1862 used the saber bayonet with a lug on the barrel and after 1862 the socket bayonet was used to save material. The Fayetteville rifle was a well-made arm. It was .58 caliber with a 33-inch barrel and 49-inches in total length. The rifle was made with brass bands, butt plate, trigger guard, and force-end cap. The stock was marked “JB” which stands for James Burton, the Fayetteville inspector. Fayetteville also assembled a few hundred Model 1855 pistol-carbines from the captured parts from Harper’s Ferry. The obsolete single-shot pistol-carbines with attachable shoulder stock were produced because of the tremendous need for arms by the South. These arms are very rare. In March 1865, the Fayetteville Armory machinery was shipped to Chatham Country to avoid Sherman’s troops. However, within two months the Yankees found the machinery and transferred it to Raleigh.”

Firmin & Sons, London, England

“In order to obtain military supplies and equipment from Europe the Confederate States Navy sent Commander James D. Bulloch, C.S.N. to England early in the war and his venture was highly successful. One of his main contacts along this line was the old and established house of military outfitters, Firmin & Sons, 153 Strand and 12 Conduit Street, London, whose name and address is found stamped upon the backs of the very rare Confederate navy buttons and also etched on the ricasso of a few of the very rare Confederate naval officer’s swords. The design of these closely follow those described under Courtney & Tennant and it is probably that Robert Mole & Sons made the weapons for both. Another type sword bearing Firman's name and with Confederate markings recently turned up. Generally it follows the two branched iron guarded British light cavalry sabre of 1822 from which our own dragoon model 1833 was copied. The obverse of the 32 1/2-inch etched blade contains, as a portion of its decoration, a Stars and Bars flag superimposed over an anchor (identical to the regulation Confederate naval officer's sword)....The iron guard precludes the sword from being navy. The anchor indicates it was not for the army or the cavalry, but related to sea service. This leaves only the marines. It is assumed the “CM” on the blade back strands for “Confederate Marines.” To somewhat strengthen this assumption is an account of the CSS Atlanta, June 17, 1863, Port Royal, S.C. “James Thurston (one of the prisoners), 1st Lieutenant, C.S. Marine Corps has a sword with equipment’s, made by Firmin & Sons, 153 Strand and 13 Conduit Sts., London....”

J. F. Garrett & Co., Greensboro, North Carolina

“The breech-loading carbine was invented and patented in Greensboro, N.C., by Jere H. Tarpley. He received a Confederate patent on February 14, 1863, and his name appears on the barrel tang. He joined J. & F. Garrett & Co. to make carbines for the state of North Carolina. The carbines were made for about one year with their production amounting to only a few hundred. The carbine had a very unique design which enabled this arm to be made with a file. The frame was unfinished brass with a copper color. The barrel was blued and the hammer was case hardened. The major flaw in the carbine was that it does not have a gas seal to prevent the escape of highly erosive gases between the breech-block and the barrel when fired. With each firing, the gap between the breech-block and the barrel would be larger. The carbine used paper ammunition. Although the carbine was made mainly for the state, it was also sold commercially. It is the only Confederate firearm sold to the public. The Tarpley was attractive in appearance, but it was not very serviceable. Clap, Gates & Co. was ten miles from the Garrett operation in Greensboro. The hammer and other parts could have been supplied by Clapp, Gates & Co. Dates of production,1863–1864, total production, ‘few hundred’.”

Georgia Armory, Milledgeville, Georgia

At the time of the War between the States the capital of the State of Georgia seceded was located at Milledgeville. Shortly after Georgia seceded from the Union the State Penitentiary at Milledgeville was converted into an armory. Here was undertaken considerable repair of firearms already on hand, and on a limited scale, the manufacture of Mississippi type rifles and sabre bayonets for the rifles. These last were of two types: those with all brass hilts similar to those of the U.S. Model. The stamping that appears on the ricasso of these is from the same die used to stamp the barrels and lock plates of the rifles.

L. Haiman & Brother, Columbus, Georgia

“Louis and Elijah Haiman, Columbus, operate throughout the entire war. Many and varied were the items they supplied the Confederacy and which included: buttons, belts, camp equipment, revolvers and all types of edged weapons. Their activities in the manufacture of swords is known to have been extensive. Despite this, existing specimens are rare, probably because many have not yet been identified as such. This that have been identified cover all kinds, types and patterns with a wide variety of style and method of manufacture.”

