The Gatling Battery Gun is one of the most well-known and powerful 19th century firearms. First used during the American Civil War, they were used around the globe in the last quarter of the 19th century before they were supplanted by true "machine guns." Colt's Patented Firearms Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut produced all of the Gatling guns for the domestic U.S. market in 1866-1903. Despite that relatively long production period, only around 1,300 or fewer Gatling guns were manufactured by Colt across multiple models. They remained in use until 1911 and saw use in the Indian Wars and were aimed at strikers and protesters in Eastern cities. This particular Gatling Gun is significant as the last Model 1874 purchased for the U.S. Army. The Model 1874 was an improvement over the earlier Gatling guns and was chambered for the standard .45-70 Government cartridges also used with the Springfield Trapdoors. The U.S. government purchased fifty-six of the shorter Model 1874 "Camel Guns" (serial numbers 1-56 ) with 18 inch barrels and just eight of the longer "Musket Length" Model 1874 Gatlings (serial numbers 57-64 and number 105, this very piece) with 32 inch barrels for use by the U.S. Army (see "Artillery Circular" from 1895 and "The Gatling Gun" by Wahl and Toppel). It has the folding front sight only found on the Model 1874s on the right side and a corresponding offset rear sight. The serial number is marked on top at the circular rotating barrel breech, and the barrels are also marked 1-10 respectively, and the right side at the modern made replacement hinge is re-marked "45 CAL. GOV." The top of the action at the rear has the classic Gatling gun plaque reading: "GATLING'S/BATTERY/GUN/PAT. NOV 4, 1862/MAY 9, 1865/FEB 28, 1871/APR. 9, 1872/MADE BY COLT'S/PT. FIRE ARMS/MFG CO/HARTFORD, CONN./U.S.A." The carriage has a modern made replacement brass gunner's seat and is otherwise built from painted wood.
Good with dark brown patina and mild oxidation along the barrels and other steel components, deep aged patina on the brass, some mild dings and scratches throughout, chipped and cracked period crudely made replacement wooden crank handle, and moderate overall wear on the carriage such as some cracks and chips in the wood. The bolt plug, clip hinge, seat, and elevation screw base are all modern replacements. Mechanically fine. This is an incredibly rare piece: only eight of these were purchased for the U.S. Army, and this is the last Model 1874 Gatling for the Army.
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