New or Updated Merrill Photos, Descriptions, Provenances - Willoughbyforme
Maryland Institute

Start from the bottom of the page and read up.  Lot of good updates worth reading.  Please help identify several Merrills in my Unidentified galleries.  Anyone with a Merrill or know anyone who's a big Civil War era firarms collector, please click the Contact link and send me a note. Any feedback would be much appreciated.


A soon-to-be-named contributor was able to receive consent from Gerald Jordan to use the book Merrill Single-Shot Breech-Loading Percussion Carbines.  Gerald also stated that he had all the original photos that will be coming my way.  I also received consent from Poulin Antiques to share the following Merrill carbine photos: 3170, 6863, 7300, 8298, 11561, 11844, 12169, 14849, 16682,  There's also a sporting rifle I need to contribute to them.   I have some good updates planned next quarter, so please check back periodically.  


Finally made it back to the Rock Island Arsenal Museum.  Patrick Allie was gracious in taking the three Merrill-related carbines off the wall and into the back room.  Lighting was an issue, as was my digital camera not flashing worth squat.  Please check out 1954 (incorrectly marked 1211 as that was lockplate) and 2204, plus Jenks-Merrill #6. 


I've finished my efforts to give photos and biographies to all the people Merrill had included in his The Merrill Rifle sales brochure.  Please take some time to read the profiles that I have linked.  Where you see "(???)" please try to help me find their photos.  Some folks have already identified inaccuracies in names Merrill had in his brochure.  Next up is capturing photos and biographies for those who put their inspector's marks on the Merrills, and capture those photos and profiles for prominent people listed in Terry White's book American Manufacturers of Combustible Ammunition.  


From yesterday to today, I was able to receive Thomas Robinson's consent to share his 8175 on my website, along with plenty more photos (and more to come).  Look for it in the carbines galleries.  You won't be disappointed.   It's also for sale at over $8K.  Yesterday, I uploaded photos of  8123 from Jesper in Sweden, who replied to my inquiry about Merrills on the British Militaria Forum (


With connection from Jim Thomas, I was able to contact Terry White, author of American Manufacturers of Combustible Ammunition.  Terry consented to my sharing his Merrill-related content here.  His book was the one that really set me on this quest to capture all the historical /biographical information that's out there for this website.  I'm looking to capture information and photos of all Terry's referenced officers and businessmen, just like what I'm almost done on the sales brochure, mentioned in my prior update.    I'm looking for contact information on authors John D. McAulay and Stuart Mowbray, if they're still alive.  Please contact me if anyone does.


The Merrill Rifle (sales brochure) is available in the Books & Pubs list.  FYI on every photo you see - there's a Size icon to the very right of the bottom toolbar.  With so many hi-res, 2-5MB+ file size, you'll love the zoom capabilities.  I'm looking for anyone to help me track down photographs of offices like Major Gen. John Dix and others who provided their testimonials for James H. Merrill to use in his brochure.  Photos, research sites, anything to help.  I found the Union and Confederate Generals A-Z website, but that's leaving out loads of lower level officers.  


I added galleries in the  Carbines folder for 3049. 8246 and 9959.  3049 has some neat local WI history, and the owner Jim Rivest will be providing more history and photos.  


Dawn from RIAC came thru with loads of extra photos from the six Merrills in their June 20-23 auction.  One was listed as "157" but is likely a 157xx model.  I also found about a dozen new articles.   One talks about Merrill persuading the Russian czar to buy his Merrills (a 1970 article - need to read more of that paper), plus one that mentioned James Henry Ferguson as co-inventor of the Merrill rifle, and relationship with Jefferson Davis.  Heard from Dick Berglund that the model cannon and the little wooden model of the same are together.  Sent him an article from the Baltimore Sun that mentioned the cannon as part of a 1858 Maryland Institute Fair.  The 13299 barrel/receiver/lever (no plunger parts or anything else) will arrive tomorrow.  Hope the buyer of 15727 will agree to sell that one to me.


