Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3331: Gen. Strong's Sharps Model 1874 Creedmoor No. 1 Rifle

Auction Date: December 5, 2021

Historic Documented, Individual Shipped Sharps Model 1874 Creedmoor No. 1 Rifle Owned by Union Civil War Veteran and Western Frontier Explorer General W.E. Strong

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $14,000 - $25,000

Historic Documented, Individual Shipped Sharps Model 1874 Creedmoor No. 1 Rifle Owned by Union Civil War Veteran and Western Frontier Explorer General W.E. Strong

Manufacturer: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Model: 1874-Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44-90
Barrel: 34 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 598
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 180
Class: Antique

This rifle is one of just 134 Model 1874 Creedmoor No. 1 rifles; all were manufactured between March of 1874 and December of 1875. The accompanying serial number confirmation letter (copy) from Dr. E.L. Moore, Jr. states that factory records indicate that this rifle was shipped on October 21, 1875 to General W.E. Strong of Chicago, Illinois, as a Model 1874 Creedmoor No. 1 Rifle with spirit level. At the dawning of the Civil War, future Union Brevet Brigadier General William Emerson Strong was a lawyer in Wisconsin. Commissioned as a captain, he helped raise an infantry company with the 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry and fought in the First Bull Run Campaign. He was transferred to the 12th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry where he remained for one year until being assigned as Inspector General on the staff of Brigadier General Thomas J. McKean, who commanded the XI Division of the Army of Tennessee, and was later assigned as assistant inspector general on the staff of Army of the Tennessee commander Major General James B. McPherson. At the siege at Vicksburg, Gen. Strong was detailed to raise the United States flag over the courthouse after the Confederate stronghold fell to Union forces. After the war Gen. Strong participated in occupation duty until he was honorably mustered out in September 1866, serving the last year of his military career as acting inspector general for the Freedman's Bureau. From 1873 until the time of his death in 1891, Gen. Strong was the president of a lumber company. He authored "A Trip to Yellowstone National Park in July, August, and September, 1875," first published in 1876. A copy of this book is included. The 1875 trip to Yellowstone was one of many expeditions which Gen. Strong accompanied General Philip Sheridan to the American West, and Gen. Strong's retelling of their thrilling escapades clearly depicts a man enthralled with the western frontier. "All of the color and life of the early West is provided in this account," read the dust jacket. The tapered octagon barrel has a windgauge front sight with spirit level and is marked with the one-line Hartford address. Just ahead of the barrel address is a flat arrowhead shaped piece of metal mounted to the barrel with two screws that serves as a base for an antique ivory post rear sight. The Vernier tang sight with 4 1/2 inch staff is numbered to the gun and is graduated to 600 yards. The second "5" to the serial number on the upper tang is obliterated by the sight mount. The left side of the receiver has the two-line Sharps patent marking, and the underside of the frame is stamped with the number "597". The front face of the trigger is checkered. The steel shotgun buttplate has coarse checkering. The forearm and pistol grip stock are highly figured select walnut and are checkered. Provenance: The Milan J. Turk Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine. The barrel retains 80% plus original blue finish with thinning to brown on the balance. The receiver and breech block retain 55% original case colors turning to silver. Traces of original case colors remain on the hammer and lock in the protected areas. The wood is very fine with minor handling marks, crisp checkering and most of the original varnish remaining. Mechanically excellent. An extremely rare, extremely fine Sharps with the added bonus of being shipped to a Union General and Western frontier explorer: General W.E. Strong.

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