Auctioneer James D. Julia has a rare Confederate Whitworth up on the block. This one even has the four power Davidson telescope.
The brass tube Davidson scope was adjusted for elevation by turning the knurled knob on the right side of the forearm. This loosened the clamp on the left side so the 1-1/2″ bar graduated in 1/16″ increments could be raised and lowered, pivoting on the rear mount secured by the rear lock plate screw. The normal long range ladder sight could be used for normal short range shooting. There is extensive documentation on the acquisition of this rifle, along with correspondence regarding the use of these guns during the Civil War. This gun was originally found with the telescopic sight missing which was later purchased from Confederate authority Steve Mullinax and put back on the rifle according to documentation. In a 1992 letter from noted Whitworth authority John Morrow The Confederate Whitworth Sharpshooters, 1989. “The telescope mounted Whitworth ‘2nd Quality’ No. C529 Rifle” described here conforms to the specification of all the other known surviving examples of the Confederate Purchase Special Arms. Specifically, it is in the correct SN range, the simple form of the iron sights, two bbl bands, lack of a safety bolt, common breech rather than patent breech, very short muzzle projection beyond the forend cap (note that the bbl appears to have lost 3/16″ at the muzzle, it should be 33″ exactly), the method of mounting the telescope the form of the checkering and everything else about it confirm this. The total number shipped in this telescopic configuration is not known but only 8 have been traced up to this moment.” One identical to this gun, is pictured in Firearms of the Confederacy, plate XXIII and discussed on pages 27 and 28.
The term “Second Quality” did not mean that it was any less capable than the First Quality rifles, just that this was a more or less stripped down version for military use, ordered by a customer always short of funds.
Compare the iron sights, for example, to the two Whitworths in a previous post—this one is quite simple. However the fit and finish is just as good, including the fine checkering. The Davidson scope, quite primitive by today’s standards, was a state of the art piece of kit in its day.
And of course it shows Whitworth’s distinctive hex bore.
All in all a fine example of the pattern of rifle a Confederate sharpshooter would have used.
Photos courtesy James D. Julia Inc.