ID’ed CONFEDERATE Antique ARTILLERY Saber & COLT
Belonging to Lt. C.H.C. Brown of LA’s Washington Artillery
Here we present a very nice accompaniment of artifacts from the American Civil War: a Colt 1849 Pocket Revolver, made in 1862, as well as a superb Confederate Model 1840 Light Artillery Saber, engraved with the name of Lt. C.H.C. Brown of the 1st Company Washington Battalion Louisiana Artillery. The Colt Pocket hardly needs an introduction, but these revolvers came onto Civil War battlefields via private purchase by those marching off to war. These were not standard issue weapons, but, as one could imagine, having even a light repeating revolver would have been advantageous for most soldiers who were carrying a single shot in their muzzle-loading rifle musket.
This example features the stagecoach robbery cylinder scene. The barrel address on this specimen is “ADDRESS SAML COLT/HARTFORD CT.” The condition of the revolver is near fine, with about 50% of the original silver plate finish remaining on the brass parts. The iron parts still display a bit of the original case coloring, with the rest bearing a nice, untouched patina. The markings are clear and legible, including a very nice and clear cylinder scene. All serial numbers match. The walnut grips are original, with very nice varnish, and a bit of period wear around the bottom flare of the grip, showing that it was carried, but very well cared for. The bore is sharply rifled and clean. The action is strong, with the exception that the cylinder revolves only when pointing down, meaning that the hand spring has been damaged.
The Artillery Saber is based on the US Model 1840 Artillery Saber, which was based on the French Model 1829 Artillery Saber. The blade has a nice swept back design, with a sturdy spine and a fine point. The blade is 32 inches long with a 25-inch fuller. The hilt features a single piece knuckle bow to protect the hand, giving this sword a simple, but elegant look. The grip is wood wrapped in leather with a bit of two strand, braided wire wrap remaining. There are no makers marks on the ricasso, nor any inspection marks. The scabbard is of iron construction with the owner’s name neatly engraved near the throat. There is the possibility that this was an import from France or perhaps Germany, the maker leaving off his signature markings to avoid being identified as having provided for weapons to the Confederacy. However, several known Confederate makers did produce these swords. One maker in particular was Thomas, Griswold & Company of New Orleans, Louisiana, which may be particularly salient due to the origin of the soldier’s name which is found on the scabbard of this wonderful saber. As noted from a previous collector’s accompanying documentation, “Recent research reveals that C.H.C. Brown’s sabre was made in Macon, GA by W.J. McElroy. McElroy was the only maker in the South with equipment to make a sabre with a blood stop. See Confederate Arms by Albaugh, page 102.”
As stated above, this saber’s scabbard has been custom engraved with the owner’s name “C.H.C. BROWN”. This pair of weapons is accompanied by a stout book of research performed and collected by the previous owner of the sword and revolver, Col. W.E. Schubert, USAF RET. The research was done circa 1997. The research includes summaries of what is known about Brown’s life and his unit’s fighting during the American Civil War, as well as copies of actual records like muster rolls and payroll. Further research with the National Park Service confirms Lt. C.H.C. Brown’s rank and membership in the 1st Company Washington Battalion Louisiana Artillery.
Lt. C.H.C. Brown was 20 years old when he enlisted in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the 1st Company Washington Battalion Louisiana Artillery on May 25, 1861. At the time, the Civil War was only about a month old. He was quickly promoted to 1st Sergeant on October 22, 1861, then to 2nd Lieutenant on May 13, 1862. He participated in the Battle at Gettysburg, where he was wounded and captured on July 5, 1863. He was a prisoner for war for the better part of a year, first at De Camp General Hospital at Davids’ Island in New York’s Long Island Sound, then at Johnson Island, Ohio, then Point Lookout Prison in Baltimore, Maryland, before being released on March 16, 1864, at which time he rejoined the fight for the Confederacy. There is a lot more interesting information here for the reading.
The overall condition of the sword is fine. Both sword and scabbard are very nice, with just a bit of discoloration on the scabbard. There are no major dings. The engraved name is small, neatly done, and clear. The brass guard and pommel have a nice patina with a few handling marks. The leather is still present, but a bit weathered and worn, as would be expected. Only a portion of the wire wrap remains. The leather washer is original. Overall, here is a wonderful pair of historical items, with an identified Confederate soldier’s name, and a great deal of research. Items like these do not come around every day.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Blade is 32 inches in length.
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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