Enfield Pattern 1853 Cavalry
Muzzle-Loaded Flintlock Carbine Rifle
The Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle was embodied in carbine form by the Pattern 1853 Cavalry Carbine.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Enfield Pattern 1853 Cavalry Carbine was the shortened, carbine form of the original, full-length Enfield Pattern 1853 rifled-musket of British origin. The carbine saw considerable use in the American Civil War (1861-1865) by mounted and dismounted troops and was favored by both sides of the conflict before the end. It became the most-purchased foreign-born gun of the war when both sides sought to arm themselves by any means necessary - including reaching out to overseas allies to fill requirements.
The carbine form was representative of its full-length counterpart save for its shortened barrel length (21") and reduced-length forend. This resulted in just two bands being needed to strengthen the gun along its length and made for a more portable weapon system. The firing action remained flintlock-based (faithful to the original British Enfield design) and the weapon was loaded at the muzzle with help from a swiveling ramrod arm affixed under the muzzle. It was chambered for the .577 ball but known to have regularly fired the .58 Springfield shot - the standard ammunition of the United States Army at the time.
Beyond their issuance to mounted troops, short guns like the Enfield Cavalry Carbine were also given to specialist troops like artillery operators so as to give these battlefield units some measure of defense against incoming enemy cavalry and infantry.
The Enfield Pattern 1853 Cavalry Carbine saw use by Confederate forces in the war though in far greater numbers as the Union blockade of major Confederate ports made acquiring these guns quite difficult. Fewer than 5,000 examples were known to have made it into Confederate Army hands.