Found several new Merrills recently - 9605 rifle, and these carbines - 461, 4844, 6596, 9157, 9553, 13299, 14227, 15727, 15793 and lastly 19073 - the highest serial I've found.  13299 and 15727 are missing several parts, but believe they should be included. I'll be receiving 13299 from Michael at Red Hill Arms, and kicking myself for not bidding on 15727, which had the plunger arm and plunger.  Rock Island Auction Company has six Merrills in their June 20-23 auction, and I've requested several photos each.  They've always come thru for me in the past.  Hoping to receive those photos next week.  I also have a handful of Starr derringers to upload.


Ed came thru big again last night and today.  He was able to contact Hubert Lum and received consent to share the Merrill, Latrobe & Thoma Carbines article photos.  Hubert also sent him photos of his trio of MLT's.  They do look beautiful.


Darby at The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (Canyon, Texas) came through today and provided photos for 8361.  Please check out the photos and write-up, along with reference to Sam Richardson.  This was one of those blind emails I sent out late October '18, asking if the museum had any Merrills  - paid off nicely indeed. 


I tweaked the content in my Part Assembly Numbers page.  If anyone has an idea on what the numbers represent, I'm all ears.  I thought just maybe they represented order numbers, but then when I saw which Merrills had matching serials, like 2081 13288 14016 14097 14246 (assy nbr 68) and 608 14420 14473 (97), I then thought maybe they were numbers specific to who assembled the firearms at Merrill's factories (Sun Iron Building 4th/5th floors, then new manufactory on Belvidere Street) as a quality check.  I see no two Merrills with the same "two-numbered" assembly numbers (like my 14112 with 8 over 43).  

Maybe there's something to the  single or double-digit numbers vs. one number over another  (single digit over double digit).  Could be that government contract vs. private sale were the drivers behind the numbering scheme.  I thought maybe the two-numbered Merrills were private sale, but then there's 12298, with provenance from SRS research as having been issued to Perry Langston of the 7th Indiana Volunteer Cavalry. 

Does anyone have knowledge of other gun manufacturers of the Civil War era who dealt with the government AND general public sales?  Please help me figure out this puzzle. 


Check out the updated Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas galleries in the Firearms tab.  Ed Hull, amateur historian and writer, provided a number of original photos from his co-authored (with Frank Harrington) article "Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas Carbines", that appeared in the Guns Magazine.  Dick Salzer, editor at Guns Magazine,  provided George Moller's contact information, and George gave his consent to Ed to provide his MLT photos to me.  As two of the MLT's came from the Claude Fuller Collection in the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, I created a gallery of the 14-page pdf as photos (tedious, but smugmug won't allow pdf uploads).  Claude provided a lot of nice historical information.  The links to the six (5) Merrill-related firearms are in the Claude Fuller Collection gallery description.  Pretty certain there was a typo in his Merrill rifle write-up- should have been 6511, not 9511. 

Found and added carbine 16175 .  This makes the fourth Merrill with the "US" stamped on the left of the stock above the saddle bar (in write-up, can't tell from photo).  My 14112 is the earliest, then 14398.   There's also one in the "Unidentified"  gallery, under the Firearms, etc. tab.  I'm looking for anyone's assistance to ID those and if new serials add them to the list of Merrills still in existence.  If they're duplicates, bummer but still better than not knowing.  Some have really good photos, but just none showing the serial and nothing in the auction details.  


I had what I needed months ago to figure out where Merrill's new manufactory was located.  I just didn't realize until last night.   I had the July 1864 Baltimore Sun article that was my greatest find to date.  It went into great details about the purchase of land below the Belvidere bridge along the Jones Falls river, as well as details of the main building and operations.  I also had the Baltimore City and County Mills A-C {named}.  Check out the page Merrill Patent Firearm Manufacturing Company (manufactory) in the Research section.  Later in the day I received consent from on all that content.  Check it out by selecting Historical | Ancestry.   More to come...


