This weapon was one of the oldest weapons to see action in the Civil War. From 1816 until 1840, over 800,000 model 1816 flintlock muskets were produced at the Harpers Ferry and Springfield Armories. With the development of the percussion rifles in the 1830s, the 1816 Musket became obsolete. These weapons eventually found their way to state militias. Many of these weapons were later modernized by replacing the flintlock with a percussion ignition system. Because the musket was a smooth bore, it was horribly inaccurate when compared to the rifled arms of the day. Yet, because the demand for weapons outpaced the nation's capacity to produce them, many volunteers found themselves marching off to war with this antique. They were replaced at the earliest possible opportunity and by 1863, very few Model 1816's remained in service.
The rifle pictured above is an 1816 musket converted with the maynard priming system found on the Model 1855 Rifled Musket. Only 20,000 Model 1816 muskets were contracted for this type of modification. While the Model 1816 muskets carried by the 37th Illinois were percussion conversions, it is doubtful that they had the type pictured above.
|U.S. Rifle Musket m/1855-1863||Colt Revolving Rifle (5-shot)||Belgian or French R.M. brass or bright mounted|
|Enfield Rifled Musket||U.S. Rifled Musket m/1816 altered to percussion||U.S. Rifled Musket m/1842|