View Full Version : Can you identify this Civil War rifle
December 31, 2000, 01:40 PM
I have a photograph of my great great grandfather
from when he was in the Civil War. I've scanned it in
and posted it on my web page in hopes someone can help me
identify the rifle he is holding. It's at:
[Edited by tlt on 01-01-2001 at 02:43 PM]
December 31, 2000, 09:47 PM
I can tell you that it is a muzzle loading percussion musket, and that it is not a U.S. Springfield or British Enfield rifle-musket. My best guess would be an Austrian Lorenz, Model 1855, .69 caliber.
As general information, the U.S. bought thousands of muskets and rifle-muskets in Europe early in the war, both to arm the rapidly expanding U.S. Army and to keep the guns from being obtained by the Confederates. The Springfield (and contract copies) always took preference for issue to combat troops, with the Enfield a close second. The Enfield was also the standard arm of the C.S. Army. Older U.S. arms and European arms were mostly of .69 caliber and were issued to troops in secondary areas to avoid ammo supply problems. Later, as supplies of first line arms increased, the older arms and European arms were relegated to non-combat troops like prison camp guards and railway guard details, and were eventually retired and scrapped.
Maybe someone can help with more info.
December 31, 2000, 10:17 PM
My guess would be the Autrian Model 1854. The Austrian Model 1854
rifle-musket was imported in large
numbers during the Civil War. The
South received approximately
100,000 in .54 caliber, mostly
with fixed sights, from early 1862
through 1863. They were apparently purchased from existing Austrian stocks as the Austrian
government was converting from black powder to gun cotton and found these rifle muskets
surplus to their needs. The type was primarily used by the Army of Tennessee and by other units
in the Central and Trans-Mississippi theaters. The Lorenz was often referred to as "Enfields" as
some had blued metal parts however most were natural metal without finish. This weapon was
very serviceable and saw considerable use. It was the second only to the P1853 Enfield
(400,000) as the most used Confederate type but it never has seen the recognition of the Enfield.
The Confederates would issue ammunition for this weapon that could also fire in the Confederate
The North imported 225,000 of these rifle-muskets, mainly to pre-empt additional purchases as
the Confederates had approached the Austrians first, most with long-range adjustable sights.
However, as they proved well made and reliable they were issued in 1863-64 to over one
hundred federal regiments. The North used the Lorenz in .54 caliber but some were re-bored to
.58 so that they could utilize standard .58 cal. ammunition. Many of the Lorenz's shipped to the
United States for the federals were newly manufactured in 1861, 1862, and 1863 and like all
Lorenz's were dated with a three digit number on the side plate, 861, 862, 863. A quadrangular
socket bayonet was used with both the Federal and Confederate Lorenz.
The Lorenz was somewhat shorter and lighter than the Springfield or Enfield but was longer than
the two-band Enfield and the Mississippi-style rifles. It is one of the most undeservedly ignored
rifles of the period. The rifle musket pictured above is dated 1858, "858".
But that's just my guess.
January 1, 2001, 10:32 AM
Thanks for the replies guys. I think your guess is right on.
I had been told it was a Springfield but didn't think that
was right becuase it didn't match with pictures of Springfields.
Do you have any recommendations on where I could buy
an Austrian Lorenz?
If this helps in dating his weapon, my ancestor enlisted in 1862 in the 20th
Wisconsin infantry. He was injured in the Battle of Prairie Grove
Arkansas on Dec. 7, 1862. He was mustered out shortly after
that early in 1863 after spending a couple of months in the
January 1, 2001, 05:21 PM
tlt, visit http://www.gunsamerica.com/fast.cgi?guncat=2100 and you'll find an Austrian Lorenz Carbine for sale. Hope this helps!
January 2, 2001, 12:48 AM
Sorry for my goof in saying the Austrian rifle-muskets were .69 caliber; I was thinking of the Prussian (Potsdam) guns.
January 2, 2001, 08:13 AM
Thanks for all the replies here. I found a place that
is selling Austrian Lorenz replica kits. I may go this route.
The URL for those who might also be interested is:
And his email is:
"Greg Edington" <[email protected]
January 2, 2001, 02:03 PM
Why not contact Joe Bilby of the NSAA. He's authored one book on the subject and if his publisher ever lets him, he's got the second edition ready right now (the first is selling so well that the publisher sees no need - auggghhh!). Joe's a nice guy and can be reached at [email protected]
January 14, 2001, 04:25 PM
I did write to Joe Bilby and he did concur that this is
an Austrian Lorenz.
I went up to my Dad's this weekend and got the original
photograph and scanned it in again. I got much better
results. For those who are interested it's at:
I stopped by the NSSA table at a gun show I was at this
morning and chatted with them about it. They said the
Lorenz was used briefly and then they went to the more reliable Springfields as quickly as they could later in
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