Ambrose Burnside Civil War Carbine Rifle Original Bristol Firearm History Letter 1856
Original Historical Ephemera
Super rare piece of early American military weapons history from the Bristol Fire Arm Company, which was founded by Civil War General Ambrose Burnside in 1855 and only existed in this form until going bankrupt in 1858.
Before his American Civil War heroics, Burnside served on the western frontier (taking an Apache arrow wound to his neck at one point) and was inspired to design a durable breech loading firearm for the American military. In 1856 his patent for the Burnside Carbine Rifle was issued and just two months later this letter came hot off of Burnside's desk.
The letter addresses critical production issues with the initial run of 1st Model Carbines. Burnside writes the Providence Forge & Nut Company (still in existence today as The Providence Tool Company):
"We regret to inform you that the last of the dies from you has given out they are now all useless to us... ...this is a very serious matter to us as we are in great want of the articles made from them and it stops progress in nearly all our manufactures. Please try and have these covered- go out at once and have them made well, the steel good... Trusting that you will appreciate the unfortunate position in which we are placed and relieve us as soon as you can." - A. E. Burnside, Treasurer
Under such conditions, the Bristol Firearm Company only managed to produce 200-300 1st Model Carbines. Those rifles, however, managed to outperform 17 other designs in a West Point government performance test in 1857, winning Burnside a lucrative military contract of about $90,000. Sadly, the politics involved did not go in his favor and only a small portion of the contract was ever honored, leaving Burnside to file for bankruptcy after just a few years in business. Thankfully, his patent was later put back into production in time to furnish cavalrymen during the Civil War and served as one of the most reliable firearms in the North/South conflict.
This historically significant letter is dated May 24th, 1856 and also bears the name of production manager G. P. Foster who contributed significant improvements to the subsequent models eventually used by the US Military.
It measures 8.5 x 10.25 inches, suitable for framing and would be a great addition to accompany an original Burnside Carbine on display.
Very Good Condition, with original fold creases and light age wear
Guaranteed Authentic, Please see images
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