Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3108: Augusta Machine Works 1851 Navy Revolver 36 percussion

Auction Date: April 21, 2013

Extremely Rare Documented Confederate Civil War Augusta Machine Works Percussion Twelve Stop Style Revolver Attributed to a Surgeon in The First Florida Infantry

Estimated Price: $60,000 - $80,000

Extremely Rare Documented Confederate Civil War Augusta Machine Works Percussion Twelve Stop Style Revolver Attributed to a Surgeon in The First Florida Infantry

Manufacturer: Augusta Machine Works
Model: 1851 Navy
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 36 percussion
Barrel: 7 5/8 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 2911
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 60
Class: Antique

Known as the Revolver of Colt Model 1851 Navy type, these rare Confederate revolvers were manufactured circa 1861 to 1864 with a total production of only about 100 and only a few are known today. These revolvers were very well made and (like most Confederate revolvers) are almost identical in appearance to the Colt Model 1851 Navy revolvers. Among the revolvers made in the Confederacy, the ones said to have been made by the Augusta Machine Works is somewhat mysterious. They are not marked with a markers name and some question if the gun was made by the factory or if any revolver were even manufactured by Augusta Machine. The Confederate Government did own a factory in Augusta, Georgia which was known as the Augusta Machine Works, but what military weapons were manufactured has never really been established. These revolvers were marked with either a number or letter for assembly markings with this revolver being marked with the assembly number 1 in nine separate locations, twice in the grip channels, (on the back and bottom), the left side of each grip strap, the right side of the hammer, wedge, loading lever, back of the barrel lug and on the front cylinder face. The revolver has a full octagon barrel, brass trigger guard and back strap, and a Colt Navy type loading lever catch. There were two variations of cylinders, one with six stops and the other (approximately half) 12 stops. This revolver has the 12 stops and correctly made without safety pins between the nipples. The revolver is equipped with a dovetailed brass blade front sight. A period installed dovetailed notch rear sight mounted on the breech end of the barrel and the standard hammer notch rear sight. The hammer is smooth and has a unique design with a shorter spur that goes almost straight up and down when in the decocked position Fitted with smooth one piece walnut grips with the unique "pinch" at the frame juncture. This particular revolver is attributed to Dr. Hugh Berkeley who was with the First Florida during the Civil War. There is an affidavit and multiple pages of information from the descendent of Dr. Hugh Berkeley which states he saw service in the First Florida Infantry for most of the war. The First Florida was organized in July of 1861 at Tallahassee and left for the Western theater in 1862. The First fought long and hard throughout the war and was in every major conflict in which the Confederate Army of Tennessee was engaged in. The First was constantly being consolidated with other Florida regiments. The 3rd Florida Infantry was first, then the 4th Infantry, and in 1864 the 6th and 7th Infantry Regiments resulting in a unit known as the First Florida Consolidated Infantry. The Regiment was involved in the Siege of Knoxville, the Kentucky Campaign, the Battle of Chckamauga and Chattanooga, Atlants Campaign, Hood's Tennessee Campaign the Carlinas Campaign before surrendering in North Carolina in April of 1865. Dr. Berkeley resigned in mid-1864 after being involved in actions at Perryville, Murphreesboro, Chattanooga and other Tennessee battles. Dr. Berkeley was ruined financially by the Civil War and moved his family to Missouri, where he practiced medicine until his death in 1884. He was buried in DeSoto, Missouri. Accompanying this lot is a small fold-up surgeon's kit containing 43 glass vials, some containing a powder substance, which he probably used after the Civil War while practicing medicine.

Rating Definition:

Very fine. The revolver has a dark patina on all the metal surfaces with some scattered minor oxidation. The brass has a natural dark untouched aged patina. The grip is also very fine retaining almost all of the original varnish and showing several small dings on the bottom, some lower edge wear and scattered minor dents and handling marks. The action is fine. Considering the hard service Confederate weapons saw, this revolver is a very fine example of an extremely rare Augusta Machine Works 12 stop Confederate revolver. A very nice addition to any Civil War collection. The medical case is very good with some scuffs and edge wear.

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