Reference Items
Firearms
Confederate Pratt's Roll Kerr Revolver

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During the Civil War, a wide variety of handguns were seen on the battlefield.  One of the most easily recognized was the Kerr revolver which was readily distinguished by its musket style side hammer and cylinder pin which extends below the base of the hammer.  The Kerr was used almost exclusively by Confederate cavalry.

In 1861, the Confederacy sent purchasing agent Caleb Huse to Europe to procure weapons for their armies.  By March 1862 Huse had an exclusive contract with the London Armoury Company for all the arms they could produce, making them the foremost source of weapons for the Confederacy in Europe.  Many thousands of Enfield rifles and virtually all the Kerr revolvers produced thereafter from London Armory were run through the Federal blockade.  At the war’s end and with the demise of the Confederate States, the principle client of London Armoury was gone and they ceased production of all arms and closed their doors.

This Kerr is typical of those that arrived for the Confederate forces.  It is a 5-shot single action pistol with a 54mm bore (approximately .45 caliber.)  All metal parts are blued, now turned to a plum patina.  The grips are checkered English walnut, terminating with a lanyard swivel ring at the butt.  An external spring at the off side of the frame retains a cylinder pin which rests beneath the base of the hammer.  A hinged rammer with spring clasp fastens between two ears that are attached to the bottom of the muzzle flat.  The front sight at the top of the muzzle is a brass post.

This pistol bears numerous British proof markings including L.A.C. on the upper flat of the 5¾” octagonal barrel, alongside a crown over an enjoined GP and a crown over V; on the left lower frame is London Armoury in a small oval; on the lockplate on the right grip is LONDON ARMOURY COMPANY; on the rear of the cylinder between each chamber are alternating crown over V and crown over enjoined GP.  Finally, on the trigger stem and on the underside of the frame above the cylinder is the number 573, the assembler’s identification number.  Each Kerr was hand assembled, and it was intended that if future repairs or modifications became necessary, the pistol was to be returned to the original assembler.

Of particular interest on this pistol is its serial number.  The Kerrs sent to southern arsenals under Caleb Huse’s contract are regarded as falling within the serial number range of 3000-10000.  During the war, Lieutenant G. Julian Pratt of the 18th Virginia Cavalry filed a roll of his Company H, listing the revolvers issued to each trooper by serial number.  A single page of this document bearing seventeen names has survived.  Known as Pratt’s Roll, the document identifies the numbers of ten Kerr revolvers two of which are 9955 and 9961.  The Kerr revolver pictured here is serial number 9959, at the center of the six digit gap between the two known pieces, placing it within the 18th Virginia Cavalry range.


Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-284

Remington .44 Caliber Pistol

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The Remington New Model Army revolver was second only to the Colts in the number of pistols that saw service during the Civil War.  Remingtons accounted for nearly 35% of the revolvers purchased by the Government in that time period.  Although the Remington Arms Company had been established prior to the war they had produced mostly long arms.  For this reason, the number of Remington revolvers suitable for military use but in private hands prior to 1861 was very limited. 

Remingtons commenced their war service primarily in the hands of Union soldiers.  However, by 1863 these handguns were also carried by many southern troopers, a number having been "donated" by some Union cavalrymen whose luck had run out.  They were found to be a reliable handgun, but were never as popular as the Colts.

This example is a .44 caliber percussion pistol with a 6 shot round cylinder and an 8" octagon barrel whose threads are visible at the breech end.  The walnut grips display a clear cartouche on the left grip.  Much blue is remaining on the barrel, not flaking as is often found on Remington revolvers. Clear imprint on top of barrel: "PATENTED SEPT. 14, 1858/EM REMINGTON & SONS, ILION, NEW YORK, U.S.A./NEW MODEL.  All inspector’s marks are matching.   


Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-272

A Brace of LeMat Revolvers

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The LeMat revolver has always held a unique place in the hearts of Civil War enthusiasts. It is very emblematic of the Confederacy, having been designed by Alexander LeMat, a French inventor from New Orleans and P.G.T. Beauregard, a prominent Confederate General. With its nine shot .42 caliber cylinder revolving around a 18 gauge shotgun barrel it packed a unique amount of close quarter fire power, making it well suited for Cavalry use.

Presented here are two LeMats, a 1st Model and a 2nd Model.

1st Models (shown at left, above) numbered from one to the mid-400s, with serial #458 being the highest known. They were shipped directly from Paris to Richmond. The first 200 LeMats were transported aboard the British steamer "Lloyds, arriving June-July, 1862, and the second 200 were transported on the "Melita”, arriving late July-August, 1862. The 1st Model LeMat shown here was among the second group. It has the spur trigger and loading lever on the right side of the barrel. It is a rare gun having the unmistakable Confederate earmark of bearing serial numbers from three different 1st Models. The number #295 is on the cylinder and barrel, the frame is #405 and the rammer is #381. It is likely that this gun has been thus mismatched since the Civil War, possibly when an armorer reassembled it. We know of one other mismatched 1st Model. This gun is in fine condition, with sharp edges, vivid markings and an even patina, totally untouched and original. The barrel is stamped "Col. LeMat’s Patent”.

2nd Models (shown at right, above) display Paris markings, the barrel is marked "Col. LeMat Bte. S.g.d.g Paris”, and fall in a serial number range from about 950 to 2500. It is generally accepted that most of these went to the Confederacy. The 2nd Model LeMat shown here is serial #1589. It is in superb condition and retains 30-35 percent of its original blue finish. The 2nd Models are recognized by their rounded trigger guard and their loading lever resting on the left side of the barrel. This gun is numbered on the bottom of the grips, the frame, cylinder, pistol barrel, shotgun barrel, trigger guard, trigger, hammer, the cylinder hand, alignment pin, loading lever, plunger, lever mounting screw, shotgun ramrod and the grip escutcheon screw.

Further information on these guns can be found in "The Confederate LeMat Revolver” by Doug Adams.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-248

Colt 2nd Model Dragoon Revolver

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Colt 2nd Model Dragoon Revolver The six shot .44 caliber Colt Dragoon Revolver weighs in at 4 lbs. 2 oz. It has a 7½ inch part round, part octagonal barrel. Colt’s first .44 caliber revolver was the Walker. Its barrel length was 9 inches and its cylinder measured 2-7/16 inches, which had a proclivity to burst. The Dragoon series corrected this flaw by shortening the barrel length and that of the cylinder to 2-3/16 inches.

The cylinder scene on the Walker and Dragoon revolvers depicts Captain Jack Hays and his Texas Rangers fighting off a band of Comanche Indians commemorating the use of Samuel Colt’s first commercially successful Patterson Revolvers.

The 2nd Model Dragoon incorporated the two major features of Colt’s patent #7629, (1) the rectangular cylinder stops with guide grooves, which precluded the barrel from misaligning at time of discharge and (2) the slotted hammer face and pin safeties between each chamber on the cylinder breach, which eliminated hammer at rest misfires.

Part of the government contract for 1,000 Army pistols, dated 4 Feb 1850 is considered to have been filled from the 2nd Model production.

This fine 2nd Model Dragoon #10638, showing nearly 100% cylinder scene including "Model U.S.M.R.” and "Colts Patent”, is one of those from this contract. The serial number is found on barrel, frame, cylinder and cylinder pin, loading lever, grips with wedge #620. It is stamped "U.S.” under "Colts Patent” on the frame and includes the sub-inspectors mark "B” on the trigger, trigger guard, loading lever and frame. No inspector’s cartouche is visible on the grips.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-243

Colt M1851 Navy Revolver

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The Colt Navy was the first medium caliber revolver introduced by Colt after opening his Hartford, CT factory in 1847. From 1850 through 1873 he manufactured 215,348 Navys at this location, plus over 40,000 at the London factory. Next to the Model 1849, the 1851 Navy was the most popular of the percussion Colt revolvers and one of the most widely used hand guns of the Civil War.

