M1842 Harper’s Ferry Musket Dated 184
The United States Armory at Harpers Ferry has produced more than 600,000 military rifles and muskets in a 60 year period, spanning from Thomas Jefferson’s presidency to the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln.
Weapons produced at the armory were the target of John Brown’s Raid in October, 1859.
At the beginning of the Civil War, the Virginia militia advanced upon Harpers Ferry to seize the musket and rifle factories. The United States troops, who were guarding the armory, discovered themselves outnumbered by the encroaching Virginia militia and Lt. Roger Jones ordered the Musket Factory to be set on fire at 10 p.m. on April 18, 1861. Local citizens and the Virginia militia rapidly doused the flames before much damage could be done in order to save the armory.
The armory machinery was then dismantled by the militia and moved south during the first weeks of May 1861 with Col. Thomas Jonathan Jackson supervising. Machinery from the factories ended up in Richmond, Virginia and Fayetteville, North Carolina to aid the Confederacy. Many of the Harpers Ferry armory employees relocated further south to manufacture weapons for the new Confederacy. The armory was the economic life of the town and when the armory jobs moved south, Harpers Ferry lost businesses. Many civilians in Harpers Ferry left the area, and the town became “a ghost of its former self.”
The Confederates abandoned Harpers Ferry on June 14, 1861 when garrison commander Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston ordered the armory buildings destroyed. All that was left of the Musket Factory was the brick walls, which were entangled with twisted and melted metal. Just two short weeks later, the Rifle Factory also was destroyed and the mighty industry of Harpers Ferry now was a silent ghostly ruin.
Nine months later, in March 1862, the armory ruins were restored by the Union Army who occupied Harpers Ferry. The Union army was launching its first full-scale invasion of the Shenandoah Valley and the former Musket Factory buildings were re-roofed to be transformed into a quartermaster and commissary depot. Supplies were brought in through the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and were then shipped further south to the army operating in the Shenandoah Valley. The Union continued to utilize the armory for this purpose until the end of the war.
This Musket represents one of those fine firearms made at the armory at Harper’s Ferry. This is an amazing wartime firearm that most likely saw filed use during the Civil War.
These smoothbores altho outdated by the adoption of the riffled musket were still loved by many like the Irish Brigade for its ability to use Buck and Ball against the enemy.