Re: SN&WTC 1863 type 1 Springfield 2 band
Most of the older references, and opinions, on Norris & Clement's are vague or wrong. Such as the 2,000 "Springfield Rifle Muskets' in 1863 and another 1,000 of the same in 1864. Which always bothered me because it did not conform to the MASS Adjutant General's Report citing the Master of Ordnance report for 1864 of 11,000.
IMHO, while we do not have the full picture, a key piece of expanding our knowledge was a look at the often talked about but not located and shared, Massachusetts' contracts.
In March 1863 the State of Massachusetts passed a resolution calling for the purchase of 13,000 stands of rifle-muskets for the use of MASS troops. Governor Anders formed a three man commission to study availability of RM arms and the costs. In April the commission toured gun makers in New England, asking for proposals.
But, none were forthcoming as they all were either busy finishing up their 1862 and 1863 contracts for M1861's or SM1861's for the Federal government.. it just recently having made the switch to the new M1863 authorized in February 1863.
Norris & Clement had no contract(s) to make M1861's.
While the getting was good, Samuel Norris wrote to Chief of Ordnance Ramsay in September of 1863 seeking a contract to make 20,000 RM's (presumed to be contract M1861's but may be not) for $19 a stand. Ramsay was suspicious as S.N. & W.T.C. were minor players. Ramsay denied a contract, in October, politely saying he was not interested in arms mostly assembled from parts made by subcontractors and not complete arms on site.
And then in stepped the State of Massachusetts looking for guns. MASS gave S.N. &. W.T. C. a contract for 13,000 M1863 RM's with appendages. By the end of December 1863. Norris & Clement had delivered 2001. The rest were delivered in 1864.
Ah... the M1861 S.N. & W. T. C.
A mystery gun, as the vast majority of Norris & Clements are 1863 or 1864 dated M1863's.
But there ARE a small number of M1861's with 1863 or 1864 N & C locks. One that is referenced is really nice, and came out of a Hollywood gun rental company. It is often held up as a Hollywooo composite of pieces parts with a N & C lock but on a Muir or Savage contract.
But, Muir had already been in trouble for doing what Norris did, "assembling" guns from subcontract pieces parts.
In my heresies there is a remote possibility that the M1861 N & C's were Muir, and Savage, and other contractor assembled parts as part of Norris sample models for their sales pitch to show that they could do the work and deliver guns. (Stampings such as barrel proofs V, P, Eagle Head) and inspector stamps and cartouches are IDable to contractors as the Government wanted to trace barrels if flawed in service..)
But in the Vacuum of History, they may also be Hollywood composites or for that matter composite surplus sold off post War. (However, it is impossible to know whether say Bannerman's replaced a missing site with an
"M1864" rear sight, or a dealer did it in 1961, or a hobbyists in 1991. There is a well known collector and dealer here in town that is infamous for swapping parts to make guns 'better' etc., etc.).
At any rate, not everything in the "literature" and knowledge pool" adds up to the complete N & C story- but the more recent dated documents is helping.
In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt
-Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
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