.44RF, 27" barrel, S/N 33289B (mfg. ca1870). Blued finish, brass frame and furniture, smooth straight-gripped walnut stock with carbine butt and forend secured by two barrel bands. Two-line Winchester barrel address with KING'S IMPROVEMENT marking. 3rd Model block number stamped serial number on triggerguard tang, with matching serial numbers on buttstock and buttplate. Triggerguard tang stamped L.S.M. under lever and 27 C 2 past the lever lock, indicating the musket was proxtpery of the Louisiana State Militia. Equipped with 900-yard ladder rear sight, musket pattern combination front sight/bayonet lug, sling swivels in toe of stock and on upper barrel band. Tap door in butt for cleaning rods, which are missing.
The Louisiana State Militia was a post-Civil War, Reconstruction-era state militia force that helped to support the newly installed Republican government that was attempting to establish the rights of free men in Louisiana and integrate them into the general populace and maintain general order within the state. The militia was comprised primarily of freed African American men, serving under white officers. The majority of the men were armed with surplus British Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Muskets from the Civil War era, which were marked in the same fashion as this gun, with the "LSM" and then rack markings identifying the regimental unit, company and gun number. In addition to the Pattern 1853 Enfields, a few hundred Winchester Model 1866 Muskets were acquired circa 1870-71 for use by the force, like the example here. The LSM was heavily engaged in various skirmishes to support the Reconstruction government during the early 1870s and were universally despised by the pro-Democratic populace, many of whom were former Confederate soldiers or at least Confederate sympathizers. The heavily disputed state gubernatorial election of 1872 resulted in both the Republican and Democratic candidates declaring victory and the two opposing factions attempting to govern simultaneously. In 1873, major violence broke out at the Colfax Riot (or Massacre) where a large number of the Democratic supporters, primarily former Confederate soldiers, attacked and killed a number of the LSM members. The events came to a head the following year when the Democratic supporters took over the state house, resulting in Battle of Liberty Place (also known as the Battle of Canal Street) where the LSM again clashed with Democratic supporters. In this conflict roughly 300 of the Winchester 1866 muskets were captured by the opposing forces. The insurrection ended when President Grant threatened to put it down by force by sending in Federal troops. After the conclusion of the hostilities the captured arms were returned to the LSM and it appears that at least some were retained as mementos of the turbulent times by some members of the LSM. Today examples of the LSM marked Enfields appear from time to time on the collector market, but the LSM marked 1866 Muskets are a true rarity. A very scarce and historic Winchester musket from the Reconstruction Era, not often found for sale.
Provenance:From the Collection of Charlie Hinton
Very good. Barrel retains traces of blue mixed with a moderately oxidized plum brown patina and some moderate surface roughness. Markings remain mostly legible and the metal shows some evenly distributed pinpricking. Receiver has an attractive mustard patina with one section of the receiver on either side of the ejection port having a lighter golden tone as if a cover was over the port, keeping the oxidation of the brass in this area it a minimum. The left side plate has two dark areas of discoloration that appear as a partial and a complete oval. Mechanically functional, good bore is partly bright with strong rifling, scattered oxidation and scattered light to moderate pitting. Wood is very good with a repaired 2.5" crack on the left side at the tang. Otherwise, the wood shows scattered bumps, dings and handling marks with the top top of the comb still retaining good edges. A solid, essentially untouched example of a Winchester 1866 with scarce and desirable markings.
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