Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3134: Belgium Percussion Rifle 58 percussion

Auction Date: September 11, 2015

Historic Civil War P.J. Malherbe & Company "Saxon" Percussion Rifle with Bayonet and Powder Flask Attributed to Charles T. Douglas of the 52nd Illinois Volunteers

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $1,400 - $2,250

Historic Civil War P.J. Malherbe & Company "Saxon" Percussion Rifle with Bayonet and Powder Flask Attributed to Charles T. Douglas of the 52nd Illinois Volunteers

Manufacturer: Belgium
Model: Percussion Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 58 percussion
Barrel: 40 3/8 inch round
Finish: bright
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 3670
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 55
Class: Antique
Description:

This rifle is marked "P.J. MALHERBE&CIE/A LIEGE" on the lock plate. The company was registered with the Liege proofhouse 1836-1869. There are also Liege proofmarks throughout along with "667" on the left barrel flat and small "67" marks on the various components. It has a triangular blade front sight and notch rear sight with two folding leaves. It has a walnut stock with dual front and mid bands and sling swivels on the center band and bottom of the butt. The left side of the butt has a cheekpiece with "USED AT THE BATTLE OF/SHILOH TENN. 1862 BY/CHAS. T. DOUGLAS/CO. H. 52D ILLS. VOLS./WAS WOUNDED BY THREE OUNCE BALLS". Corporal Charles T. Douglas of Aurora, Illinois, is listed on the roster of the 52nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry in Company H. He was discharged on July 19, 1863. Of the 500 men of the 52nd that marched into battle at Shiloh, 170 men were killed, wounded, or missing by the end and another 70 were killed or wounded in the Battle of Corinth that followed. In a contemporary newspaper account, their leader said that the men seemed unphased by bullet wounds and fought hard. Between 20,000 and 30,000 thousand Malherbe Model 1851 and 1857 "Saxon" or "Dresden" rifles were imported for the war. One Illinois colonel reportedly said: "These Belgian muskets will kick like a mule, and burst with the greatest facility. Several soldiers in our Illinois regiments have been killed in this way." He also complained that the bayonets were too soft and would "coil round the enemy, thus taking him prisoner." The Ordnance Department considered them first rate weapons. Included with the gun is an original socket bayonet that is also marked with "67" and an 1847 dated Batty "peace" pattern brass powder flask with leather strap (#861-862 in THE POWDER FLASK BOOK).

Rating Definition:

Very good. The metal surfaces have a golden brown patina overall with some patches of light pitting and oxidation. The lightly varnished, preserved stock is very good with only minor scrapes and a few small gouges. The action is fine, and the markings, including those on the stock, are clear. The front barrel band spring and the hammer screw are absent. The bayonet is fine with an overall mottled brown patina and oxidation. The flask is also fine with a dark aged patina.



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