The Confederate Morse Carbine

This unusual breech loading brass frame carbine was of a design invented by George W. Morse.

Manufactured in 1862/1863 era at the State Military Works in Greenville, SC. They were made using some of the machinery that was captured from the U.S. Arsenal at Harpers Ferry in 1861. Less than 1,000 of these carbines were made during the Civil War. There were also rifles produced.

The carbine has a 20” round barrel in .50 caliber, with an upward tilting breechblock. The elongated frame is of brass along with all other furniture. The trigger guard is cast integral with the frame with a small looped grip behind. Stocks were of butternut. Iron cleaning rod with segmented circular tip is housed beneath the barrel.

There seems to be some confusion as to model changes of the Morse. Collectors feel there were two and possibility three models made with only minor changes being made. Some of these changes were with the breech block latch and hammer spur. You will note that the photos show two different hammer profiles.

Confusion here also. Calibers that have been stated .50, .52 and .54 all of which were of some metallic cartridge variety. This may also account for the model changes?

Most of the Morse carbines were issued to the South Carolina Militia; with limited numbers of the carbines issued to other Confederate forces.

As a side note, George W Morse was a nephew of Samuel F.B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph.