In May of '98, I was given the opportunity by the GNMP Curator, Mike Vice, to handle, study,
and photograph the Northern Target Rifle on view at the visitor's center. I thank the Park and
North and South Magazine editor, Dr. Larry Hewitt, for setting up this chance. I also thank my
sister and her husband, Anne and Harry Henderson, and my wife, Carolyn, for making the
journey with me.
The following rifle photographs were taken by Anne and Harry Henderson. I have added these
shots for those wishing the chance to further examine this interesting rifle. As I have stated
earlier, there are no further proofs gleaned to prove beyond doubt that the current rifle's scope
was indeed the original, or that the possible scope piece found in the "Home" photograph is the
missing part from this obviously shortened one. I feel strongly, measurement wise, that it
certainly could be. Of course, the reader is free to draw his/her own conclusions.
Above: The NTR rest firmly atop the stool I brought along to show the security of placing it in
such a fashion. Note the indentations along the seam cover of the front part of scope. Some
force has caused this scope to be slammed or pulled against, over, or through another object,
perhaps a mounting collar or the mid brace atop the barrel.
Above: Note the damaged wood and rear mount. It appears the lock was forcefully pulled from the stock. Note the scope's seam-cover is in the wrong position. It should be facing directly down. My thanks to Author/Professor Gerald Smith, Chair of Humanities, Paine College, Georgia, for supplying me with this information.
Professor Smith, who recently completed a book on Confederate Gen. William T.Wofford
(http://www.gabn.net/SeldomRest) , has provided me with additional helpful information about the CW sharpshooters. A member of the Society of Civil War Historians, Dr. Smith has been handling muzzle-loading firearms for 40+ years ( historians with mechanical abilities provide insights to history beyond the usual and mundane).
Above: A simple pull and off she goes! This is not the way an eyepiece is attached to a rifle scope; then or now. Neither does this lens have a lens within it. It's a dud and, odds are, never belonged to this rifle.
Above: The front mount. A case of simple ingenuity. Could easily have been accomplished by
first heating the fore-barrel in a camp-fire then applying flux, the parts and some solder. The
thick barrel would have held the moderate heat for a length of time making it easy. The heat
would not have been great enough to warp the barrel. While examining the rifle, I noticed
scratches pre-placed on the sides of the barrel provided a reference for quickly positioning the
parts upon the hot barrel. I tend to think the Confederates might have done this.
Above: The business end of an NTR. The four holes at the barrel's mouth were to receive the false muzzle attachment used in loading. Additionally, a bullet starter would usually be required to initiate the procedure of sending bullet and patch on their perfect way down the barrel. As mentioned in the text, none of these extras, or the ramrod and other accoutrements, were ever accounted for. Presumably, these were never picked up on the field, or, less likely, found then lost by the finder in the years after the war. Still, somebody, somewhere may yet have these items....
James C. Groves, July, '98