Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1112: Civil War Colt 1849 Revolver Inscribed to George B. Herrick

Auction Date: August 27, 2022

Civil War Colt Model 1849 Pocket Percussion Revolver Inscribed to George B. Herrick of the New York Infantry

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $3,000 - $4,500

Civil War Colt Model 1849 Pocket Percussion Revolver Inscribed to George B. Herrick of the New York Infantry

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1849
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 31
Barrel: 6 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 654
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 87
Class: Antique

This Colt Model 1849 Pocket revolver was manufactured in 1862 and inscribed in fancy script "Geo. B. Herrick from Hose Co. No 6." on the back strap and "Sept 13th, 1862." on the butt. Included scanned copies of soldier history from the Civil War database list a George B. Herrick (May 28, 1834-September 24, 1920), the individual inscribed on this revolver. He originally enlisted on August 25th, 1862 in Rochester, New York as a Private at the age of 28. On September 11th, 1862, only two days prior to the date of the inscription on this revolver and six days prior to the Battle of Antietam, he was mustered into Company D of the 33rd New York Infantry. On October 1st, 1863 he would transfer to Company I of the 49th New York Infantry, and on September 17th, 1862 transferred to Company D of the 49th. Both of the aforementioned regiments fought in the Army of the Potomac's Sixth Corps. In an online article, from, titled "The Key to Richmond" written by Edward Alexander about George B. Herrick, the article states, "Throughout his life he served as an editor and correspondent at ten different papers across New York. Herrick also assisted with the local fire departments at these various stops in his career." This would explain the Hose Co. No. 6 inscription on this revolver; it was a gift from the firehouse to Herrick upon being mustered into military service, indicating his help must have been well appreciated. Herrick would serve as a correspondent for the "Rochester Union & Advertiser" while at the front during the Civil War, without his name attached to his published work of the time. During Herrick's time with the 33rd and 49th New York Infantry regiments, he would have been involved in some of the most important battles of the Civil War and is known for being the individual who, on April 3rd, 1865 the day after his participation in the decisive Petersburg Breakthrough, found and seized the key to the South Side Railroad depot, which a later 1911 dated local New York newspaper states below a picture of the key, "it is generally conceded that the key now in the comrade's possession is the veritable key to Richmond." (the current whereabouts of the key are unknown to this writer). For an unrelated incident, likely something Herrick did to impress his commanders during the final campaign, he would receive a leapfrog promotion to first lieutenant and adjutant upon being mustered out after the end of the war on May 1st, 1865. The top barrel flat is stamped with the one-line New York address, and "COLTS/PATENT" on the left of the frame. The cylinder has the stagecoach hold up scene. Matching full or partial serial numbers located on the bottom of the barrel lug, frame, trigger guard, butt, cylinder, loading lever, and arbor pin. Modern replacement wedge. Includes a book titled, "Camps and Campaigns of the 107th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry 1862-1865" by Jacob Smith.

Rating Definition:

Fine, retains 50% plus original bright blue finish strongest on the cylinder, 40% plus original case colors with smooth gray patina on the balance, and 30% plus original silver finish concentrated around the trigger guard with a bright golden patina on the balance of the brass. Crisp markings, inscription and cylinder scene. Modern replacement wedge as mentioned above. Grip is also fine with defined edges, some light handling marks, a small chipped/absent section on the bottom front corner of the right panel, and some light crazing along the bottom edges. Mechanically excellent. This Colt Pocket revolver inscribed to an honorable Civil War soldier would make a fine addition to any Civil War collection!

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