As a complete novice, I am getting confused by names. There are two things I know for sure about my rifle:
1. It was carried by a member of 157th New York (confirmed by both unit records and numerous reunion ribbons).
2. It is clearly marked as a Colt 1863 of U.S. manufacturer (as I understand, an upgrade of the 1861 model).
I was under the impression that Enfield was a British manufacturer. Was the name used in a generic manner? Given that the date of manufacturer appears to be a few months after my ancestor was mustered into the 157th, might this be a reissue or might they have been mustered in close enough to the 1863 date that they received the new model? Would there have been a period of training that would have delayed the issue the actual weapons of battle? The dates make it fairly clear that it is not a weapon he would have brought with him from the dissolution of the "Old 12th" a few months before the 157th was recruited.
Family tradition has it that this is the weapon he carried in all engagements of the 157th. I would like to try to confirm that tradition, since they were at quite a number of well known battles. It is clear he survived the war without serious injury as he went on to father the first president of Arizona State Univ. (who was responsible for its transition from Arizona Normal School at Tempe) and had no missing body parts. The extreme wear on the rifling also indicates that it was probably heavily used.
Further proof of the survival of this particular soldier is the fact that I am here.
Thanks for any clarification you may be able to provide.