Unrest trembled across the land.
A young nation was in turmoil, having been torn apart by social and economic issues. When it was obvious that debate and dialogue would not settle the skirmish, a bloody and prolonged contest was waged – the War Between the States.
Battle lines were drawn, and the Union army mobilized for war. In the South, newly installed Confederate leaders scrambled to assemble a viable military force to engage the established enemy. The new Confederate forces were outnumbered, outgunned, and short on resources – but long on honor and pride!
For four long years, the epic battle played out in the cities and countryside of our nation, pitting state against state, friend against friend, and brother against brother. By the time the guns were silenced at Appomattox in 1865, the war had claimed the lives of more Americans than any other war in history. The Confederate forces, against nearly insurmountable odds, had valiantly fought against the Union forces until April, 1865.
The soldiers and leaders of the South, immortalized in history, are gone forever, but their names and words can never be forgotten! These proud men fought for a cause they believed in, and were willing to sacrifice everything. They spoke of duty and principle, and backed up their words with action. They put their careers, their fortunes, and their lives on the line to protect the Southern way of life – and often paid the ultimate price.
In honor of the legacy of all Confederate soldiers and their leaders, America Remembers is pleased to introduce “The Sons of Confederate Veterans Tribute,” a genuine working Henry rifle decorated in elegant 24-karat gold and nickel and officially authorized by the Sons of the Confederate Veterans – Virginia Division. Issued in a strictly limited edition of only 300 rifles, the Tribute is available only from the United States Society of Arms & Armour, the Antique Arms division of America Remembers.
Preserving History – Sons of Confederate Veterans
“Keep steadily in the view of the great principles for which you contend…the safety of your homes and the lives of all you hold dear depend upon your courage and exertions. Let each man resolve to be victorious and that the right of self-government, liberty and peace shall find him a defender.”
-Robert E. Lee to his troops, Sept. 9, 1861
In a war that produced many of history’s greatest leaders and most memorable battles, the citizen-soldiers of the Confederacy demonstrated remarkable tenacity as they fought for their homeland. Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of those who served so that future generations may understand the motives that inspired the Southern cause.
Organized in 1896 in Richmond, Virginia, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is the oldest organization for male descendents of Confederate soldiers. The SCV is divided into divisions, or state organizations, which consist of localized camps, each numbered and named for a noted Confederate hero. The focus of the SCV is perpetuating the Confederate heritage, and this is accomplished through historical re-enactments, site preservation work, written articles on the war, and other endeavors.
The Virginia Division of the SCV, with many active camps and an enthusiastic membership, actively works to keep the history of the Confederacy alive in the heart of Dixie. During the war, more battles were waged in Virginia than in any other state. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy, and was the target of many Union military campaigns. General R.E. Lee led the forces that protected Richmond from Union campaigns, time and again, until the final days when the larger and better-supplied Union forces finally captured the city, and the war was ended at Appomattox. Richmond was the site of the founding of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and also hosted the organization’s 100th Anniversary Convention.
Working closely with representatives of the SCV’s Virginia Division, America Remembers has created the first ever firearm Tribute honoring the heroic leaders of the Confederacy and the storied organization that perpetuates their memory. The Tribute is a museum-quality keepsake that will be a treasured possession of SCV members, Civil War and firearms enthusiasts alike.
Mr. Henry’s Rifle
To this day, military historians trace the beginnings of modern warfare to the War Between the States. The strategies and techniques of combat were forever changed with the introduction of the “3 R’s” – repeating rifles, revolvers, and the railroad. Commanders during the war were able to move troops rapidly by rail, and the forces utilizing newer weapons had a decided advantage over their foes.
The Henry rifle was considered by many as the most technologically advanced rifle available during the War Between the States. It was highly coveted by soldiers on both sides of the conflict, and remains a favorite of collectors today.
The Henry rifle was designed and manufactured in Oliver Winchester’s New Haven plant, and named for its developer, B. Tyler Henry. In an era when single-shot, ball-and-powder guns were still the norm, the Henry rifle was able to fire an innovative .44 caliber metal-cased rimfire cartridge. Each Henry held up to fifteen of the powerful and self-contained cartridges in the magazine, with another in the chamber – a sensational feat of engineering for the day. The Henry rifle combined light weight with ease of loading, and had the ability to perform flawlessly in foul weather. The Henry’s rapid lever-action firing capabilities were noted in a newspaper report from 1862:
“This rifle, as we have stated, can be loaded in eight or ten seconds with fifteen cartridges, and the whole number can be fired in fifteen seconds or less, so that one man, with the weapon, is equal to fifteen armed with ordinary guns….”
