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    Rare Published Mendenhall, Jones and Gardner North Carolina Contract Rifle, 58 caliber, 48.5" overall length with 33" barrel, lockplate stamped "M.J.&G. / N.C." in center with "C.S / 1863" stamped vertically behind the hammer, brass trigger guard, two brass bands, brass nose plate, iron buttplate, front and rear sights, walnut stock. Complete with ramrod, canvas/leather sling and bayonet with an overall length of 21.25" having a cast brass hilt stamped "17" on the grip by Confederate authorities. This exact specimen is photographed and described on pages 114-115 in Hill's Confederate Longarms and Pistols. Action works, but only goes to full cock, barrel and lockplate retain most of original finish exhibiting scattered stains and light scratches, brass elements have deep old toning with the second barrel ring being somewhat loose, expected dings and scratches from use on stock. Overall very good condition. The makers of this very rare Confederate longarm used the U.S. Model 1841 musket as a prototype. The weapon was made in Jamestown, NC, a Guilford County hamlet already having a long and distinguished gunsmithing tradition before the Civil War. An excellent opportunity to acquire an elusive Confederate piece.

    Kent Wall's Report:
    Cyrus P. Mendenhall, Ezekiel P. Jones, and Grafton Gardner were the partners of the firm "Mendenhall, Jones and Gardner." Initially, the company leased some of the buildings belonging to Clapp, Huffman and Co. located on Alamance Creek, eleven miles east of Greensboro, North Carolina. There, manufacturing began to produce rifles for the state of North Carolina. These rifles were to follow the pattern of the U.S. Model 1841 "Mississippi" rifle except that the patchbox and lid were to be eliminated. In 1862, the operation was moved to the vicinity of Jamestown, North Carolina, about a mile below the town on the Deep River. Production continued until late 1864. A total of 2,239 rifles were produced and accepted for the contracts of 1862 and 1863.
    This .58 caliber rifle is 48.5" in length with a 33" round, iron barrel and a bayonet lug. The nose cap, unmarked barrel bands, blade front sight, and trigger guard are brass, all with a deep mellow patina. The buttplate is iron with no curvature. The notched rear sight is fixed.
    The lock is marked "M. J. & G." over "N. C." forward of the hammer and "C. S." over "1863" to the rear of the hammer and vertically.
    This rifle is pictured on pages 114 and 115 in Hill and Anthony's Confederate Longarms and Pistols (1978). The reader will note that at that time, this rifle had a leather sling and the serial number identified as "324".
    The serial number is actually "218" and is found on the inside of the trigger guard and the top of the trigger.
    The saber bayonet is 24 5/16" in length and stamped "17" on the flat of the brass handle. This bayonet conforms to the saber bayonets produced at by Froelich at Kenansville, North Carolina.
    The inside of the lock is marked with "S", "V", "3", "4".
    There is a linen/leather sling with this rifle now.
    Condition of Rifle: Very Good. The barrel is lightly pitted. The walnut stock has not been cut. There is some deterioration to the butt area perhaps due to moisture for the buttplate shows evidence of rust, now stablilized. The action does not lock at the half-cock position. The nose cap and front barrel band are likely replaced. The same ramrod pictured in Hill & Anthony is present and is original.
    Condition of Bayonet: Good. The blade is lightly pitted throughout. The brass guard has a wonderful casting flaw which is visible in the Hill/Anthony photograph on page 115. The spring has been replaced.
    Provenance: As previously noted in Hill/Anthony. Private collection 1984-1992.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2006
    1st-2nd Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,351

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