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American Civil War Confederate double barrel English Shotgun


History of this Antique Firearm:

This 1860s black powder percussion double barrel shotgun has the left (as you are facing the butt of the gun) side lock stamped T. Ball. T. Ball was a partner in the firm Keatinge and Ball. Keatinge and Ball printed currency for the Confederacy in the American Civil War 1861-1865. Mr. Ball was a lawyer by trade and was known as an enforcer for the firm. He kept the competition from obtaining contracts with the Confederate States of America for the printing of Currency. He was known to carry a double barrel shotgun with him at all times, especially when visiting compitetive printing firms. 

There are no other name markings on the shotgun. Pictures of the marked lock are below. The other markings on the shotgun are underneath the forearm and are manufacture and MFG markings. We will identify them with a picture of these markings below. 

T. Ball is prominently marked on the Lock of this Shotgun. It is the only name marking on the weapon.


In my studies of Confederate English contracts I have surmised that not all weapons manufactured that sold to the Confederate States of America's weapons buyers were marked with a maker's name. The manufacturer may not have wanted to be identified by the US Federal government as selling to their enemy.  my research has also found that many firearms of the Civil War Period and before were marked with the owners name and did not always include the makers name. I have had a couple of confederate firearms (Kentucky style Longrifles and double rifles) in the past that had the owners name engraved on the weapon, but no makers name. 


On this particular piece I have come to the opinion that this weapon is marked T Ball for Thomas Ball of the firm Keatinge & Ball.  Mr. Keatinge of this same firm was known for his past work as a master portrait engraver and worked previously with the American Banknote Company. History research tells that Thomas Ball, although an attorney, was the enforcer for the firm Keatinge & Ball. One book I read commented that Thomas Ball was known to carry a double barreled shotgun most of the time especially when visiting competitors in the printing business. He was known to keep other printing firms in the South from getting Confederate government contracts. I have done extensive research into the Birmingham gun trade and found no T Ball listed as a manufacturer or retailer either in England or the US. The gun does have Birmingham Gun trade stamps on the bottom of the barreI (On going research on these stampings in the Picture below)  I have come to the opinion that the acquisition of this shotgun was arranged by Mr Keatinge with a Birmingham England weapons Manufacturer for  his partner Thomas Ball and had his name "T Ball"  stamped on the Lock.


The Markings on the underneath side of this double barrel shotgun are in the process of identification. 


Starting at the top of the page top to bottom left barrel to right barrel, they are as follows:

Left Barrel

W.C. = William Chambers, Birmingham Non War Dept Viewer

Proof Stamp = Birmingham view mark or Proof

10 = 10 Bore

Proof Stamp = Birmingham View Mark or Proof

Proof Stamp = Birmingham Provisional Proof


Right Barrel

C.H. =  I believe this is a Confederate inspection mark. This mark has been confused with the initials of the chief Confederate purchasing agent Caleb Huse. Although Caleb Huse was responsible for purchasing this firearm, This CH initial stamp refers to  arms viewers (inspectors) Curtis & Hughes who were hired by S. Isaac Campbell & Company to inspect arms that had been purchased for the Confederacy.

Proof Stamp =  Birmingham view mark or Proof

10 =  10 Bore

Proof Stamp =  Birmingham view mark or Proof

Proof Stamp =  Birmingham Provisional Proof


Opinion Conclusion: 


Fact: This shotgun was manufactured in Birmingham England and has proofs on the bottom of the barrel as described above. It was manufactured circa: 1861.  After extensive research, no T. Ball retailer or US importer with that name was found.  


Speculation is that this 10 bore shotgun was made for Thomas Ball (T Ball) by his partner Edward Keatinge, who had connections with the Birmingham England Gun Trade.  

T BALL is attributed to Thomas A. Ball a Lawyer in Richmond Virginia. In August of 1861, Edward Keatinge, a British citizen who was trained in portrait engraving and Thomas Ball along with William Leggett, a Senior Engraver and American Banknote employee, teamed up to form Leggett, Keatinge and Ball. This organization was set up to satisfy the request of Confederate Secretary of State Memminger to set up a Confederate Bank Note Engraving firm in Richmond Virginia in 1861. In 1862 Leggett was forced out of the partnership by Memminger with the accusation that he was a Union Spy. In 1863 the firm of Keatinge and Ball moved operations to Columbia South Carolina because of the movement of Union Troops around Richmond Virginia. This organization lasted until February of 1865 when it was put out of business by the Union Army as Columbia was captured.

Thomas Ball was a Lawyer whose gifts were lending money and strong-arm tactics to the partnership. I quote verbatim Pierre Fricke in his book “Confederate Currency”; “Ball handled Keatinge’s back office paperwork, provided some of the firm’s capital, and supported Keatinge very effectively (with a Double barrel shotgun.) in their brawls with other printers.”