Remington 1863 Contract Rifle

Remington 1863 Contract Rifle

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
Also known as the "Zouave Rifle," the.58-caliber muzzle loading 1863 Remington was referred to as "Harpers Ferry Pattern" in official Army documents. Although over 12,000 were manufactured, exactly who used them and how they acquired the name Zouave are mysteries.
Currently not on view
Object Name
rifle, percussion
Other Terms
rifle; Firearms; Percussion Fire;.58 In; Rifled; Muzzle Load; Sa
date made
associated date
Remington Arms Company, Inc.
place made
United States
overall, rifle: 49 in x 2 1/4 in; 124.46 cm x 5.715 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Civil War
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
Civil War
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


The name "Zouave" was attached to the rife by a man named Bannerman after the civil war as a sales gimmick, and adopted by know nothing collectors and reenactors in the 20th century.IN FACT. Remington was one of hundreds of contractors who built and modified what the government documentation refers to as The HARPERS FERRY MODEL OF 1841/1855 altered. The so called 1863 Remington is just one of over 1000 known patterns of the 1841 rifle built or modified by different contactors between 1844 and 1864. MANY contractors built or modified as few as 500 or 1000 rifles. They are found with several different patch box sizes, several different barrel band configurations (always brass) , HUNDREDS of different bayonet styles ,and in both .54 and .58 CAL. ALL OF THEM saw wide spread use by both sides in the war of northern aggression. The Federals phased them out of service sometime in 1863-1864. The Confederate's used every one they could lay there hands on until the end of the war and beyond. BUT THEY NEVER AT ANY TIME had anything to do with the Zouave's and YES they saw wide issue and use.
I have studied the details of this particular rifle, I have studied enough on the specifics of the US Civil War to know that this was not " the war of northern aggression" as asserted by Ray.
Although I can not verify this, it's my understanding that this piece was issued to the Zouave regiment from New York state. The regiment wore red middle east style pantaloons. I have seen original photographs depicting that. I was born and raised in up-state New York, and learned this as local history.
Medal of Honor Recipient Francis Brownell of the 11th NY Volunteer regiment (First Zouaves Company A) appear to be holding this very "unissued" 1863 Remington contract rifle. I wonder if that's where the "Zoauve" rifle designation took hold. Francis must have been one of those ignorant collectors who bought the Bannerman line about these rifles. ;-)

Add a comment about this object