The Bridesburg Model 1861 rifle-musket was produced for the US government during the American Civil War. Production was handled by a subcontractor of the famous Springfield Armory - the Bridesburg Machine Works of Pennsylvania, USA - which was headed by Alfred Jenks and his son Barton. By the time of the Civil War, the family name was successfully tied to the cotton and wool industries, supplying valuable machinery to fuel the burgeoning American market. The Model 1861 production facility would go on to reach a peak of 5,000 examples in trying to fulfill the government contract. The Jenks family had an all-new facility built in 1863 for the sole purpose of producing the Model 1861.
The Model 1861 followed in line with much of the rifle musket designs of her time. She sported a 40-inch barrel with three equidistant bands. The ramrod was tipped with tulip head steel and fitted under the barrel muzzle. The sights consisted of a rear two-leaf folding component just ahead of the fire action components and featured a simple forward sight as well, just aft of the muzzle. The firing hardware - this utilizing a percussion-based firing system - consisted of the lock plate and hammer fitted to the right side of the body. The rifle body was of black walnut wood and sported an integrated rifle-type hand grip with an enlarged stock, curved inward for shoulder firing. The stock was capped with a buttplate. The trigger sat within a rounded trigger guard under the fire action system. The buttplate, lock plate, barrel and trigger guard were finish in the same arsenal bright scheme.
As a rifle-musket, the Model 1861 was loaded from the muzzle, hence the need for a ramrod. Ammunition caliber was .58 and the rifle was only a single-shot weapon.
The Bridesburg Model 1861 received its name from the model year of its inception (1861) and the location of the production facility, this being of course Bridesburg, Pennsylvania. The Bridesburg Model 1863 appeared a short time later with minor improvements and is detailed elsewhere on this site.