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ANDREW D. KING, SUB INSPECTOR, NATIONAL ARMORY, SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS – HIS PERSONAL 1861 WORK DIARY – RECORDS OF INSPECTIONS OF COLTS, BURNSIDES, AMES SABRES – VERY RARE ORDNANCE INSPECTOR WORK HISTORY:  Quite possibly the only one of its kind in private ownership, this is the 1861 Work Diary maintained throughout the year by Andrew D. King, Sub Inspector, at the National Armory, Springfield, Massachusetts.  Discovered several years ago in a Vermont estate, this pocket sized diary records King’s daily inspections of arms, his out of pocket expenses, and his inspection trips from Springfield to various manufacturers such as Colt in Hartford, Burnside in Providence, and Ames and Gaylord in Chicopee.   

One of the more famous Sub Inspectors, King was employed by the Ordnance Department from 1850 to 1865, and was in daily contact with several of the better known personalities employed by the US Army Ordnance Department before and during the Civil War.  In the daily entries King made in his diary, he regularly refers to these men in the context of travel, correspondence, and inspection assignments.  Interestingly, he identifies them by the same format of initials which were applied via the inspector cartouche stamps to the firearms, sabres and swords these men inspected.  The following inspectors initials appear in the text of his notations: “A.D.K.” – Andrew D. King (he referred to himself in the third person); “G.G.S” - G. G. Saunders, Sub Inspector, US Armory; “J.H.” - most probably Joseph Hannis, Sub Inspector, US Armory; “R.H.K.W.” -  Robert Henry Kirkwood Whitely, Captain of Ordnance, US Army; and “W.A.T.” – William A. Thornton, Captain of Ordnance, US Army. 

The diary, measuring 6” high and 4” wide, is bound in brown leatherette covers with the title and date, “DIARY. 1861.” embossed in gold foil on the front cover closing flap.  King’s full name, title, and address are written in ink, presumably in King’s own hand, on the inside of the front cover.   

The diary content varies according to King’s activities on any given day.  There are notations “Inspections Closed” and “Inspection Reports”, indicating completed assignments and I’m assuming the filing of his report.  King was conscientious in recording his specific inspection assignments.  A few excerpts from the diary are provided here as a small sampling of the type of notations King recorded: 

Feb 11:  “Commenced 3 Inspections of 314 Burnside Carbines”                                   May 20:  “307cylinders proved by Taylor” and “344 pistols to s______”                   May 23:  “Chicopee Delivered accoutrements 500”                                                        July 27:  “Inspection of 500 pistols closed.  ADK GGS”                                                 July 29:  “Inspection commenced of 500 pistols holster pattern”                                   Aug19:  “Commenced ins accoutrements and swords at Chicopee”                          Sept 9:  “Ins swords  1 day”                                                                                            Oct 1:  “ADK on accoutrements, GGS JH on swords”                                                 Oct 14:  “ADK, GGS, JH, on accoutrements cav accoutrements four days, delivered 10 boxes cav swords 300, 3 boxes Non Com Off 108”                                               

Oct 21:  “Delivered Cavalry Sabres 300, Delivered Non Com Officers swords 108, Delivered Musicians swords 50”                                                                                 Nov 22:  “Reports 1000 cavalry; 1000 Non Com Belts; 600 Artillery; Not reported 1000 cap pouches” 

According to his notations of expenses for railroad tickets and board, King did a considerable amount of traveling to Hartford, Springfield, Chicopee and Providence – all locations where the various arms were being manufactured.  The meticulous nature of his personality is evidenced by his notations of such small expenses as a postage stamp and to whom in the Ordnance Department the letter or report was sent.  In addition to the expenses obviously incurred in the course of his official duties, there are also notations of his personal expenses such as “Cash to Wife  7.50” and various household and personal expenses.  Towards the back of the book there are pages for “Cash Account” and “Bills Payable” for each month.  His notations for cash received were limited to January, but the payments from the US Government are recorded, providing insight to the amount of his salary.    

Through a genealogy researcher, and various descendants of Andrew D. King she was able to locate, some historical information on King and his family was compiled, and copies of photographs of one of his wives and one of his grandsons were obtained, all of which is included with this diary.  I was never able to locate a photograph of King – odd in so much as there are several notations in this diary reflecting payments he made for photographs – presumably images of his family members.  From what I was able to determine, no image of King has survived in either public holdings or in the family owned archives.   

In addition to the genealogical information assembled on King, I prepared and have included a two page summary of the diary which serves to highlight the significant entries by date and provide a guide to other interesting features of the diary.  Hopefully this summary will be of some worth to the eventual new owner.   

While the diary lacks any earth shattering revelations, it is a significant record of the work of one of the primary sub-inspectors at Springfield Armory during the first year of the Civil War.  This diary is certainly a unique historical artifact insofar as there are very few, if any, such records in private hands and available to collectors.  This diary would be a prime addition to any collection of Springfield Armory arms and material, or Ordnance Department artifacts.  (0202)  $2500

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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