CASED & INSCRIBED Factory Engraved GUSTAVE YOUNG COLT M1849 POCKET Revolver
Presented from the Company to its Sergeant Wilbur Henry
Here we present a Colt Factory Engraved, Civil War Period Presentation Model 1849 Pocket Revolver, Inscribed “Presented to Sergt. W.E. Henry./by Co. K. 17th Vt Vols./Sep 26th 1864”, made in 1861 in Hartford, Connecticut.
Wilbur (also Wilber) Edwin Henry (1844-1894) belonged to a prominent family in Vermont, especially in the Waterbury, Berlin and Burlington areas. Warriors in this family line could be traced back to the French & Indian Wars and American War of Independence. Many Henrys were farmers and the family were especially known for their pharmaceuticals business during this period, with much of the family being involved in the business before, during, and after the war. Multiple Henrys served in public office locally, statewide, and federally. Wilbur had just turned 20 on 9 April before enlisting on 15 June 1864 as a Sergeant in the 17th Vermont Volunteers. He was assigned to Company K along with his cousin, Lieutenant James Edwin Henry (Colonel William Wirt Henry was James’ older brother—he led the 10th VT and was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading his men in a charge to retake artillery while seriously wounded). The regiment saw constant action from the beginning to the end of the 17th’s relatively short stint at the end of the war. This late in the war it was somewhat difficult to raise new regiments, and the 17th went out as an incomplete regiment. They also did not have much time to drill. “The 17th and last of the infantry regiments of Vermont had a brief and bloody history. It took the field before its ranks were filled or its regimental organization completed. It marked from the mustering ground into the carnage of The Wilderness; held its third battalion drill on the field of battle; placed the name of a bloody battlefield on its colors for every month of its service; and was under almost constant fire till Richmond fell. With the smallest aggregate of numbers, its list of killed and wounded in battle exceeded that of some of the largest regiments (George Grenville Benedict).” The 17th, along with K Company, were on the front lines of the Siege of Petersburg where Lt. James E. Henry was killed in action during the successful, though devastating (to both sides: up to 9,000 casualties total and 3,936 for the Union) assault on Fort Mahone, 2 April 1865. Wilbur was promoted to Second Lieutenant on 10 July 1865 before mustering out on the 14th. He would go home to Vermont and worked as a salesman for the family pharmaceutical business Henry, Johnson & Lord of Burlington, VT.
A copy of the Henry Genealogy: The Descendents of Samuel Henry of Hadley and Amhertt, Massachusetts (from which much of this information comes and much more) will be included as well as many documents relating to Wilbur Henry and the 17th’s service during the American Civil War.
This revolver was engraved by Colt’s master head of engraving Gustave Young. He began apprenticing for his profession at the age of 8 in Berlin before immigrating to the United States and going to work for Samuel Colt. He was a trendsetter and remains one of the most legendary names in American engraving. His specific style and motifs are on full display on this piece. His curling floral scroll with a punch-dotted background terminates with a bird’s head on the left side of the barrel. Each side of the hammer is engraved in the likeness of a dog or wolf. The grips are of ivory. The serial numbers are supplemented with an apostrophe, which was the Colt factory’s internal designation for items to get special engraving and ivory grips. The entirety was silver plated. This comes in a period case with burgundy velvet lining, fitted to the gun and accessories. There is a Colt’s bullet mold and powder flask, as well as an oiler bottle and cap tin.
The overall condition is fine. The action is strong and tight. The bore is very good or better with clean surfaces and sharp rifling. All numbers match, except the cylinder. The case and accessories and in good condition. This is a fantastic Civil War period Colt revolver, engraved by none other than Gustave Young, presented to a Sergeant by his company. A wonderful piece of history!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 4 inches.
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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