This is nice example of a late war Confederate marked 3 Band Enfield rifle with the Anchor "S" symbol next to the top toe of the buttplate. Its quite similar to the our 1864 dated Anchor "S" marked carbine we also have listed. The only difference is this one is dated 1863 on the lockplate instead of 1864. The lock is marked TOWER with a Crown behind the hammer WITHOUT "V.R." denoting it was from a private contractor as are all Civil War imported Enfield rifles and not built for the British War Dept. Both the lock and hammer have the usualy border-line engraving. Just like our Anchor S carbine, it too was made in Birmingham with a Birmingham Small Arms Trade cartouche located on the right side of the stock. The stock is in fantastic shape with sharp edges and very little burn erosion around the nipple...see photograph. The belly of the stock is marked "Cook and Son". The name Cook is also stamped on the inside of the lock and the underneath of the barrel. Barrel measures 39" secured by 3 bands with original ramrod underneath. The barrel is stamped with double "25"s indicating the bore size of .577 caliber. The bore is now worn smooth as it was probably at some point in its life used as a shotgun. Metal is mostly silver that is hazing back to a nice light brown patina....some scattered light pits around the nipple area of the barrel. Brass has turned to a nice light mellow patina. Sling swivels are both intact. Original front and rear sight are intact although the rear sight ladder is slightly bent and needs a ladder spring. Anchor "S" symbol is clearly marked on the top of the comb just in front of the buttplate tang. Wood to metal fit is nice and tight....all in all, a good sharp Enfield with a pleasing look. These are one of the most affordable Confederate Enfields left and as more information becomes published, these will certainly increase in value.
All Anchor "S" marked Enfields are dated either 1863 or 1864 on the lockplate and were almost certainly run from Bermuda through the blockade to the port of Wilmington, North Carolina during the Civil War. Wilmington was the last major Confederate port only still operation late in the war in spite of a very tight blockade around the mouth of the Cape Fear river in the form of two large domed rings of ships. Some of the world's best sea Captains like John Maffitt who formerly of the CSN's Florida and Captain Roberts (his name an alias for a famous British Naval Officer on hiatus from the Royal Navy) made some absolutey incredible runs through the blockade aboard fast ships like the Lilian and Robert's infamous little Twin screw steamer called the "The Don" which the Federal Navy absolutely cursed. Robert's was so good at eluding and thoroughly frustrating the Union authorities commanding the DON that he even wrote a short book after the war in 1866 titled "NEVER CAUGHT". Little ships like these were just about the only lines of supply the Confederacy to the outside world before Fort Fisher and subsequently Wilmington were captured by the Union in January 1865. This all but sealed off the Confederacy to the rest of the world. Fortunately, thanks to a Confederate Ordnance officer named Payne, who completely documented all guns including Enfields, munitions, and raw materials brought into Wilmington from mid-1863 to Jan. 1865, we now have proof of how many Enfields came through Wilmington so we can establish that the Confederates were importing Enfield rifles and carbines in the year 1864. On the other hand, we know the Union didn't import carbines in almost any quantity during war and no Enfields at all after 1863. The fact that there are 1864 dated Enfields cavalry carbines out there still being found in the rural South with the Anchor S leaves no doubt in my mind the Anchor S symbol is a Confederate marking. There are some out there who think this is some type of Portugese Naval marking. I've seen Portugese markings that do use Anchor symbols but there letters straddle the sides of the Anchor while Confederate markings always place the anchor over the top of the letter just like the Anchor over JS symbol. Furthermore, it just doesn't add up why so many of these Anchor S Enfields turn up in the rural South and border states where they have been for the past 140 years. I'm glad this rumor is finally being addressed by collectors. The dates on all of these Anchor S Enfields are always either 1863 or 1864 which directly correspond to Payne's records of shipments through Wilmington. Author Bill Adams has spent many years researching Confederate Enfields including the Anchor "S" and he agrees these are indeed Confederate. There are a growing number of knowledgeable Civil War Enfield collectors who have been quietly putting these away for years until a book comes a book or two comes out and the prices go up! Unfortunately for me, I have bills to pay so I can't afford to keep the ones I find. Here's your chance to get a late war Confederate Enfield!