November 2022


Inv. 01-20172

Cal .44. S# 6347.

This is the only family descended and identified Henry rifle accompanied with an original hard-image photograph of the soldier who carried it, that we are aware of. It was the property of Jacob Guseman of the 6th West Virginia Cavalry. The Henry rifle was a revolutionary weapon, the most technologically advanced weapon of its day, but expensive, cost was several months pay for a soldier. Less than 10,000 Henrys were made during the Civil War. US government bought 1731 from 1863-1865, this is one a few thousand private purchases & among the very few that can be identified from direct family descent. This rifle was purchased from Guseman’s great-great-great granddaughter Tracy Guzeman by our consignor in 2014 along w/ the accompanying locket housing crisp tintype photos of brothers, Henry H Guseman (1840-1917) & Jacob J Guseman (1835-1915), both of whom fought with the 6th. Both brothers born, raised, and died in Taylor County, West Virginia which was Virginia up to July 4, 1863 but always had loyal Union sentiment. The Henry was carried and used by Jacob, pictured in the locket with a goatee beard and visible shoulder strap who originally mustered into service as sergeant March 4, 1864 of “E” Co. WV 6th Cavalry. His brother Henry pictured opposite him in locket had joined earlier in co. L of same regiment. Jacob would serve until the entire regiment mustered out May 22, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The locket is housed in old jewelry case with embossed maker “LOAR’ S / Jewelers / Grafton, W. Va.”, Grafton being the hometown of the Guseman family. Loar owned both jewelry and photograph establishments in the 19th Century.

The 6th was created from loyal Union mountaineers early in 1864, about the time was rifle was made. The 6th West Virginia Cavalry Regiment was organized from the 3rd West Virginia Infantry Regiment on January 26, 1864. The regiment absorbed the remaining battalion of the 5th West Virginia Cavalry Regiment on December 14, 1864. During the war, the 6th Regiment fought mostly in areas local to Virginia and West Virginia in small skirmishes in the mountain towns and valleys. In total, they suffered 5 officers and 28 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded in battle and 2 officers and 201 enlisted men dead from disease for a total of 236 fatalities.

Rifle is of standard configuration w/ 24-1/4″ oct. bbl. w/ 2-line patent & address on top flat, integral magazine, silver blade mounted on pedestal front, long range rear ladder sight, straight grain Walnut stock, w/ brass butt-plate w/ trap which held cleaning rod. This example is a fine identified survivor in unmolested condition, well patinaed w/ fine mechanics & bore.