Springfield Armory

Springfield Armory

This Friday, May 6, our last History Bites of the spring 2022 season will feature Park Ranger Susan Ashman, of the Springfield Armory.  She will discuss her historic research, to determine the history of a single Civil War rifle. The program is at noon in the Woodbury Room of the Jones Library. 

Program Synopsis: We’ve all heard the expression if walls could talk, but what about historic firearms? What would they have to say about the battles they were in and the soldiers who used them? Join Park Ranger Susan Ashman as she examines just one of these rifles — an 1856 British Enfield, used during the Civil War, with the initials R. H. Weakley carved into the stock. Through in-depth research, find out more about the tragic story of Pvt. Weakley — one more soldier who could have been lost to history.
Biography: Susan Ashman is the Lead Parker Ranger and Historic Supervisor at Springfield Armory NHS. She previously worked at Old Sturbridge as an historic interpreter and was an aircraft mechanic for 8 years in the U.S. Air Force. Susan has given many presentations to Civil War Round Tables, the Civil War Institute in Gettysburg and multiple locations in New England. 

Forging Arms for the Nation

by Susan Ashman, National Park Service

Begun as a major arsenal under the authority of General George Washington early in the Revolutionary War, the first national armory began manufacturing muskets in 1794. Within decades, Springfield Armory had perfected pioneering manufacturing methods that were critical to American industrialization. Reopened in 1978 as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, the original 1840’s arsenal houses the world’s largest collection of historic American military firearms.