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Tallassee Carbine: The Confederacy’s Last-Ditch Effort

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In 1863, the Confederate military decided to design a new standard pattern of cavalry carbine. The designs was put together rather quickly at the Richmond Arsenal; a 25 inch barrel, brass furniture, and Enfield type lock. Before production could begin, however, Richmond was deemed too risky of a location. The CSA went looking for new Arsenal sites deeper within the Confederacy, and farther from the threat of Union raids. One site found was Tallassee Alabama – a large cotton mill complex on a river and only 6 miles from a significant railway. The CSA arranged to take over one of the old mill buildings, and there is set up the Tallassee Arsenal.

It took a long time to get equipment moved to Tallassee, to get the building renovated for use in firearms production, and to source the materials necessary for carbine production. Somewhere between a few hundred and 500 carbines were completed by April 1865, but they never saw service as the Confederacy crumbled. Their ultimate fate is unknown, with various theories suggested including that they were used as reinforcements in the rebuilding of the mill. Today less than a dozen are known to survive, almost all of them in museum collections.

For a more detailed history of the Tallassee Arsenal, I recommend this article form the American Society of Arms Collectors:

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