OD - VERY GOOD- all original parts; none to 30% original finish; original metal surfaces smooth with all edges sharp; clear lettering, numerals and design on metal; wood slightly scratched or bruised.
WW - WOOD IS WORSE FOR THE PERCENT FINISH RATING GIVEN
This revolver was manufactured in 1856 under contract with the U.S. Ordnance Department and has the "U.S." marking under the "COLTS/PATENT" marking on the frame, small inspection markings, and faint inspector cartouches on the grip. All of the serial numbers match with the exception from the wedge (numbered "0245"). The back strap has a post-Civil War inscription reading: "To Lt. A.J. Ashley/Co. E 51st N.C. Reg" and "July 19, 1863." (It was not uncommon for presentations to occur after the Civil War to commemorate an event or an individual's service.) The date is one day after the Second Battle of Fort Wagner. The battle and the brave but ill-fated assault by African-American soldiers led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was famously depicted in the film "Glory." The 51st North Carolina Regiment was a key part of the Confederate defense of "Battery Wagner" as it was known to the Southern forces and poured deadly fire into the men of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry. After pushing Shaw's men back, the 51st turned their fire on the 6th Connecticut Infantry. Andrew Jackson Ashley mustered in to Company E of the 51st North Carolina Regiment, known as the "Clay Valley Rangers", as a third lieutenant and was a captain when he was mortally wounded on 29-30 September 1864 at Fort Harrison during the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, part of the Petersburg Campaign. The revolver may have been in use by Union forces and then captured during the war by Confederate soldiers and re-issued or may have been among the arms in arsenals seized by the Confederacy during the secession crisis before the outbreak of the war. Per the consignor, this revolver was given to Lt. A.J. Ashley by his men after the second Battle of Fort Wagner. Copies of documents and secondary sources relating to Ashley and the 51st Infantry are included.
Very good with areas of bright original blue finish on the underside of the barrel around the wedge and screw on the left side and otherwise silver-gray patina, crisp markings, aged patina on the brass, and mild overall wear. The re-oiled grip is also fine and has mild handling wear, some small chips on the lower edges, faint cartouches, and some hammering marks on the butt. Mechanically fine. This is definitely an interesting pre-Civil War U.S. contract Colt '51 Navy with an inscription for a soldier mortally wounded fighting for the Confederacy.
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