Cook and Brother of New Orleans – A Confederate Rifle Factory

Cook and Brother was one of the largest and most successful of the private ordnance factories in the South during the Civil War. It was formed by two British brothers who had moved to New Orleans, Frederick and Francis Cook. They opened a rifle factory at the intersection of Common and Canal streets, and began making Enfield pattern rifles. A contract was soon procured for sale of a thousand rifles to the state of Alabama, and in total they produced about 1100 rifles in New Orleans before the city fell to the Union. When that happened, they managed a hectic evacuation, and the armory was reestablished in Athens Georgia by early 1863. Production there took some time to ramp back up due to labor shortages, and they produced only about another thousand rifles in 1863. By this time they had a large contract with the CSA government, and managed an impressive 4500 more guns in 1864, before the entire enterprise collapsed as the CSA became unable to make payments.

What we have today are a very early New Orleans production rifle and an early Athens production cavalry carbine, the latter engraved with its owner’s name and unit (the 3rd Virginia Cavalry).

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