The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
The U.S. Model 1855 percussion rifle-musket was one of the primary weapons of the Civil War. Made by the Springfield and Harpers Ferry Armories, it featured the Maynard tape priming system and was the first U.S. military weapon to fire the deadly minié bullet in .58 caliber. The Model 1855 is known to have been issued to Missouri’s state militia troops in the pre-war era, and hundreds of them were included in the inventory of weapons held at the St. Louis Arsenal just prior to the outbreak of war. This weapon has a connection to the capture of Camp Jackson in May 1861, when Federal troops captured a predominantly secessionist encampment of state militia troops who had planned to seize the arsenal for its weapons and supplies. It is not known if this rifle-musket was carried by one of the Federal soldiers or by one of the state troops.