The revolver is similar to other First Model LeMat revolvers, including sn. 282 shown on page 55 of "LeMat: The Man, The Gun" by Forgett and the Serpettes. These Belgian LeMats were manufactured c. 1861-1862. The LeMat is one of the most distinctive and famous of all 19th century revolvers thanks to an unusual central smoothbore "grape shot" barrel combined with its use by well-known Confederate military officers, including P. G. T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, and J. E. B. Stuart. They were designed by Jean Alexandre LeMat of New Orleans, but mainly manufactured in Liege, Belgium and Paris, France. Period advertisements for the revolvers refer to them as "LeMat's Grape Shot Revolvers." The upper barrel has "LEMAT'S PATENT" marked in an engraved panel on the breech section, a triangular front sight, and "286" on the right flat at the breech and on the underside ahead of the band for the lower barrel. The revolver has a loading lever on the right side of the upper barrel that houses a removable ramrod for loading the smoothbore lower barrel. The frame has a matching numbered improved assembly lever and has the matching serial number on the right side below the cylinder. The "grapeshot" barrel has the matching serial number on the bottom near the breech end. The only marking visible on the cylinder is the matching serial number. Belgian LeMats are noted as sometimes missing Liege proofs. The revolver also features a spurred trigger guard, a pair of checkered walnut grips, and a lanyard ring. The cylinder chambers measure .40 caliber, and the "grapeshot" barrel measures .64 caliber (around 18 gauge). This revolver was passed down through the family of Confederate General Lucius Jeremiah Gartrell (1821-1891) to the current owner who is a direct descendant via the consignor's maternal line and Gartrell's second wife, Antoinette Phoebe Burke (b. 1834). Per his obituary in the Columbus Esquirer-Sun on April 8, 1891, Gartrell was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, and studied at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and Franklin College in Georgia. He read law under Robert Toombs and became a lawyer. He served as a representative in Congress in the two years prior to the Civil War and resigned when Georgia seceded from the Union and raised the 7th Georgia Infantry Regiment and served as their commander prior to being elected to the Confederate Congress as a representative for Georgia's Fourth District. The 7th Georgia Infantry mustered into service for one year on May 31, 1861. Gartrell served as their colonel during the historical battle at First Bull Run (First Manassas), the first major battle of the Civil War. They arrived early on July 20, 1861. During the battle, Gartrell and his men charged on the right, driving away the Union infantry and artillery, playing an important role in the Confederate victory and the embarrassing rout of Union forces. However, for Gartrell, the victory came at a heavy cost. His first son, Henry Clay Gartrell, was mortally wounded at the age of 16 while serving in the Atlanta Confederate Guards. He was among nearly 2,000 Confederates casualties that day. It was the only major battle Gartell participated in prior to leaving for the Confederate Congress. In the Congress, he became the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He elected not to run for re-election and rejoined the army as a brigadier general in 1864 and organized four reserve regiments for his brigade. He was wounded at Coosawatchie. He returned to he legal career after the war and participated in the 1877 state constitutional convention, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1882, and died in Atlanta. Provenance: Brigadier General Lucius Jeremiah Gartrell; Elizabeth Burke Gartrell; Mary Louise Baird; Gordon Baird Russell; Cameron Baird Russell; Bradford Russell Chatellier
Very good with totally untouched dark brown patina overall, some minor oxidation and pitting, a small dent visible into the mouth of one chamber, and general mild overall wear. The grips are also very good and have distinct checkering with numerous moderate dents and scratches. The pivoting selector on the hammer is absent, and the action is out of time, but the revolver functions otherwise. This is both a very desirable and historic example of an early pattern First Model LeMat percussion revolver passed down through the family of a noteworthy Confederate general.
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