This revolver was manufactured in 1861 and has the standard markings and features, including matching serial numbers. The butt is inscribed "M. Smith/45th Regt. Ill. Vol." A binder of information on Captain Melancthon Smith (1829-1863) of Company G, later the unit's lieutenant colonel, is included. Smith was an attorney and postmaster in Rockford, Illinois, prior to the Civil War and married the daughter of an abolitionist. She was the acting deputy postmaster at the beginning of the Civil War and took over when he helped raise the Rockford Rifles at the beginning of the war and was elected their captain. They became Company G of the 45th Illinois Infantry (Washburn Lead Mine Regiment). He was promoted to major in October of 1861 and then to lieutenant colonel in November 1862. He was shot in the head during the Siege of Vicksburg as the head of the "forlorn hope" in an attack but survived for three days. His wife was soon after appointed as Postmaster of Rockford by Abraham Lincoln, the first "postmistress" in American history alongside another widow appointed by the president the same day. When Vicksburg fell, the 45th Illinois was given the honor of being the first to march into the city and had its regimental flag raised over the courthouse.
Very good with crisp inscription and attractive aged patina on the grip frame, mostly silver-gray patina on the iron overall, some minor pitting, crisp markings, and generally mild overall wear. The grip is also very good and has some dings and scratches, mild edge wear, several hammering dents on the butt, and mild handling wear. Mechanically excellent.
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