SOLD FOR: $65,450

Engraved & Inscribed Civil War 7th Illinois 1860 Henry Rifle “Death to Traitors”

Make: New Haven Arms Co.

Model: 1860 Henry

Serial Number: 5381

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1864

Caliber: .44 Henry Rimfire

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “HENRY’S PATENT OCT. 16, 1860 / MANUFACT’D BY THE NEW HAVEN ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CT.” (correct large-style marking) and at the receiver with “5381”. The left side of the lower tang is marked “5381”, found again stamped on the inside of the buttplate at the toe and the top tang inlet of the stock. The round portion of the barrel and the rear face of the magazine sleeve are each marked with assembly number “520”. The bottom tang has B. Tyler Henry’s “H” inspection mark in front of the stock mounting screw. The receiver has some light foliate engraving. The left receiver panel is engraved “LINCOLN. ILL. / Co. H”, the left sideplate with “FELIX GILL” over “7th Ill. Vet. Vol,s.” on banner. The right receiver panel is engraved with a 35-star American Flag and the right sideplate has an eagle holding a banner reading “Death to Traitors.”.

Barrel Length: 24″

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a German silver blade in a collar screw-set to the barrel at the muzzle end. The rear sight is a buckhorn sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is smooth walnut with a second-style comb, slight perch belly, late-style brass buttplate with trapdoor, and a straight wrist. There is an inlaid sling plate in the left of the stock (there is another sling mount on the left of the barrel assembly). There is a “Henry bump” on the left below the sling plate. The stock has some light nicks and scratches with areas of thinning finish. There is wear around the sling plate and a more notable compression in the belly. There are a couple of short, thin cracks at the toe. The plate has gone to a mustard patina with some light nicks. Overall, the stock is in about Fine condition as ANTIQUE.

Type of Finish: The barrel is blued. The lever, hammer and trigger are case hardened. The frame is gunmetal (brass).

Finish Originality: Original. The engraving appears period

Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is scattered erosion and pitting in the bore. There is a ring of more notable erosion and possibly a bulge about 6″ from the muzzle, there is no evidence of bulging on the exterior of the barrel. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 4 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 20% of its metal finish. The barrel assembly has gone to a fairly uniform light patina. The receiver has a mustard patina with most surfaces showing the crystalline appearance of old brass. There are scattered light nicks and scratches. The left of the barrel assembly has wear from the sling and swivel. There are infrequent spots of minor erosion on the barrel assembly, most notable on the right just in front of the rear sight. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in Very Good condition as ANTIQUE.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: A four-piece metal cleaning rod is included, stored in the buttstock as well as a leather sling.

Our Assessment: This rifle was made Ca. 1864 during the Civil War and is inscribed indicating it belonged to one Felix Gill of the 7th Illinois Veteran Volunteers, Company H. There is no reason not to believe this as the engravings appear to be period, the Illinois State Archives note that there was in fact a Private Felix Gill in Co. H of the 7th IL Infantry. Felix Gill originally joined and mustered into the 7th IL as a member of Company H on July 25, 1961 and then re-enlisted and mustered in December of 1863 as a Veteran, still in Co. H of the 7th. Gill resided in Lincoln, IL when he enlisted. The “Death to Traitors” motto engraved along with an American eagle was a popular saying among the Union forces. The American flag engraved on the receiver has 35 stars, which was the official flag from June, 1863 until October, 1864. Finally, the 7th IL was known to have purchased some 500 Henry rifles privately, which were put to good use at the defense of Allatoona Pass in October of 1864.even without these ties to the Civil War, the rifle is a beautiful example of a Henry and would be a nice piece for anyone interested in lever guns, early repeating rifles, or Henry rifles more specifically. It’s connection to Private Gill and the Civil War only makes it that much more special and suitable for Civil War or Illinois focused collectors as well as advanced Henry collectors.