Guns of the United States Civil War

 My wife, Terri Groff, spotted a notice in the local paper a while back announcing a class about the involvement of Norwich Connecticut in the Civil War.  In the 1860's Norwich was the third largest city in Connecticut and a very active center of manufacturing.  Since we are both interested in history we decided to take the class. 

Norwich was considered "the firearms center of New England" from the Civil War to the Depression. It is said that in 1860, more firearms were made in Norwich than in any other city during the War Between the States. Manufacturers included: Bacon Arms Co.; Norwich Arms Co.; Norwich Nickel & Brass; CC. Brand; Whaling Gun; Cole & Walker, Machinists; Alvah Grimes, Gunsmith; Osgood Gunworks (also known as Norwich Pistol Co.); Hood Firearms Co.; Thomas E. Ryan, Gunmaker; Davenport Firearms Co.; Crescent Firearms Co.; Manhattan Arms Co.; Ethan Allen and Charles Hurber; Tobin Arms Co.; Hopkins & Allen. The most recognizable name in Norwich gun manufacturing was Smith & Wesson, which began on Central Wharf in Norwich, later moving to New Haven when the popularity of patented revolvers required a larger facility. The last of the guns and ammunition manufacturers closed in 1931, but the Guns of Norwich Historical Society is helping to preserve that part of the City's heritage.

This information is from

This past Tuesday (February 14 2006) Frank Kohanski, President of the Guns fo Norwich Historical Society came in to speak to the group about two of the Civil War era weapons he owns.  Frank brought two rifles, one an 1861 Springfield in 58 caliber and the same gun but in a shorter version which was issued to Artillerymen.  Both guns were made in Norwich by contract manufactures.  The Springfield Armory ( ) was unable to make enough weapons to supply the troops in the war and so turned to contract manufacturers. 

More than 25,000 guns were made in Norwich for the war effort. Many companies made components for the guns but three companies Eagle Manufacturing, James D. Mowry, and Norwich Arms are known to have made complete rifles. 

PICT0026.JPG (36778 bytes)  Frank shows the 1861 Springfield with the bayonet in the stowed position

PICT0039.JPG (105924 bytes)  With the bayonet fixed the weapon is six feet four inches tall

PICT0028.JPG (123128 bytes)  Here the two guns lie side by side

PICT0029.JPG (137646 bytes)  PICT0031.JPG (114747 bytes) PICT0032.JPG (99357 bytes)Seen clearly here is the Norwich mark Also seen is the Eagle mark which indicates that the weapon was accepted by the Federal Government.

PICT0033.JPG (751168 bytes)  Bayonet stowed

PICT0034.JPG (122996 bytes)  Muzzle of the Artilleryman's gun.  This version did not have the ability to mount a bayonet.

 PICT0035.JPG (581530 bytes)  Rear sight folded down

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