RM1214 There is no English gun maker who could more appropriately be called the “Gun Maker to the Confederacy” than the London firm of John Edward Barnett & Sons. During the course of the American Civil War, Barnett delivered thousands of Pattern 1853 “Enfield” rifle muskets, as well as Pattern 1853 Artillery and Pattern 1856 Cavalry carbines to the Confederacy. Barnett also delivered large numbers of obsolete arms like Brunswick rifles and Pattern 1851 Minié Rifles to Confederate buyers. Barnett not only filled Confederate central government contracts, but also filled orders for the Confederates states of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
The Barnett family traced their gunmaking heritage to Thomas Barnett who operated in London as early as 1796. In 1811, the firm became Thomas Barnett & Sons, with John Edward Barnett subsequently succeeding to the business in 1833. In 1842, the firm was renamed JE Barnett & Sons and operated under that name until 1901 when they became JE Barnett & Sons LTD, finally going out of business in 1908 after more than a century in the gun making trade.
During the Civil War years, the Barnetts operated at both their 134 Minories address, which had been established in 1833, and at Brewhouse Lane, Wapping, where they operated from approximately 1860 to 1874. In the typical fashion of the old time gunmakers in England, Barnett relied heavily on a variety of contractors to produce piecework parts, which were subsequently assembled into complete arms in the Barnett shop. While Barnett could clearly manufacture entire guns in house, and often did, it was sometimes more expedient and cost effective to sub-contract for major components when large contracts were received and had to be filled quickly. Many of the orders received from the Confederacy during the course of the American Civil War were just these types of orders, which had to be completed as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon to disassemble a Pattern 1853 rifle musket with a Barnett marked lock, only to discover that the gun may have been assembled by Barnett but that few, if any, of the components were actually produced by Barnett This is a fine example the original nipple was replaced by family, other than that it’s all original.