Colt 1860 Army - Crispin Contract - 11th NY Cav.
The Colt 1860 Army was the most common cavalry pistol used in the war. It resulted from requests to reduce the weight of the Colt Dragoon. Starting production in 1860 it became the standard pistol for the US Army. As first produced it had an additional screw on each side of the frame which would help when the shoulder stock was attached. Eventually it was discovered that the 4th screw could be omitted and it was. With the mobilization at the beginning of the war, the military sometimes purchased weapons on the open market. The Military entered into contracts with Colt for 1860 Armies, yet ordinance officers looked of open market opportunities to purchase weapons. In February 1862 Captain Silas Crispin was contacted with a proposal to sell 1000 Colt 1860 Armies with shoulder stocks. Capt. Crispin was authorized to purchase them. They were delivered on March 1,1862. Since these pistols were purchased on the open market, they did not pass through the Government inspection process. They do have some unique characteristics that enable them to be identified. Refer to page 318 in "The Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver" by Charles W. Pate. They include - serial number range 15,000 - 23,000; No capping groove in frame; stamped "O" above or below the serial number on barrel, frame, triggerguard and backstrap; "44 Cal" stamped on left rear triggerguard and no military inspectors marks. This lot of pistols were issued to the 11th NY Cav.
The 11th New York were assigned to the headquarters of the Army of Potomac. There they performed protection, scouting and escort duties . They were armed with sabers and these Colt 1860 Armies with shoulder stocks. They were not issued carbines until the fall of 1863. Soon some of the companies were operating in Northern Virginia. Company B was part of the force that covered the Army retreat after 2nd Manassas. In June 1863 companies B and C were ordered to Centerville VA. They ran into Confederate Cavalry outside of Fairfax Va and attacked. Turned out they were attacking the lead brigade of Gen. Stuart's Cavalry moving North. If the resulting engagement all by a handful of the two companies were casualties with the majority being captured.
This example is a dark grey patina. The numbers march on the barrel, frame, cylinder, trigger guard and backstrap. The wedge does not match. It has some areas of pitting. The barrel address is clear. The cylinder has a clear Colts Patent and serial number. There is 20-30% of the scene remaining. The waves and some details of the ships are present. The action is good. The wood grips show evidence of wear or sanding. These pistols saw several years of service.