Halfman & Taylor, Montgomery, Alabama

“Halfman & Taylor of Montgomery, were military outfitters and are not known to have engaged in any manufacture. Their name is most frequently found on the backs of imported Confederate “I” buttons. Occasionally it is also found etched on the ricasso of English made swords. The balance of such blade etching consistently appears in a standard pattern of a floral design and midway of the blade, an eagle with “CSA” on breast surmounted by eleven stars (one star for each southern state), identical to those marketed by Isaac Campbell & So. It is probable that Halfman & Taylor secured their swords through Isaac & Co.”

Hyde & Goodrich, New Orleans, Louisiana

“Located at 15 Chartres, New Orleans, the firm of Hyde & Goodrich was in operation as far back as 1853. Principals were: William M. Goodrich, A.L. Hyde Thomas Jr. and A.B. Griswold. Doubt may have existed in the minds of many, both north and south as to whether the two sections of the country would ultimately engage in armed conflict, but such doubt did not extend to Hyde & Goodrich. They made, bought and imported quantities of war supplies. Some of their English imported Tranter revolvers are noted to be engraved “Hyde & Goodrich, Agents for the United States South.” In August 1861, the firm changed hands and thenceforth operated as: Thomas Griswold & Co. and if unmarked would unquestionably be identified as having been made by that firm so far as methods of manufacturing, etc., were concerned. One existing specimen of the Hyde & Goodrich marketed swords and sabres of all kinds and types but the only one known is a foot officer's sword.”

Isaac & Co. (Isaac, Campbell & Co.) London, England

Early in 1861 Saul Isaac and his nephew Benjamin Hart, both of New York City, seeing the chance of financial gain, bought out the old and established military outfitting firm of S. Campbell & Co., 71 Jermyn Street, London. Thereafter, the firm operated as Isaac & Co. They handled all kinds of military equipment including swords. The firm was dissolved at the end of the war. As they supplied only the South, all items bearing their name can be considered Confederate. Although it is probable they handled many styles of edged weapons, the only definitely identified as such are: the iron guarded English cavalry sabres Pattern 1853 which are stamped “Isaac & Co.” on the back of the blade; and a few English officer's swords bearing the former company's name (S. Campbell & Co.) whose blades were re-etched with floral designs and an eagle with “CSA” on its breast and surmounted by eleven stars, one for each of the Southern State.”

E. J. Johnston & Co. Macon, Georgia

“The operations of E.J. Johnston & Co. of Macon were quite sizable and as of April 1862, the firm was turning out “40 infantry swords, 40 naval and artillery cutlasses and 40 cavalry sabres a week.” The firm continued all through the was and all conceivable types and models were produced. The weapons made by Johnston and William J. McElroy, also of Macon are strikingly similar in both style manufacture and decorative design. The two firms obviously worked closely together which is not unusual bearing mind they were the only two such manufactures in a small town. The weapons of both were made with stopped fullers, and the blade etchings for both were plainly done by the same artist in many cases. Another feature peculiar to both on some swords is the absence of leather grip wrapping. Instead of leather, the wooden grip was highly polished, lacquered and wound with wire. Until closely examined these appear to have been made of horn rather than wood.”


