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Were converted muskets used at Antietam?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: June 04, 2013 
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I have a US Springfield model 1816/1824 musket converted to percussion cap. Is it possible that these were in use at the Battle of Antietam? The M1842 is mentioned a good deal, and it is really a modified 1816.

Thanks!
Doug

? ? ?

Dear Doug,

About 675,000 of the .69-caliber Model 1816 musket were made at the Springfield and Harpers Ferry arsenals between 1816 and 1844, and they were indeed modified into percussion weapons. Some of the progressively improved Model 1822, 1835, 1840, and 1842 muskets were also rifled, if their barrels could retain their integrity afterward. All were used in the first year or so of the Civil War, to tide things over until more purpose-designed percussion rifles would be manufactured, but the modified muskets were being rapidly phased out during 1862. It is therefore possible that your weapon might have been used in September 1862, especially if it is rifled, but for want of some evidence of provenance, the odds at that late time of the year are stacked against it.

Sincerely,

 

Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
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