This incredibly historic Beaumont-Adams revolver comes with complete, detailed and documented provenance from the moment it came into the possession of Hines until its consignment in this auction through official military records O.R.’s, published accounts, newspaper articles, family letters and full, chain-of-ownership. Many of the combined details are virtually unknown to even the most avid Civil War Historians and the Antique Arms Fraternity. After exhaustive research performed by renowned historian and managing editor of "North South Trader Civil War Magazine" Nancy Dearing Rossbacher, in tandem with additional research performed by celebrated historical artifact dealer/collector Michael Simens, Rock Island Auction is proud to tell the story, a compilation of the official end to the American Civil War and expose the credit for the surrender/capture of Davis where it rightfully belongs in the annals of history. The Davis revolver, serial number 40568, has been documented by the Hines family since its surrender to Michigan 4th Cavalry Trooper John Hines (1843-1865) during the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis on May 10, 1865, in Irwinsville, Georgia, and as recovered from Hines’ body by his brother Edwin after John was killed in a friendly-fire incident mere minutes after Davis presented it to him in Davis’s personal tent. The primary provenance documentation comes directly from the family in the form of affidavits and a bill of sale (2018) from Linda Lee Hines Inman, the great granddaughter of John Hines' brother Edwin Hines (1840-1905), (contained in our provenance folder). She documents that her grandmother, Harriet Crosthwaite Hines, showed it to her when she was young and told her she would inherit it and to take good care of it since it had belonged to Jefferson Davis and had been on the body of John Hines, her grandfather's uncle, when he was killed during the capture of Davis and was brought back to Michigan by her great grandfather (Edwin Hines) when he returned home from the war. Her bill-of-sale to a private entity lists the revolver as "An Antique Adams Revolver, serial number 40568, surrendered by Jefferson Davis, President of the C.S.A. to Corporal John Hines of the 4th Michigan Cavalry during his capture at or near Irwinville, Georgia, May 10, 1865." The same story is related in another affidavit from LaVerne Hines, Jr., a grandson of Edwin Hines and son of LaVerne Hines, Sr. The latter inherited the revolver from Edwin Hines, and his son indicates he kept it wrapped up in a closet. Original letters retained by the family written and postmarked to include their cancel dated envelopes in 1911-1912 contain inquiries about the “Davis Revolver” and obvious interest to acquire and/or sell it (presumably) to the history museum in Lansing, are also included with the family provenance, attesting to its care and retention. John and Edwin Hines both served in Company E of the 4th Michigan Cavalry, the regiment famous for capturing Confederate President Jefferson Davis. John Hines is well-documented as present at Davis's capture and as killed by friendly fire in U.S. Official Military Records and eyewitness accounts. Edwin Hines was also a member of the 4th. Both men are listed in various official sources on the unit including "Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, Vol. 34" published by the State of Michigan. Both brothers are listed as from Manchester, Michigan, and as enlisting in Company E on July 23, 1862 for three years and as mustered on August 28, 1862, with the regiment in Detroit. Edwin is listed as enlisting as a sergeant and as promoted to first sergeant on Sept. 13, 1864, and as mustered out at Nashville, Tennessee, on July 1, 1865. John is listed as promoted to corporal on Sept. 13, 1864, and as killed in action at Irwinsville, Georgia, during the capture of Jefferson Davis on May 10, 1865. He was buried in the Andersonville National Cemetery in Georgia after originally being interned at Abbeyville. A commemorative marker is placed at the sight of Davis's final camp noting the death of John Hines and John Rupert on May 10, 1865, from shots fired by the Wisconsin cavalry during the capture of the Confederate president. Rossbacher’s research provides several incredible primary accounts of the Jefferson Davis revolver, No. 40568 including a newspaper article in the Detroit Free Press less than a month after its surrender stating, “Major Hudson brought with him Jeff Davis’ pistol, now on exhibition at Mr. S. Smiths. It is an elegant silver plated instrument, costing about $45. The case contains the initials J. D. together with the letter of the admiring donor, a gift from a friend, the maker of the pistol in London, altogether forming a delicate morsel and most significant exhibition of British 'Neutrality.'” This description certainly matches the engraved, silver-plated and British-made Adams Revolver from the Hines family. Location of the case and letter have been lost to time. A second newspaper article in The Michigan Argus, February 1875 describes Edwin Hines as still owning “a silver mounted revolver, taken by him, from Jefferson Davis at the time of his capture. The revolver is a self-cocker and originally cost $100.” It further states Hines had been offered $1000 for the property. Again, a silver-plated and now the more descriptive “self-cocking” revolver matches the Hines family gun, the Adams being a double-action. A third article from The Alma Record on Friday, June 25, 1886 reported that “One of the revolvers upon the person of Jeff Davis, when he was captured, is in the possession of Edwin Hines, a Grass Lakes soldier.” An included eye-witness account as related by William Linsley (also of the 4th Michigan) was submitted to, and published by the “Then and Now Historical Society” in Dorr, Michigan by Mrs. Ann VandenBerg, a direct descendant of Private Linsley, and provides the most compelling affirmation of the Hines story with great accuracy: “We were in the pine woods. We charged about 20 rods and came right into camp. John Hines and Charlie Tyler and myself went into a tent and no one was up in this tent there was one man and two women. The old man rose up to see what was going on. 'I surrender' he said and reached down in the bed and got a revolver and handed it to John Hines. We did not know who they were and some of the boys knew who they were after and this proved to be Jefferson Davis and the women proved to be his wife and sister. We did not know it at the time we went out of the tent. Just as we got into the road bang, bang went the guns about 40 rods up the road and they kept a going all excited. Prichard ordered us to fall in. We did and went up the road... Then we formed in line and then we went into the fight. I fell in behind a pine tree. I had fired two shots and was putting a load in my gun when they hollered cease firing. You are firing on your own men. We had two killed and three wounded. They proved to be the 1st Wisconsin and the 1st Ohio. They had seven wounded and then we went back to camp... Some of the boys was getting a barrel out of a wagon. They called for me to help and it proved to be a barrel of whiskey. We soon made a hole in it and I was filling my canteen when Frank Carpenter came rushing out. 'Say Bill, we have got old Jeff' and I spoke up, 'Hell we have' and said, 'Where is he?' Right where the crowd is. I rushed up, there he was. The same old man that was in the tent with the women... Just at this time someone touched me on the shoulder. I turned around to see who it was and it was Charlie Tyler. 'Bill, John Hines has been killed.' I spoke up and said, 'My God, is that so. Where is he?' 'He was over where we formed in line a fighting. He was shot in the mouth, come right out the back of his head.' Captain Hudson just rode up and he says take out what things he has in his pockets. We took out Jeff Davis revolver, the one Jeff gave him when he surrendered and his pocket book and some other trinkets. We spread his blanket over him saying we would come back and get him... I do not know what took place in our camp after we went away only what they tell. But some of them said that when we was fighting with the 1st Wisconsin that Jeff tried to get away. Prichard had put a guard around the camp. Mrs. Davis stepped out of the tent asked if they would allow her mother to go down to the brook and get a pail of water. The brook was about 4 rods from the tent and the guard said yes. As he (Jeff) walked out he had on a riding dress and shawl over his head, he looked like an old woman. As he walked along his spurs picked up his dress behind him and showed his boots and the guard stopped him and made him back to the tent”. A copy of the Linsley story is included with the provenance folder. A report by Adjutant Julian G. Dickinson relayed a similar story but included that "a man dressed in woman's clothing" was captured while trying to sneak away with his wife and a female servant and was revealed to be Davis. Secretary of War Stanton and others reported Davis was trying to escape in his wife's clothes. The story was heavily embellished in the press, with some going so far as to suggest Davis was actually wearing a woman's bonnet and a full hoop dress. With the discovery of this revolver, it appears that Robert Adams took a few pages out of Samuel Colt’s playbook of marketing techniques. The Davis Revolver #40568 is 4 serial numbers away from an almost identically embellished revolver (blued rather than silver plated) presented to Stonewall Jackson from Robert Adams, #40572, cased with accessories that has been housed in The American Civil War Museum in Virginia and placed there by Jackson’s wife over a century ago. Additionally, a third Confederate presentation is reported to have been presented to General Robert E. Lee, evidenced by his known “thank you” acknowledgment delivered to Adams through CSA Agent Caleb Huse in early 1864. Although persuasive gifts were commonplace for Colt, it is now certain that Adams took the same route although on a much smaller scale. A most interesting fact of note is that Robert Adams also presented at least one revolver to a major Union figure, none other than Commanding General of The United States Army, George B. McClellan. Photos of this recently discovered casing showing its inscribed brass lid-ring (identical to the Jackson inscription) and lid interior (also identical and embellished with gold leaf) is contained within the provenance folder. It is therefore unquestionable that Adams presented such revolvers to key military and/or political figures, both North and South, and with the three that can be accounted to major Confederate players, plus the McClellan gun, there’s little