The Confederate imported single action Kerr is .44 or .450 caliber, called 54-bore. A smaller size, 80-bore or .36 caliber, was also made in limited numbers. Auguste Francotte of Liege was the licensed fabricator and communicant of Kerr and made at least one .36 revolver, marked “1” and clearly of Liege make with full proofs. But the majority were London Armory guns, and were stamped on the barrel forward of the London view and proof marks, left top quarter flat, with a tine L.A.C. The frame, to which the barrel was hinged at bottom front, is stamped on the lock with an oval LONDON/ARMOURY. The back action sidelock , detachable from the revolver frame and set into the handle, is engraved by hand were the words LONDON ARMOURY Co. and in the same right side of the frame below cylinder and is hand engraved, is a mark of final acceptance as it is engraved after all polishing immediately before bluing. The actual serial number of fabrication in the Kerr revolver series is stamped on the front face of the cylinder, on the frame flat below the cylinder, under the barrel strap over top of cylinder, and in the handle in the lock mortising. On one “JS-Anchor” specimen the engraved number is 9239; the actual stamped serial number, by which pieces were reassembled after being taken apart for finishing and then returned from the polishers, is H 813, the H stamped separately from the 813 which from its regularity on the several parts appears to have been stamped in some kind of a jig. The wood under the lock is also stamped “H,” but with a bladed tool (screw-driver?) punched three times. On the front side of the handle, immediately at tip of the frame tang, is stamped the initials JS over an anchor. The identical stamp appears on other Kerr revolvers, and at the rear of the trigger guard tang of a London Armoury .577 carbine in the author's collection, which was bought from a dealer who picked it up “in Tennessee.” The lockplate usually on London Armoury Company guns bearing that imprinted cypher, is hand engraved by the same man who marked the Kerr revolver cited, with London Armoury..... Although the Kerr revolver was adopted by Portugal, marks denoting Portuguese issue are not now recorded by collector. It is possible the JS-anchor mark is some Portuguese stamp. But the finding not only of Kerr revolvers but the Enfield London Armoury Carbines from the Border states' backwoods with the same stamp, a stamp in a location denoting final acceptance by the chief inspector, seem to confirm the Southern use of the arm. The inference that the JS-anchor is a Southern mark and not the stamp of some other purchaser is argued by a few experts. While this is pure speculation, the possibility that the "H" series of Kerr revolver serials were made for Caleb Huse is quite likely. The engrave numbers are not, as usually supposed actual serial numbers. There are numbers recorded in the firm's books in terms of sale; that is, Adams and Beaumont-Adams revolvers, both single and double action, could probably be found in the books in terms of sale; that is, Adams and Beaumont-Adams revolvers, as well as Kerrs of both caliber's and both single and double action, could probably be found in the books with brackets or groups of numbers assigned to be engraved. The stamped metal serial number was for the manufacturing staff to keep track of the current batch of Kerr revolvers; the engraved serial number was in a series of entire Kerr output and ran consecutively with regard to model, a practice common to London gun makers, Holland, Westley Richards and Rigby among others. The stamped number is a clue to the quantity made in the batch, lot, order, or contract. It is also a clue as to the ration of engraved Kerr revolvers to the total output only, regardless of model changes....”

Kraft, Goldschmidt & Kraft "K.G. & G.", Columbia, South Carolina

Early in 1861 Peter W. Kraft, a gunsmith, and his brother, H.F. Kraft, a jeweler (both of Columbia) joined in forces to form the sword making firm of Kraft, Goldschmidt & Kraft (the third principal has never been identified). The result was some of the finest swords and sabres made in the south. All types and designs were made. The blade on most are similar to those of College Hill arsenal in that the cutting edge ceased abruptly about an inch before reaching the hilt, much as in today’s penknives. Another feature of their products appears to be their disregard for the traditional design of pommel cap decoration. For example: most sword makers were content with a simple ivy or laurel leaf design on either side of the pommel, but many made by K. G. & K. are noted to have a different design on either side (laurel on one side, oak leaves on the other). The firm also appears to have been fond of the use of a brass ferrule at the base of the grip. At some point K.G. & K must have located a number of Napoleonic war blades (French, Spanish and German). These long straight double-edged weapons were re-hilted in the firm’s own distinctive style. At least three of such swords were associated with Confederate General Wade Hampton. One, he carried himself, and the other two he presented to Generals M.C. Butler and Bradley T. Johnston.

