One clue tells all…
All available weapons were called into service during the American Civil War, and the Spencer rifle was not immune. Usage and attrition rates were sky high, and few escaped the war unscathed. So how did this Spencer rifle remain in such pristine condition?
The answer may lie in a small cartouche near its wrist. The letters ‘ESA’ in script indicate inspection mark of Erskine S. Allin, master armorer at Springfield Armory. A rare mark to be sure on a rifle that would not have normally passed his way. One reasonable theory is that this Spencer was sent to Springfield as an example or demonstration piece, and thus spared the harsh conditions of combat.
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