Lot #89
Lot #91

Lot 90: Robert Toombs Lefaucheux Model 1854 Pinfire Revolver

Historic Documented Cased Lefaucheux Model 1854 Single Action Pinfire Revolver with Ammunition from the Family of Civil War Confederate Secretary of State and Brigadier General Robert Toombs and the Robert Toombs House Historic Site

Auction Date: August 26, 2022

Lot 90: Robert Toombs Lefaucheux Model 1854 Pinfire Revolver

Historic Documented Cased Lefaucheux Model 1854 Single Action Pinfire Revolver with Ammunition from the Family of Civil War Confederate Secretary of State and Brigadier General Robert Toombs and the Robert Toombs House Historic Site

Auction Date: August 26, 2022

Estimated Price: $25,000 - $50,000

Historic Documented Cased Lefaucheux Model 1854 Single Action Pinfire Revolver with Ammunition from the Family of Civil War Confederate Secretary of State and Brigadier General Robert Toombs and the Robert Toombs House Historic Site

Manufacturer: Lefauchaux Casimer & Eugene
Model: Pinfire
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 11
Barrel: 6 3/8 inch part octagon
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Stock:
Item Views: 700
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 113
Class: Antique
Description:

This historic Civil War era pinfire revolver is accompanied by a notarized letter from Harry Franklin Lowman III stating: "I am a direct descendant of Senator Robert Toombs documented by the 'Robert Toombs Historical Society' located in Washington, GA." He indicates that his great grandmother Julia was the daughter of Sallie Dubose, daughter of Robert Toombs, and that many of Toombs's firearms, paintings, and other items where passed down to his mother Harriette Gordon Lowman and then on to him. Lowman writes, "Toombs is credited with giving the speech as a U.S. Senator from GA aligning Georgia with South Carolina lighting the spark that began the war." He further notes that "Robert Toombs was the first CSA Secretary of State, successful lawyer, U.S. Senator, Planter, owner of 200,000 acres in Texas, and CSA Brigadier General. He commanded the Georgia Long Rifles and defended the bridge at Antietam. He was commended by Robert E. Lee, but being wounded, left the battlefield and retired back to Washington, GA. He later fled the country when a contingent of Union troops arrived to arrest him. He returned later and was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson." The revolver is also accompanied by an incoming loan agreement from the Robert Toombs House Historic Site in Washington, GA, listing the revolver by serial number and noting the accessories. The document lists a loan period of 11/23/12 to 11/23/15 and indicates that it was renewing an existing loan. Another document shows a return of the set from the historic site on March 11, 2022. Other items from Lowman's family remain on loan to the museum, and his grandfather "was the Chairman that hosted Robert E. Lee's '100th Anniversary' in Washington D.C. It was widely attended, included the Marine Corps band, with a letter reading that had been dictated by President Roosevelt." Robert Augustus Toombs (1810-1885) was one of the preeminent figures in Georgia in the 19th century. He came from a wealthy and very politically active slave-holding family in Georgia and studied law in the 1820s, and then worked as a circuit lawyer in Georgia in the 1830s, and then turned to state politics. He became a congressman for Georgia in 1845 and then a senator in 1853. He was pro-Union initially and also outspokenly pro-slavery, and owned 48 slaves on the eve of the Civil War. However, after Lincoln's election victory, Toombs supported secession. His speech to the Georgia General Assembly, placed the blame firmly on northern "aggression" and "oppression," including the limitation of the expansion of slavery into the western territories, stating, "they have told us for twenty years that their object was to pen up slavery within its present limits - surround it with a border of free States, and like the scorpion surrounded with fire, they will make it sting itself to death." He gave a farewell address to the U.S. Senate stating, "We want no negro equality, no negro citizenship; we want no negro race to degrade our own; and as one man [we] would meet you upon the border with the sword in one hand and the torch in the other" and resigned from the U.S. Senate and became one of Georgia's leading secessionists. His drinking habits prevented him from being selected to lead the Confederacy, but he was the first Confederate secretary of state and advised against the attack on Fort Sumter, calling the action suicidal and wrong. He soon resigned and served as a brigadier general, and was wounded at the bloody Battle of Antietam where he was in command of the defense of Burnside's Bridge. He resigned and returned home to Georgia where he served as colonel of the 3rd Cavalry of the Georgia Militia, and then as brigadier general, adjutant, and inspector-general in the Georgia Militia. On April 16, 1865, in his hometown of Columbus, Georgia, he participated in one of the final battles of the war and commanded the defense of the upper bridge, withholding his fire as both Union and Confederate troops raced across the bridge. As the war drew to a close, Toombs escaped to Cuba and then to France to avoid arrest, and then returned home to Columbus in 1867 to resume his legal career. The New Georgia Encyclopedia states that he was "an 'unreconstructed' southerner" and refused a pardon from Congress, never regaining his citizenship. Despite this, he was one of the dominant figures in the writing of the 1877 Georgia Constitution which included provisions for a poll tax and segregated schools. The revolver has a bead style front sight on a high triangular base, "INVON E. LEFAUCHEUX BRTE PARIS" marked on top of the barrel, the broken open revolver and "LF" trademark on the right side of the frame followed by the serial number, varnished walnut grips, and a lanyard ring on the butt. It comes in a fitted wood case with some reloading tools. A Riker case with 38 pinfire cartridges is also included. The consignor indicated this set recently came out of the Robert Toombs House Historic Site, and the revolver was carried by Toombs in the 19th century. The Model 1854 was invented by Eugene Lefaucheux, adopted by the French military, and was imported and used by both the Confederacy and Union during the Civil War. More than half of the approximately 12,000 Lefaucheux revolvers imported during the "War Between the States" were shipped back to France for the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. This one may have been taken by Toombs with him to Paris prior to that war or left behind with his family in Georgia when he fled.

Rating Definition:

Fine with 30% plus original blue and 50% casehardened finish remaining, concentrated primarily on the cylinder, and a mix of gray and brown patina on the balance, some spots of minor oxidation, and generally mild overall wear. The grips are very fine and have gloss finish, and a few minor handling and storage type marks. Mechanically fine. The case is fair with a broken lid and moderate storage wear. The accessories are good. The ammunition is mostly very good and has mild patina, a few partially dislodged bullets, and aged patina. Overall, a historic cased revolver passed down through the family of one of the Confederacy and South's leading figures in the 19th century.



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