Saturday, June 1, 2013
British Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle-Musket
The British Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle-Musket was the most widely used firearm of the Confederates during the Vicksburg Campaign. Enfield rifles were smuggled into the South though the Union navy’s blockade, and they were very well liked by the troops lucky enough to be issued them.
The 3rd Louisiana Infantry was issued the Enfield during the Siege of Vicksburg, and William Tunnard, a sergeant in the regiment, wrote that they “Began a brisk fire in their eagerness to test their quality.” The Union soldiers receiving this fire noticed the improved accuracy of the Rebels and “Wished to know where the devil the men procured these guns, and were by no means choice in the language which they used against England and English manufacturers.” The Enfield was 55.3 inches long, weighed nine pounds, and used a .577 caliber minie ball.
My GG Uncle was in the 34th Arkansas, which was issued Enfield’s. The shorter 2 band Enfield rifle was even more highly prized, particularly by cavalry for it’s shorter size and long range accuracy.