Leech & Rigdon (Memphis Novelty Works) Memphis, Tennessee

Thomas Leech and Charles H. Rigdon, principles of Leech and Rigdon, also known as the Memphis Novelty Works (sometimes “Novelty Works”), are well known for the imitation Colt Revolvers which they supplied the Confederacy. Their sword making activities have never been fully explored.  It is known, however that they were engaged in sword making while in Memphis and later at Columbus, Mississippi, Georgia and at this point the partnership ended. It has been established that the firm made 1,500 revolvers. No estimate has ever been given as to their number of swords and probably never will be. However, from the existing specimens their operations in this respect were not small.  Manufacture included all types of swords, sabres, knives, bayonets and probably cutlasses as well. They are best known for foot officer's swords with “CS” in an oval on the reverse side of the counterguard and for cavalry sabres of same general design with the “CS” in an oval on the top rear counterguard, although this last may have been copied by another manufacture. In addition to these, they also supplied innumerable other swords and sabres of all designs. It also appears the firm was not adverse to dressing up a sword made by someone else by profuse blade etching which usually included a “CSA” and the firm's name on the ricasso. Some swords by this firm are found with “W. Rigdon / etcher” on the blades. It is assumed that “W. Rigdon” was a brother of Charles.

W.J. McElroy, Macon, Georgia

“At the start of the war, William J. McElroy, formally a tinner, changed occupations and went into the sword making business and operated as such throughout the entire war. Wide and varied were his products ranging from bayonets and bowies knives to all types of swords and sabres. In addition, he also produced belts, buckles, spurs and canteens. Still in addition he supplied the State of Georgia with 210 pikes in the early part of the war. There is a marked similarity between the weapons of McElroy and those of E.J. Johnston, also of Macon. Both have the stopped single fullers and of those that are etched, it is apparent that both used the same artist in many instances.”

McKennie & Co., Charlottesville, Virginia

“That McKennie & Co. of Charlottesville, was engaged in the manufacture of swords has long been known to collectors but specimens were never identified until recently. So closely do they resemble the French model from which they were copied that undoubtedly some must presently be in private collections where they are labeled “French.” Only a few specimens are known. These specimens are practically identical. All have the French type blade; unstopped large fuller on both sides with an additional smaller fuller that extends the full blade length. Still allowing the French style, the makers name and address is etched in script on the back of the blade. One specimen was evidently etched of both sides of the blade but is too worn to make out the design. McKennie & Co. began operations in July 1861 and as of the spring of the following year, employed four hands and turned out six swords per week. Not a large operation, and that even three still survive is unusual.”

Mitchell & Tyler, Richmond, Virginia

“Mitchell & Tyler of Richmond were jewelers and military outfitters. They did not manufacture. Their names are most commonly found upon the backs of Virginia State seal buttons but they also dealt in a general line of military supplies which include swords. In their employ was one William T. Ege, artist, who enhanced the value of undecorated blades by the addition of various etched designs. Ege also performed the same service for Boyle & Gamble. Many and various were his designs but his style is distinctive and easily identified. Judging from existing, Mitchell & Tyler secured the bulk of their weapons from Boyle & Gamble and many swords by this maker are found to be etched on the ricasso “Made by Boyle & Gamble & Co. for Mitchell Tyler, Richmond, Va.” Also, as evidenced by photographs that follow, plain English blades were embellished by the addition of etching the blade with patriotic “CSA,” etc.”


“The Patent model cased sets were manufactured by the Muzzy & Co. in Worcester, N.Y., for George Woodward Morse, an inventor who used these sets to promote his new breech-loading arm. Even though this Morse Combination Rifle-Shotgun is not a Confederate Firearm, it was included in this book to tell the whole Morse story. Morse held many U.S. patents on firearms. In 1861, Morse tried to sell 6,000 breech-loading carbines to Texas. These carbines were to be manufactured in Europe; however, the contract was never concluded. At the start of the war, Morse became the first superintendent of the Nashville Armory in Nashville, Tennessee. Here he began to tool-up to manufacture his new design carbine. He chose brass for the receiver because this non-ferrous metal could be casted and machined easier with semi-skilled labor. He started making parts in Nashville in until February 1862 when the city fell. His operation was transferred to Atlanta, Ga., where he worked with H. Marshall & Co., a sword manufacture. In an article in the Atlanta Daily Intelligencer, dated December 13, 1862, Mr. Marshall presented and demonstrated the new Morse Carbine to the public. The article gave a complete description of the carbine and its new cartridge. The Atlanta production carbine was assembled from parts from the Nashville Armory and the H. Marshall & Co. The number of carbines produced in Atlanta is believed to be between 200 and 400. The highest serial number known for an Atlanta Carbine is serial #180. This carbine is identical to the Atlanta prototype carbine except for its brass floor-plate and serial number. Both carbines are .54 caliber and their measurements are the same. It appears that the large serial number carbines were from Atlanta production and the small serial number carbines were from the Greenville production. The lowest serial number carbine observed is #425. The serial range for the Atlanta production was between one and 200 to 400 and the Greenville production between 300 to 1025. The operating lever on the Atlanta carbine was one-piece brass and quite heavy. The bolt head which contained the firing pin was also one-piece brass. The action was only locked when the hammer was down in the fired position. Upon close examination after testing, it was found that improvements were necessary because the bolt face became eroded by the escaping gas from punctured caps. Also the brass bolt face had begun to set back. Another fault which had to be solved was a latch for the operating lever. When the gun was cocked and held up at a 45 degree or more angle, the breech would open and extract the chambered cartridge. Some of the early production carbines were recalled to the factory to have latches applied....”

