Thursday, February 22, 2018

'Secret' stash: What public doesn't see at Springfield Armory

This Enfield, part of the "secret" stash at the Springfield Armory, has bullet embedded 
near the trigger guard. (SEE VIDEO, PHOTO BELOW.)
A fraction of the collection of Civil War rifles in the Springfield Armory storage room.
(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
Like this blog on Facebook

If you've been to the Springfield (Mass.) Armory National Historic Site, you probably were impressed with the Civil War weaponry. Hands-down my favorite exhibit there is the organ of Springfield muskets, certainly a work of art. But only about half of the Civil War weapons in the Armory's collection is on public display.

During an hour-long visit to the Armory recently, curator Alex MacKenzie and National Park Service ranger Susan Ashman showed off some of what's currently not on public view -- the "secret" stash, so to speak.  In a massive, temperature-controlled storage room,  rows of meticulously tagged Civil War weaponry are kept in huge cabinets. Look but don't touch were my orders from MacKenzie, who carefully handled the artifacts while wearing gloves. Here are some of my favorites from the "secret" stash:



A 'DINGED-UP' PATTERN 1853 BRITISH ENFIELD


The name "R.H. Weakley" -- perhaps a 42nd Tennessee private who was killed at the 
Battle of Franklin  -- is carved into the stock. (WATCH SHORT VIDEO ABOVE FOR MORE.)


A PIKE FOR A MADMAN? OR A MARTYR?


Springfield Armory curator Alex MacKenzie holds one of the pikes fiery abolitionist John Brown intended
 to use for his slave insurrection in Harpers Ferry, Va. The pikes were made in Collinsville, Conn.


WHAT WAS IN JEFFERSON DAVIS' BAGGAGE?


Manufactured in Paris, this circa-1855 big-game rifle reputedly was found among the belongings 
of Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy, when he was captured on May 10, 1865.
A close-up of the weapon shows the fine French craftsmanship. (READ MORE HERE.)
The rifle's maker -- F.P. Devisme -- is engraved on the barrel. The .74-caliber weapon was 
designed to fire exploding projectiles. It has been in the Springfield Armory collection since 1887.


A BLOWN-OUT RIFLE BARREL


Perhaps the sad demise of this Springfield musket was caused by a Union soldier who forgot 
to remove the tompion before he fired it.


A DRAWER OF CONFEDERATE SWORDS


For most of the Civil War weaponry in its collection,  such as these swords, the Armory does not 
have provenance. The 12 edged weapons may have been battlefield pickups during the war.

-- Have something to add (or correct) in this post? E-mail me here.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for showing your photo of the John Brown Pikes. I am a direct descendant of John Brown. Alice Keesey Mecoy JohnBrownKin.com

    ReplyDelete