The Fayetteville was a rifled musket produced in 1862 by the Confederate States Armory using captured Harper's Ferry US Armory machinery. Production ended when the equipment was recaptured and destroyed in 1865. This was the second instance of the Confederates using captured equipment to build their own firearms, the first being the Richmond Rifle, produced by Richmond Armory also using Harpers Ferry machinery.
The Fayetteville, by virture of being constructed using Harpers Ferry machinery, was heavily based on the Model 1855 Rifled Musket (as Harpers Ferry had been contracted to construct the Model 1855 along with the Springfield Armory). This means that the Fayetteville has almost identical dimensions, bar a marginally longer stock. The barrel was identical to the Model 1855 Rifle, using the same 1:72" rifling twist.
There were, however, significant changes that existed between the two. The Maynard tape primer system, used on the Model 1855, was refined meaning that the Fayetteville had a higher average rate of fire (3-4 per minute) than the typical rifled musket (which often used percussion caps instead), with or without the Maynard tape primer. This improvement was not, however, enough to keep interest in the Maynard tape design, having already been replaced on the Springfield Model 1861.
Other changes in design included the addition (on the majority of examples) of a sword bayonet lug, increasing the reach of the bayonet when used. Furthermore sights were included on the Fayetteville, with a rear leaf sight scaled to 800yards (730m).
Aesthetic features were also different (and later these differences gradually grew greater) between the Model 1855 and the Fayetteville. Original Fayettevilles used the Model 1855 blank lock plates and all mounted parts made in iron, while later Fayettevilles were mounted in brass with an "S" shaped hammer.
The Fayetteville used the .58in (14.7mm) Minie Ball, as the Model 1855 had used. However as the American Civil War progressed .58in musket balls became more prominantly used, with available resources dropping.
The Maynard tape primer mechanism, which fed the primer into the breech automatically, had been refined from that used on the Model 1855, improving the rate of fire, and ease of use, of the Fayetteville.
The Fayetteville was manufactured in the town of Fayetteville, North Carolina using the machinery that the Confederates captured from the Harpers Ferry US Armory in Virginia. The Fayetteville received some praise, at the time, about the attention to detail and quality of manufacture, particularly by the Fayetteville Observer whom reported
- "A few days ago we were shown one of a number of rifles furnished at the C.S.Armory here. It is much the same in general appearance, as the US rifle for some years made at Harper's Ferry and at Springfield, Mass., but for certain improvements, in the matter of the sword bayonet, Maynard primer, and perfection of finish in all parts, it must be pronounced very superior.
- "Altogether, we think it the handsomest specimen of small arms, rifle or musket, we have ever seen - reflecting the greatest credit upon all concerned with its manufacture." - Written by the Fayetteville Observer upon the release of the Fayetteville in February 1862.
The Fayetteville saw a production figure that reached 31,762 examples across three years, the majority of which were used during the Civil War. However when Unionist forces, under the command of General W.T. Sherman, took control of Fayetteville the Confederate Armory (and most of the equipment) was destroyed, ending the production of the Fayetteville Rifled musket.
At present the Fayetteville is a very desirable firearm, being extremely rare and highly collectible with prices typically falling around the $25,000 mark. Likewise the Richmond Rifle (an almost idenitcal long arm to the Fayetteville) also demands high prices, despite the two rifles lack of widespread popularity, being overshadowed by the Pattern 1853 Enfield and Springfield Model 1861.