It is a six-shot revolver in .36 caliber, with a 7½ inch octagon barrel with a hinged type loading lever. The gun weighs 2 lbs. 10 oz. The Navy gets its name from the roll-engraved motif on its cylinder, a naval battle scene of the Republic of Texas victory over Mexico’s Navy on 16 May 1843. The Texans were commanded by Commodore Edward Ward Moore, a friend of Samuel Colt. Moore was relieved of his command by Sam Houston for "disobedience, contumacy and mutiny” for fighting this battle, charges on which Moore was vindicated by the Texas House and Senate, but subsequently found guilty on four of twenty-two charges at court martial. By choosing this cylinder scene, Colt was defending the actions of his friend.

Approximately 35,000 Navy revolvers were purchased by the U.S. government for military use beginning with a 1,000 gun contract July 27, 1855 with Army purchases approximating 20,000 guns including some on the open market.

This fine M1851 Colt Navy is serial numbered #50323; it shows 100% cylinder scene and was manufactured early in 1856. It is one of the pistols acquired on the open market by the U.S. government as evidenced by the vestiges of silver plating on the trigger guard and back strap. The serial number is found on cylinder, cylinder pin, barrel, frame, trigger guard, back strap, loading lever, wedge and grips. It is stamped "U.S.” under "Colts Patent” on the frame and includes the sub-inspector mark "H” on the cylinder, backstrap, trigger guard and grips as well as an "L” on the trigger guard. No cartouches are visible on the grips. The front sight is a German Silver blade set on a steel base dovetailed onto the barrel. This type of sight is a scarce factory variant. The rear sight on the trigger is more deeply defined than is normally seen. The muzzle shows holster wear on the left side and nine small notches are filed on the inside of the grip strap. If only this gun could talk, what stories it might tell.

Further information on these guns can be found in "51 Colt Navies” by Nathan L. Swayze and in "The Book of Colt Firearms” by R. L. Wilson.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-242

Identified Confederate Enfield Rifle-musket

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This Enfield rifle-musket was made by Barnett of London, a contractor known to have supplied arms to the Confederacy during the Civil War. Nicely carved on the cheek side of the buttstock in 3” letters are the letters "EMR” with smaller letters "Co C. 11 Ala” which identifies to gun to Erlander M. Richardson, a sergeant in the 11th Alabama Infantry.

The 11th Alabama, part of Cadmus Wilcox’s Alabama Brigade, had a stellar fighting record in the Civil War, and Sergeant Richardson was deeply involved from beginning to end of the conflict. Company C was organized in Clinton, Greene County, Alabama, located in the extreme western part of the state.

Richardson enlisted as a private on 11 June 1861 and from there his fortunes follow those of the 11th Alabama until their surrender nearly four years later at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Richardson fought at Seven Pines, was wounded at Gaines Mill during fighting on June 27, 1862 as the Alabama Brigade fought so gallantly on the right wing. As a result of his wounds, Richardson was sent to the Virginia Confederate Hospital at Dansville and a month later was furloughed to return home and recuperate. He returned to Richmond in October and was again went into service with his regiment on October 13, 1862. By this time he had been promoted to Sergeant, presumably for his conduct at Gaines Mill.

Sergeant Richardson continues to show up on various rolls and receipts indicating that he fought in nearly all the battles at which the 11th Alabama participated; most notably Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor and the Crater at Petersburg.

When Lee fled Petersburg and the fighting reached Appomattox Court House, Sergeant Richardson was one of 176 men in his regiment, out of a total of 1, 192 who had enlisted at the onset of the war, to surrender on April 9, 1865. This rifle-musket most likely survived as a Union war trophy; one of the few guns not used to macadamize the road between Appomattox Court House and Appomattox Station following the surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

This Enfield rifle-musket is completely original, down to the swivels and ramrod and it remains in very good condition considering the hard use it saw during the War. The Confederate linen sling, though correct for the period, is not original to the gun.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-237

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