Nashville Plow Works (Sharp & Hamilton), Nashville, Tennessee

“Possibly because of the so obviously reversal of the biblical injunction of turning “swords into plowshares,” the sabres of the Nashville Plow Works have long been treasured by collectors. The distinctive hilts (on most) also identify the firm and include the letters “CSA” in large block letters. The fine journal of the Tennessee Gun Collectors Association recently published the fact that the firm was located on the west side of eighth Avenue South, just north of the overhead railroad bridge. (Ross Calvert, descendant of the Hamilton side of Sharp & Hamilton). Here from the war’s beginning until Nashville fell to the Federals on April 1, 1862, were manufactured a large but undetermined number of swords. Some cavalry sabres with crude brass strap knuckleguards have been uncovered whose blades have stopped fullers stamped “Sharp & Hamilton, Nashville, Tenn.” These, however, lack the attractive quality of the distinctive guard usually associated with the Plow Works. It was long believed that all castings of this guard were from the same mold....This is not apparent...Some were cast with a relatively smooth surface while others appear to be stippled or dotted. On some, the firm name is in large letters and small on others. Of the approximate twenty-five or more of these sabres personally handled, all but one had a brass backstrap (in contract to the College Hill Arsenal’s iron).”

Palmetto Armory (William Glaze & Co.), Columbia, South Carolina

“On April 15, 1851, the State of South Carolina awarded Benjamin Flag of Millbury, Mass., and William Glaze, owner of the Palmetto Armory, Columbia, a sizable contract for muskets, rifles and pistols. One thousand sabres and one thousand artillery swords were included; “all arms to be made within the confines of the State of South Carolina.” Later the contract was amended to delete the artillery swords and adding an additional one thousand cavalry sabres with scabbards. These were made at the Palmetto Armory and were identical to the U.S. Model 1840. All were stamped on the reverse ricasso “Columbia, S.C.” and some few “Wm. Glaze & Co.” on the obverse. Confederate Handguns raises a question as to whether those sabers stamped “Columbia, S.C.” are in fact the product of the Palmetto Armory? The answer to this is a definite "yes"" Comparison between those that also include the name of the maker “Wm. Glaze & Co.” reveal that the “Columbia, S.C.” is struck with the same die on both. An additional question also raised by Confederate Handguns is whether the sabre contract was ever fulfilled? The survival ratio strongly suggests that it was.”

Pulaski Armory, Pulaski, Tennessee

The State of Tennessee had five armories located in Columbia, Memphis, Nashville, Gallatin, and Pulaski. All five repaired and converted flintlock muskets to percussion for the state and only the Pulaski Armory made a new rifle. The Sumner Armory in Gallatin, Tenn., did make a Model 1855 carbine from mid 1861 to early 1862.

Thomas, Griswold & Co., New Orleans, Louisiana

“In August 1861, the co-partnership of Hyde & Goodrich was dissolved by the withdrawal of A.L. Hyde and the firm thenceforth continued as Thomas, Griswold & Co., corner Canal and Royal Streets, New Orleans. (Henry Thomas Jr., A.B. Griswold, A.B. Griswold, A.L. Abbott, and Henry Ginder, principal). The firm sold all kinds and types of war supplies but are known mainly for their wide variety of swords, sabres and cutlasses. Fortunately for modern day collectors most of their products are stamped with either full firm name and address or initials of firm and address, but their style of manufacture is so distinctive that those that are not marked can be readily identified.”

