RiflesSingle ShotH. MerrillCalibre .54
This carbine is a single-shot, percussion, breech loader used mainly by Union cavalry units. It used the .54 calibre Minie balls with paper cartridges which were loaded by lifting the top of the breech lever. The barrels were 22 1/8 inches and round with one-barrel band.
Known regiments where the carbines were issued are:
• New York 1st, 5th, and 18th
• Pennsylvania 11th, 17th, and 18th
• New Jersey 1st
• Indiana 7th
• Wisconsin 1st and 3rd
• Kentucky 27th
• Delaware 1st
This original, breech-loading carbine is one of only some 14,500 weapons produced by H. Merrill of Baltimore, MD. This cavalry weapon is a wartime example of the First Type Merrill carbine in .54 calibre. The first type is easy to identify as it has a brass patch box which was later removed, no doubt to save cost.
This example has the brass trigger guard, brass butt plate, single brass barrel band, and brass patch box. Specimen has a 22 1/8” long round barrel with the finish toned down to a pewter grey colour. Bore has strong rifling and is bright towards the chamber but with some modest black powder pitting in the last three quarters that would be worth spending some time in cleaning to improve. The carbine was loaded by pulling back on the flat, cross-hatched tabs, then lifting and pulling back the plunger latch on the top of the receiver and inserting the cartridge. Mechanics are good. Top flat of the breech lever is marked with “J.H. MERRILL BALTO. / PAT. JULY 1858” while its base is marked with serial number 7291. Underside of the lever is clean. Atop the barrel is the three-level rear sight with the “V” cuts graduated for 300 and 500. Marked on the iron lock plate forward of the hammer is the three-line address of “J.H. MERRILL BALTO. / PAT. JULY 1858 / APL. 9 MAY 21-28-61.” Serial number 7291 is stamped behind the hammer. Carbine features a dark walnut stock with one cartouche that can be faintly seen. Stock left side is also fitted with an iron sling bar and sling ring. Stock has no breaks or cracks but shows moderate wear with some small wear loss on the left side of the fore end where it would be held. All brass furniture is toned and has not been cleaned ( thankfully). The butt is stamped with a US with the letter S stamped backwards. This is clearly a mistake, or the stamper was illiterate, volunteer troops were not chosen for their literacy!
I am told that it is possible to research who these carbines were issued to.
An interesting and scarce US Civil War carbine seldom seen in the UK.
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