doubt that a few other high ranking Union figures also received such gifts, possibly to include United States President Abraham Lincoln with all likely in the same serial range. The revolver is signed "ROBERT ADAMS. No. 76 KING-WILLIAM STREET. LONDON" along the top strap and breech end of the barrel. Robert Adams was located at that address from 1858 to 1865 per Blackmore's "Gunmakers of London." Robert Adams patented the first successful double action revolver in 1851. The revolver features fine English engraving including a braided border design at the muzzle and front of the cylinder as well as the edges of the trigger guard, floral designs on and around some of the screws, and primarily classic scroll engraving and lined borders. The frame is marked "ADAMS PATENT, No. 40568" on the right side, and the number is repeated on the cylinder. The loading lever and face of the cylinder are numbered with the assembly number "727." The revolver has Birmingham proofs, a dovetailed blade front sight, fixed notch rear sight, silver plated finish, and checkered walnut grip. Davis’s well-known engraved, cut-for-stock Colt 1851 Navy Revolver presented to him by the workmen of Col. Colt’s Armory immediately following his service as U. S. Secretary of War was also found during his capture. It was later given to the The Museum of the Confederacy in 1949 by the son of Col. Robert Minty also of the 4th Michigan. Its matching presentation engraved Colt Navy shoulder stock was auctioned by RIA in 2016. Davis’s choice of the Adams revolver for his personal protection while in his tent is telling of his familiarity with deadly arms. He was quite aware that the .45 caliber Adams had far superior stopping power vs. the 36 caliber Colt, and, in close quarters, he could empty the Adams into any assailants in a third of the time it took to empty the Colt, producing the desired effect of personal protection in a very short period of time. Having both guns at his disposal, he obviously preferred the Adams to protect himself and his family. Davis led quite a life prior to the formation of the Confederacy, much of it serving in many capacities in the United States Government. He was born in Fairview, Kentucky, grew up on a plantation in Mississippi spending most of his childhood away at boarding schools and eventually received an appointment to West Point, graduating in 1828. He served briefly in the Black Hawk War in 1832 and while stationed under Colonel Zachary Taylor (future President of the United States) the following year, he met the colonel’s daughter, Sarah. Jefferson Davis married her in 1835. Sadly, the couple both came down with severe cases of malaria only three months after their wedding, and Sarah quickly succumbed to the illness with Davis suffering from effects of the illness for the rest of his life. In 1845, Mississippi sent Davis to the U.S. House of Representatives. He resigned in June 1846 to fight in the Mexican War where he led his troop (The Mississippi Rifles) valiantly at the battles of Monterrey and Buena Vista and became a national hero. He was offered a promotion to brigadier general in 1847 but refused it when appointed by the Governor of Mississippi to fill a Senate vacancy. In 1853, President Franklin Pierce appointed Davis U.S. Secretary of War, and he served with great distinction and was recognized as one of the most capable administrators to hold the office. During his tenure, Davis enlarged the army, strengthened coastal defenses, and directed numerous surveys for railroads to the Pacific. He also advocated for what became the Gadsden Purchase. He ended the manufacture of smoothbore muskets, shifted production to more accurate rifles and worked to develop the tactics that go with them. He oversaw the building of public works in Washington, D.C., including numerous federal buildings and the Washington Aqueduct, and was on the board of the newly created Smithsonian Institution, which he saw as a national center of learning for all citizens. Perhaps one of Davis’s most lasting and unknown legacies may be as the visionary advocate to expand the United States Capitol from a small, cramped, statehouse-like building into a majestic seat of government. When the Secretary of the Interior asked Davis to send him a U.S. Army engineer to lead the construction, Davis induced Pierce to transfer the Capitol project from Interior to his own department, and then named U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Capt. Montgomery C. Meigs as engineer-in-charge. For the next four years, Davis fought all challenges and kept the money flowing towards the project. Davis, Meigs, and architect Thomas U. Walter planned a newly expanded building that would have to last a millennium and hired Italian immigrant Constantino Brumidi to paint frescoes for the ceilings and walls and to decorate the rooms in an ornate style. When congressional skeptics complained that the interior design was too opulent for a republic like the United States, Davis ignored them and provided whatever funds that Meigs and Walter requested. Eventually Davis lost much of his influence over the Capitol project when Pierce left the presidency in 1857. As a result, Davis ran for Senate once more, was elected, and re-entered it on March 4, 1857. When South Carolina withdrew from the Union in December 1860, Davis still opposed secession while