Morse Breechloading Carbine
Ten years prior to the Civil War, East Baton Rouge, Louisiana arms inventor George W. Morse devised a system for the alteration of obsolete muzzleloading arms to modern breechloaders. Promotions of this fine carbine, raised interest from the state of Texas, indicating a request for 1000 Morse breechloading muskets. After the capture of the Harpers Ferry Armory by the state of Virginia forces after Southern secession was declared in April of 1861, all of the arms making machinery was seized by Confederate authorities and moved to the Richmond Armory. The Morse carbine production was temporarily moved to Nashville Tennessee at a small arms facility, until the fall of Fort Donelson to Federal forces and evacuation of Nashville in February of 1862. Morse together with much of his machinery was again temporarily moved to Atlanta Georgia, before finally transferring production first to Columbia, then to Greenville, South Carolina at the State Military Works. Production of early models initially started in June of 1862, with the main overall full production taking place, starting in the second quarter of 1864. In late 1864, the Morse arms machinery was yet again moved to the Confederate arsenal at Columbia, S.C, until February of 1865 when Union General William Tecumseh Sherman overran Columbia. Morse Breechloading carbines are encountered in three basic types, with the main difference being in the breech latching mechanism.Type I carbines are typically serial numbered up to serial number range of 200. The Type II Morse carbines are generally found to have serial number ranges between 200 to 350. The Type III Morse carbines are generally defined with serial numbers 350 and higher. Total production of Morse carbines is generally considered to be 1000 or slightly higher, with standard production examples of 50 caliber, chambering a forerunner of the centerfire metallic cartridge. Breech latch improvements continued with the Type II and Type III models. Most models have a rear site that is fixed-and-notched, but occasionally a rare specimen will have a small folding-leaf rear sight, as is observed with the Morse #601 example, and so referenced on page 179, in Dr. Murphy's research "Confederate Carbines & Musketoons" by John M. Murphy, M.D. Cavalry small arms manufactured in and for the Southern Confederacy 1861-1865.           CS Acquisitions Museum      




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