Page 102 - Auction84-Book1
P. 102

 One of the Most Iconic Civil War Revolvers, Documented as Carried by Confederate General Braxton Bragg
 LOT 207
Historic Parisian LeMat “Grapeshot” Percussion Revolver Attributed as Owned and Carried by Confederate General Braxton Bragg - Serial no. 1273, 42 cal/ 16 ga cal., 6 3/4 inch octagon and 6 5/8 inch round bbl., blue finish, walnut grips. The LeMat is one of the most distinctive and famous of all 19th century revolvers thanks to its unusual central smoothbore “grape shot” barrel plus its use by well-known Confederate military officers. They were and are very rare and relatively few actually made it to the Confederates during the war which makes any surviving example with identified Confederate use particularly sought after and valuable, especially those identified as owned and carried by well-known Confederate officers. Very few genuine Confederate officer LeMats remain, and nearly all of them that survive are in institutional collections. The LeMat revolver was 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.” As shown in “Confederate Handguns” by Albaugh, Benet, and Simmons, future Confederate General Braxton Bragg was one of the men that endorsed the adoption of the LeMat revolver as early as March 2, 1859, and page 121 lists “1273-Carried by General Braxton Bragg, CSA” in their list of “Serial Numbers Known to the Authors.” Page 111 of “The Confederate LeMat Revolver” by Adams also includes a list of “LeMat Percussion Revolver with Reported Confederate Use and Association” and lists 1273 and owned by General Braxton Bragg. The authors of “Confederate Handguns” were clearly confident in their attribution as they do not qualify the claim whereas other identified revolvers in their list include qualifiers such as “supposedly” and “said to have been.” The difference in the terms used is specifically called out in the included provenance document which notes the above authors’ identification of this revolver as owned by General Bragg. It also states: “this revolver is the ONLY LeMat known that was carried by a General Officer that, today/currently, is in the public arena and NOT in a museum or other such conservatory. Of all the military officers to carry a LeMat, Bragg was the one carrier with the highest rank and the only one to have a major military base named after him.” With that said, P.G.T. Beauregard, LeMat’s cousin by marriage, was also a known promoter and user of the LeMat
        (#427, see page 39 of “The Confederate LeMat Revolver”) and, like Bragg, was one of just seven men that held the rank of full general in the Confederate States Army. However, Beauregard’s LeMat is contained within the collection of The Museum of the Confederacy, while General Bragg’s revolver remains in private hands and is now publicly available.
The important matching serial number, “1273,” is marked on the barrels, loading lever, barrel latch, cylinder, and frame. Part of the matching serial number is visible on the side of the trigger. The hammer has a “0” assembly marking. This LeMat has an interesting Parisian configuration found in this serial number range with the assembly latch pivoting on a pin on the barrel lug rather than the frame and thus locking into a slot in the frame rather than a slot in the barrel. The rifled barrel has a triangular blade front sight, “Col LeMat Bte s-g-d-g Paris” inscribed on top with an engraved border and fleur-de-lis style finials, and “*/LM” on the right by the serial number. The screws and nuts have some simple engraving accents, the grips are checkered, and a lanyard ring loop is integral with the butt.

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