The Confederate Cook & Brother Rifle, and a Lorenz Reproduction

by Fred Ray on March 22, 2018 · 0 comments

Ian at Forgotten Weapons examines two products of the Confederate Cook & Brother manufactury.

Cook and Brother was one of the largest and most successful of the private ordnance factories in the South during the Civil War. It was formed by two British brothers who had moved to New Orleans, Frederick and Francis Cook. They opened a rifle factory at the intersection of Common and Canal streets, and began making Enfield pattern rifles. A contract was soon procured for sale of a thousand rifles to the state of Alabama, and in total they produced about 1100 rifles in New Orleans before the city fell to the Union. When that happened, they managed a hectic evacuation, and the armory was reestablished in Athens Georgia by early 1863. Production there took some time to ramp back up due to labor shortages, and they produced only about another thousand rifles in 1863. By this time they had a large contract with the CSA government, and managed an impressive 4500 more guns in 1864, before the entire enterprise collapsed as the CSA became unable to make payments. What we have today are a very early New Orleans production rifle and an early Athens production cavalry carbine, the latter engraved with its owner’s name and unit (the 3rd Virginia Cavalry).

As you might expect they are scarce like any Confederate-built arms and quite valuable. One was actually received in trade for an ice cream cone!

On the other side of the pond Cap and Ball tries out a Pedersoli reproduction of an 1854 Lorenz rifle, and explains a bit about the history and the model variations. As I’ve mentioned before, the Lorenz was was the second most common imported infantry rifle after the Enfield, and was used by both North and South.

If you’re really interested he has more about the search for a perfect bullet here. Ironically he ended up using a Minié ball rather than the Wilkinson compression bullet used by the originals.

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