Its been 5 long years since I've been able to acquire one of these and let me tell you guys....IT WASN'T EASY! This rifle was just being laid out on a dealer's table who had just found a small Civil War collection...I happened to be the closest to it by about 3 seconds before it was spied by two very avid Enfield collectors who surrounded me waiting for me to set it down so they could move in. To compound matters, the unsuspecting dealer had not priced it and with a small crowd of dealers and collectors that had formed around me & the rifle, he quickly realized this was something more than your average Tower Enfield. To make a long story short, after several tense minutes we were able to make a deal. Although I badly want to keep this, I can't afford to collect anymore, so all I can do was stare at it for a couple of weeks before it goes on the website.
This is just a nice clean example of a rare JS Anchor marked 3 band Enfield rifle made by Parker Field & Son of London. You will find a lot of Enfields out there, but this is one of the few that is universally and unquestionably accepted as Confederate. The letters JS over the anchor symbol is located just beneath the triggerguard on the belly of the stock. The blockade numbers at the top toe of the buttplate read 1104 A....the A block was to symbolize 10,000, making this one 11104. In front of the buttplate tang is the letter "F" placed perpendicular to the numbers...this stands for "Freed & Co." who was one of the five main suppliers who sold Enfields through Archibald Hamilton to Confederate buyers Caleb Huse and Major Alexander. The five main suppliers were Bond "B", James "J", Scott & Son "S", Kerr "K", and Freed & Co. "F". Archibald Hamilton was both the Superintendent of the London Armoury Co. and secured quantities of Enfields by private contractors for the Confederates in London and Birmingham. Hamilton was so effective, in tying up Enfield production for the Confederates, that the "US Consul in London, F.H. Morse, was highly distressed to report in Oct. 1861 that "of Enfield rifles they (Confederates) have thousands now ready for shipment, and have all the armories here at work for them. With these (London makers) and what they are getting at Birmingham they must be receiving not far from 1500 per week.""P. 12 The Confederate Enfield by Wiley Sword. There are many theories about who was JS...but it is now generally believed he was James Smiles. Like Hamilton, Smiles also worked for the London Armoury and was given a sick leave to work as a Viewer for the Confederates. You will also note that the Kerr Revolvers produced at the London Armory also bear the "JS Anchor" symbol.
This rifle itself is in very good condition with most of the metal turned to a silvery gray patina...mostly smooth with a few light pits around the nipple bolster. The wood is very good with no cracks, chips, or repairs, and only light handling marks. The rifle is complete except for the rear sight which is missing...a common fate among many Enfields as these were merely silver soldered to the barrel. Nice markings throughout including London proofs on the left side of the barrel. Lock and hammer are borderline engraved. Brass furniture is in very good condition with no dings or bad scratches. Lock still functions nicely at both half and full cock positions. The inside of the lock and underside of the barrel are stamped "Field" along with assembly No.'s "1". The bore size is "25" which in typical London made fashion, is stamped on the bottom of the barrel underneath the wood. The stockmaker was "J. Porter". The numbers on the top tang are crisp however, there are no numbers on the ramrod although it does have the desirable "T & C.C." markings. Chances are the rod was either lost or switched with another rod during the war. All in all, this an exceptionally nice for a Confederate Pattern 53 Enfield Rifle.