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The M1841 Mississippi Rifle

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Type Place of origin Rifled Musket USA, Harpers Ferry

Service history
Used by USA 1 Mississippi Regiment CSA Wars Seminole Wars MexicanAmerican War American Civil War

Production history
Designed Manufacturer 1840 Harpers Ferry Armory, E. Whitney Unit cost Produced Variants 16 dollars 1841-1861 bayonet mounts


Weight Length Barrel length

9 pounds 4 ounces (4.2 kg) 48.5 inches (1,230 mm) 33 inches (840 mm)

Cartridge Cartridge weight Caliber Action Rate of fire Muzzle velocity Effective range Maximum range Feed system Sights

.54 ball,.58 minie ball 0.5 ounces (14 g)

0.54, 0.58 percussion lock 2-3 per minute 1,000 to 1,200 feet per second 0-1100 yards 2000 muzzle blade (front), V-notch, leaf, ladder sight (rear)

The M1841 Mississippi Rifle is a muzzle loading percussion rifle used in the Mexican American War & the American Civil War.

[edit] History

When Eli Whitney Blake took over management of the Harpers Ferry Armory in 1842, he set about tooling up under his new contract from the U.S. government for making the model 1841 percussion rifle. Machinery and fixtures for making the 1822 contract flintlock musket had to be retooled or replaced in order to produce the lock and barrel of the new model. Whitney, Jr. had the good sense to hire Thomas Warner as foreman, who, as master armorer at Springfield Armory, had just been making the same kind of major changes there. Thomas Warner had spearheaded the drive to equip the Springfield Armory with a set of new, more precise machines and a system of gauging that made it possible for the first time to achieve, in the late 1840s, the long-desired goal of interchangeability of parts in military small arms. Under his tutelage, Eli Whitney, Jr. equipped the Whitney Armory to do likewise. The nickname "Mississippi Rifle" originated in the Mexican War when future Confederate president Jefferson Davis was appointed colonel of a Mississippi volunteer regiment which was armed with Model 1841 rifles. At this time, smoothbore muskets were still the primary infantry weapon and any unit with rifles was considered special and designated as such. At the Battle of Buena Vista, Davis' regiment helped provide the decisive push that drove the Mexicans from the field. In June 1846, the army offered him an appointment as a brigadier general of a militia unit but he declined. In traditional Southern style he believed the appointment was unconstitutional. The United States Constitution, he argued, gives the power of appointing militia officers to the states, not to the federal government. The Model 1841 evolved into the Model 1855 US Rifle, which became the standard issue weapon for regular army infantry, and ultimately the Model 1861 Springfield. By the time of the Civil War, the Mississippi Rifle was generally considered obsolete. It was rarely carried by Union troops (with a few exceptions; the 20th New York Infantry was armed with them up to Antietam), but Confederate NCOs, skirmishers, and sharpshooters often used them, and occasionally whole infantry regiments. The Mississippi Rifle was sometimes referred to as a "yagger" rifle, due to its smaller size and its similarity to the German Jger rifles.

[edit] Design and Features

The Mississippi Rifle was the first standard U.S. rifle to use a percussion lock system. Percussion lock systems were much more reliable and weatherproof than the flintlock systems that they replaced, and were such an improvement that many earlier flintlock rifles and muskets were later converted to percussion lock systems. The Mississippi Rifle was originally produced in .54 caliber, using 1:66 rifling and no provision for fixing a bayonet. In 1855, the Mississippi Rifle was changed to .58 caliber, so that it could use the .58 caliber Minie Ball that had recently become standard. Many older Mississippi Rifles were re-bored to .58 caliber. The rifle was also modified to accept a sword type bayonet.

The first Mississippi Rifles had a v-notch sight. This was later replaced with leaf sights with 100, 300, and 500 yard ranges. A ladder sight with ranges from 100 to 1100 yards in 100 yard increments was fitted on some later rifles.

[edit] References

Brown, Stuart E., The Guns of Harpers Ferry, Baltimore, Md.: Clearfield Co., 2002, 1968., 157 p., ISBN 0-8063-4640-X "Confederate Tales of the War" By Michael E. Banasik

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Polski This page was last modified on 2 January 2012 at 09:21. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of use for details. Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization. Contact us Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers Mobile view