still being a vocal proponent of slavery. He was among those who believed that the newly elected president, Abraham Lincoln, would coerce the South and that the result would be disastrous. Davis resigned his Senate seat and left Washington on January 21, 1861. One month later, the Confederate Congress in Montgomery, Alabama, selected Davis to become the provisional President of the Confederacy. He was inaugurated for a six-year term as president on February 22. Davis’ appointment was largely political. He was a compromise candidate chosen to appease both the moderate and radical factions in the Confederate Congress. Davis, however, did not want the job. He had hoped for a military command. His first act was to send a peace commission to Washington, D.C., to prevent an armed conflict, but Lincoln refused to see his emissaries, and, the next month, the U. S. President sent armed ships to Charleston, South Carolina, to resupply the beleaguered Union garrison at Fort Sumter. Considering it Southern property, Southern politicians clamored for action, and Davis reluctantly ordered the bombardment of the fort, which marked the beginning of the American Civil War, April 12, 1861. A new president of a new country with virtually insurmountable problems now had to create a new nation in the middle of a war. With only one-fourth the white population of the Northern states, a fraction of the North’s manufacturing capabilities, inferior transportation systems to include its railroads, no navy, no gunpowder mills, no shipyards, and an enormous shortage of arms, the South was in poor condition to withstand invasion. However at 1st Bull Run on July 21, 1861, the Confederates crushed Union forces. Had Davis ordered his troops immediately into Washington, D.C., the South could have likely sued for peace, ended the war and remained independent. However, Davis’ defensive posture throughout the early stages of the war, and disbursement of troops over the vast South rather than concentrating forces in key areas to win large battles is today considered his major flaw by many military experts. In the meantime, with makeshift materials, Davis created factories that produced cannons, gunpowder, stands of arms and quartermaster stores. He restored naval yards for the construction of gunboats and had the South’s inadequate railroads and equipment patched up repeatedly. Davis sent agents to Europe to buy arms and ammunition to also include representatives to secure recognition from England and France. Even with deteriorating political tensions, poor military conditions and spiraling inflation, he carried on his war for independence. The amount of mental and physical pressure on him must have been massively intense. As they say, “The rest is history”. On December 2, 1863, five months after Gettysburg, Goddess Freedom was mounted atop the Capitol Dome, and at the end of 1865, Brumidi finished the Apotheosis of Washington, his fresco on the ceiling of the Rotunda. By then, Davis was in a military prison. He was freed after two years, tried a few business ventures with little success, and finished his days revered in the South for his dignity and vilified in the North for his refusal to disavow his cause. The U.S. Capitol, as we know it today, would never have existed without Jefferson Davis. Davis never returned to Washington, and never saw the completed Capitol Building. His career, and the Confederacy, officially ended when he handed this revolver to John Hines. Had Corporal Hines lived, he would have no doubt been heralded as one of the Union's great heroes, being recognized as having received Davis’ surrender gun and officially ending the Civil War. Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis is one of the most famous individuals in American History, being loved or hated by millions for over a century. This revolver is one of the most historic and important American artifacts ever offered at public sale and is perhaps the most important Confederate artifact known to be privately held. It was his personal revolver of choice under the most dire conditions and is similar in historical scope to The War Pistols of Hamilton, The Bull Moose Colt of Theodore Roosevelt and the President U. S. Grant Remington Revolvers, all previously sold by Rock Island Auction. There are now two Civil War revolvers known to have been the property of President Davis, his presentation Colt and this, his presentation Adams. The Colt, now housed in one of the most important museums in the country, will never leave that venue. This, his surrendered Adams revolver, is the only chance for any collector to own such history. It would be an iconic and quintessential addition to any major arms or Civil War collection, public or private. Provenance: Jefferson Davis, John Hines, Edwin Hines, LaVerne Hines Sr., Linda Lee Hines Inman, Michael Simens, Private Collection Property of a Gentleman
Fine with generous patches of aged original silver plating in the protected areas, smooth silver-gray and light brown patina on most of the visible surfaces, patches of original niter blue on some of the small parts, crisp engraving and markings, light pitting, and general mild overall wear. The grip is very fine and has crisp checkering with a few small scrapes, minor handling wear, and smooth finish. Mechanically fine.
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