J.P. Murray

Before the war, John P. Murray, an Englishman, was a well-known gunsmith in Columbus. When the war started, he converted flintlock muskets to percussion for the state of Georgia. Eldridge S. Greenwood and William C. Gray operated a cotton warehouse business in Columbus. On January 17, 1862, they purchased a sword factory from A.H. Dewitt to start their riffle, carbine, and saber armory. J.P. Murray was master armorer at the new Greenwood and Gray factory. Columbus, Georgia, was the site of much ordnance activity during the war. In addition the arms from Greenwood and Gray, the firm of L. Haiman & Brother was located there, as well as a large Confederate arsenal and depot. All of this activity of the Columbus Ordnance Department was under the command of Major F.C. Humphreys. Major Humphreys’ initials appear on the barrels of the rifles and carbines made at Greenwood and Gray. Greenwood and Gray sold part of their production to the state of Alabama. Shipments of arms against this contract from October 1, 1863 to November 1864 show that a total of 262 Mississippi rifles and 73 carbines were invoiced to Alabama at $18,335. The barrels are marked “Ala.” with the date and inspector’s mark.

Tallassee, Tallassee, Alabama

“This was the official carbine of the Confederate States, adopted by a board of cavalry officers in the field in 1864. They were manufactured at the Confederate Carbine Works, which was moved from Richmond to Tallassee in July 1863. This is the only carbine officially designed and adopted into the Confederate Service. The factory was located 27 miles northwest of Montgomery on the West Bank of the Tallapoosa River. The river supplied waterpower. In 1862, they started operation to convert and remodel arms. In 1863, the factory was taken over by Confederate authorities. With new machinery and personnel from Richmond, the new cavalry carbine was put into production. The 500 carbine were not completely finished until March or April 1865 which means these arms were never issued. It appears the “tilting breech” Carbine could have been made at the Tallassee Armory. It was reported in a news article that the armory was making a breech-loading carbine which looked like a Maynard Carbine.”

The Virginia Armory Manufactory, Richmond, Virginia

“The Virginia Armory, also known as the Virginia Manufactory, was located at the south end of Fifth Street, Richmond, and begun operations in 1802 manufacturing all types of weapons which included sabres. Arms ceased in 1822 and did not continue until 1861 when the plant was loaned to the Confederate Government. At first made, the sabres had a flat pommel top and the blade as secured by a square nut screwed onto the blade tang. The similar blades on these were 40 1/2-inches long. The second model was essentially the same but with a birds head pommel to which the blade tang was penned. Both models had identical guards and blade lengths but by 1851 the latter were shortened to 36 inches. The artillery sabre had a reverse “P” type iron guard, 30-inch blade with the same double fullers common to the cavalry model. At the time of the war, the State of Virginia had on hand 3,675 of these cavalry sabres and 703 artillery sabres. Many of the former were in their original long blade length but many were thereupon cut down to the more conventional 32-36 inch length and slenderized. As originally designed, these sabres were to be carried by cross-shoulder sling and frog. Consequently, the all iron scabbards were fitted at the throat only with a stud to engage the frog. By the 1860 the style had changed-sabres were carried by belt and slings. Many of the Virginia sabres were re-scabbarded to conform with this method of carrying. Such scabbards were of iron with brass ring mounts and rings. The throat and drag were of iron.”

James Westa, Sheffield, England

“It is reputed that James Westa of Sheffield was under contract to supply the State of Louisiana with an undetermined quantity of bowies knives. The contract was made shortly after the initial secession of the seven “Cotton States” and was first fulfilled by fine Bowies bearing as a portion of the grip decoration the Louisiana State coat-of-arms (a pelican on nest feeding her young) under seven stars (a star for each of the seven seceding States: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas.) Later, the same motif was used with an additional star for each state that had seceded. The bowies were supplied with both horn and ivory grips and in various blade lengths.


Gary, Confederate Revolvers

William Albaugh, A Photographic Supplement to Confederate Swords

Anthony and Hills, Pictorial History Confederate Longarms and Pistols

William B. Edwards, Civil War Guns

Corrections and comments are welcome.


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