Tallassee Carbine: The Confederacy’s Last-Ditch Effort

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 from the American Society of Arms Collectors.


  1. The ramrod would be flipped and the mushroom end would be used to ram home the charge. Then the rod is withdrawn, flipped again and the rod reinserted into its groove

    • Do you think so with this one? The mushroom head looks to big to fit down the bore. Maybe this one really is a palm protector?

    • Please review ~minute 7. The ramrod is captive. Perhaps, add to your knowledge of similar systems vis. cavalry and naval pistols from that century before commenting again.

  2. Ian says that Tallassee was the only surviving arsenal from the war, but I have read that when Federal troops entered the Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, they found another gun production line ready to start production. They were bribed not to burn the lot to the ground.
    Does anyone know what they were setting up to make?

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