Created the rifles version of Scrolling thru Parts, under the Research tab - note the cartouches photos.  Had a handful of Dave Taylor all-in-one photos that I separated weeks back for the carbines, and did the same for the rifles last night.  I also received additional photos from RIAC for 7300 and new rifle 4792.  Paul Scott with The Fredericksburg CW Round Table ( was the first and only (so far) to reply, and he included my website in the April newsletter.   I need to check on ways to capture traffic on the site, as I'm not receiving any comments directly.


I found another great old book,  Civil War Guns by William B. Edwards (1962) at  I excerpted five pages related to Merrills and have a new gallery.  Adds some context to the businesses in place of the former factory at the old Pump House.  Also, no excerpts yet from the ten-volume Photographic History of the Civil War, so here's the first book's link:  Just select the pdf drop-down button in the lower right section as you mouse over the pdf option to save locally.  I did find a great online site/tool that allowed me to save each pdf page as jpg - in case I find anything Merrill-related an need to upload as jpg (smugmug only allows photo uploads) -  


Had forgotten that I had an email with 13 photos of another Merrill patented sporting rifle from Peter at Phoenix Antique Arms (  Yesterday I added several photos to my Scrolling thru Parts galleries of Merrills from Harry Ridgeway at and Jerry Bernal at Collectors Firearms.  I also received some help on the cartouches.  Check the Scrolling thru Parts parent folder description for inspector initials.  Added excerpts from another good Hathitrust book folder - Hints to Riflemen, by H. W. S. Cleveland.,1864.  Includes full page content for firearm-related manufactured products by Colt, Merrill, Spencer, Wesson, plus pages on Merrill (commentaries, testimonials, etc.).


Bob Hoskins on contacted me and provided photos plus some history on his 352 carbine.  I'm working thru all my photos to capture all the cartouches and who the inspectors were.  One of my best finds so far has been a hathitrust book, with some pretty awesome information - 


I talked to Harry Ridgeway of tonight.  He consented to my using his 11 Merrills' photos here  - cha-ching!  Check them out - 5778, 5866, 5971, 6091, 6231, 6522r (r throughout means rifle), 10132, 10340, 10450, 10456, 12155, 14016.  I'll have to add several parts pics to the Scrolling thru Parts galleries.


Realized my Special Features page wasn't really special features, so i Changed it to Scrolling Thru Parts.  Then, I went to town categorizing all the quality photos by each part.  Open up each one and put it on slide show mode.  I then created a page listing out the special features by Merrill carbines and rifles that I'd captured over the past several months.


I populated the Special Features page, under the Research folder, as a way of representing the changed parts over time.


 have three outstanding museums that would add plenty to my list of existing Merrills.  In my own back yard of Milwaukee is one of the greatest firearms collections in the country, the Rudolph J. Nunnemacher collection at the Milwaukee Public Museum. However, it's closed for 3-5 years to update the catalogs and check conditions.  I do have the three listed on this site, as I bought the book from 1929(?) that had a few pages of illustrations and details and historical information.

As far as trips I can take this year, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in DC is tops on the list, right there with the Springfield Armory Museum in Massachusetts.  Each has over a dozen Merrill-related firearms, and sadly the NMAH has zero images, and very little details/history.  David Miller has consented to my coming and photographing them, and same goes for Alex MacKenzie at the SAM.

I'm also working with folks at the Maryland Historical Society and at the Baltimore Sun newspaper company for any additional archival information that I can include here.  Any photos or illustrations of James H. Merrill, his businesses (esp. the new state-of-the-art weapons factory he built in 1864 on the grounds of the old pump house - 6 1/2 acre property) would be great additions.

If anyone lives in the Baltimore area and can help with this research, please contact and let me know.  I can do only so much online with out taking a short duration trip with limited results.  Need someone local who can follow up on the archived content that's found. 

Also, if anyone has any historical materials to add to this story of James H. Merrill, please contact me at  Thanks, Eric.

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