POTD: Civil War Era James Warner Breech Loading Carbine
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have yet another cavalry carbine used during the American Civil War. This is the James Warner Breech Loading Carbine chambered for a .50 caliber rimfire cartridge. These .50 rimfire chambered, breech-loading cavalry carbines were the first in a batch of two batches. Initially, they were in James Warner’s own proprietary cartridge, but at the Union’s request, a second batch was chambered for the Spencer Carbine cartridge which the North was trying to standardize. These carbines are extremely easy to use, but probably not so much riding on a horse. You place the hammer in half cock, depress the breech release which allows you to manually open the breech by flipping the door to the right, and then you are able to insert your cartridge. Fully cock the hammer and you are ready to rock!
“This carbine is marked “JAMES WARNER, SPRINGFIELD, MASS./WARNER’S/PATENT” on the left side of the brass frame. Only 1,501 of these carbines are believed to have been manufactured by Warner in 1864. These initial carbines saw some use by Wisconsin units and others during the last part of the war. Another 2,500 were produced with some variation through a contract by Greene Rifle Works and delivered to the U.S. government in February and March of 1865. After the Civil War, the Warner carbines (which had not garnered favorable reviews from the men they were issued to) were sold as surplus, and then Schuyler, Hartley & Graham resold them to France in 1870. This example has no visible European proofmarks and likely never left the U.S. It has a round blade front sight and a folding leaf rear sight with “3”, “5”, and “8” markings on the leaf (300-800 yards). It also has a manually operated extractor and a saddle ring on the left side of the action. There are some hand cut markings on the inside of the action and a faint cartouche on the stock. The consignor has included copies of pages from an Arms Collector article by Robert Howard that discuss the Warner carbines.”
Lot 120: Warner James Carbine 50 Rf. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/67/120/warner-james-carbine-50-rf.