For four decades, the incomparable master craftsmen of Uberti have skillfully reproduced the greatest firearms in history, to the acclaim of collectors and historical firearms enthusiasts the world over. As one of Uberti’s most popular offerings, the Henry rifle is always in demand, as only a limited quantity can be produced each year. I am pleased that we have been able to make special arrangements with Uberti to acquire the rifles for this project, and if you act promptly, you can get in on the ground floor of this historical offer.
A Confederate Heritage Masterpiece
The Sons of Confederate Veterans Tribute is a fully functional, working Henry rifle in caliber .44-40. The blued 24 1/4 inch half-octagonal barrel with tubular magazine is complemented perfectly by a brass frame – like many of the original Henry rifles – and by the polished walnut stocks.
However, the focal point of this Tribute is the spectacular artwork featured on the Henry’s receiver…magnificent images of noble and fearless Confederate leaders. Craftsmen commissioned specifically for this Tribute by America Remembers decorate each rifle in a combination of gleaming 24-karat gold and nickel, with the portraits detailed in a special blackened patina.
On the left side of the receiver, three of the South’s most famous military leaders are featured in remarkable detail. The center portrait features Robert E. Lee, the revered leader of the Confederate troops. A heroic leader of Confederate forces, he served with pride, dignity, and honor to uphold the principles of the South. On February 1861 he wrote, “My loyalty to Virginia ought to take precedence over that which is due to the federal government. If Virginia stands by the old Union, so will I. But if she secedes, then I will follow my native state with my sword, and need be with my life.” His dazzling military exploits and devotion to duty are legendary. After the war, Lee steadfastly encouraged reconciliation between North and South. His quote, “Abandon your animosities and make your sons Americans,” demonstrated the unity that Lee so desired.
This lifelike portrait of Robert E. Lee is flanked by two of his most trusted commanders, Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, General Lee’s self-described “right arm,” was a West Point graduate and served the U.S. Army in the Mexican War. A brilliant leader and a man of “fire and brimstone,” Jackson died in 1863. James Ewell Brown “J.E.B.” Stuart, also a West Pointer, likewise resigned his U.S. Army commission to join the Confederate Army. A legendary Cavalry leader, the flamboyant Stuart ably served the Confederacy until he was mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern in 1864.
The loss of these two distinguished commanders was a severe blow for the South. Regarding Stonewall Jackson, Lee once said, “I know not how to replace him,” and “Such an executive officer the sun never shone on. I have but to show him my design, and I know that it can be done, it will be done…. Straight as the needle to the pole he advanced to the execution of my purpose.” Lee called Stuart the “eyes of the army,” and after Stuart’s death, Lee remembered him with the highest possible praise: “He never brought me a piece of false information.”
The right side of the receiver features three distinguished Confederate leaders – Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Stephen D. Lee, and Jubal Early. Jefferson Davis was a West Point graduate and fought in the Indian and Mexican Wars. A gifted politician, Davis served as a U.S. Senator and rose to become the United State’s Secretary of War. Named President of the Confederate States of America in 1861, Davis managed his duties with devotion and honor. After the war, Davis published his two-volume “Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government” manuscript, always striving to perpetuate the Southern cause.
In addition to Jefferson Davis, you will find two leaders who were instrumental in promulgating Confederate heritage. Stephen Dill Lee served in the U.S. Army after graduating from West Point, until he joined the Confederate Army, rising to become the youngest Lieutenant General of the Confederacy. A gifted artillerist, Lee also commanded Cavalry forces. Lee was a guiding force in the early years of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and served as Commander-in-Chief of the organization from 1904 until his death in 1908.
Jubal Anderson Early was a gifted lawyer and politician who served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. A colorful individual, Early was a pugnacious leader who served the Confederate Army in numerous battles. He led Southern forces in the Shenendoah Valley during 1864-65, and tied up a much larger contingent of Union forces for a considerable period of time. Early was such a staunch Confederate that he never formally surrendered to the Union, and after the war, he became the major chronicler of Confederate history and the primary spokesman for the Lost Cause. Early was president of the Southern Historical Society, and his writings form the historical basis for the establishment of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Senator Daniel, who served on Early’s staff said of him: “Virginia holds the dust of many a faithful son, but not of one whom loved her more, who fought for her better, or would have died for her more willingly.”
With a nickel decorated background serving as the canvas for these portraits, our craftsmen have captured these leaders in incredible detail. Featured on both sides of the receiver are the Sons of the Confederate Veterans logo, and a magnificent painting featuring a Confederate artilleryman, officer, and infantryman proudly holding a tattered Confederate flag, with a cannon in the background. The decorations on both sides of the receiver are framed by elegant scrollwork in 24-karat gold.