Page 119 - Auction84-Book1
P. 119

 LOT 246
Incredibly Historic, Gettysburg Killed In Action, Confederate Shipped and Inscribed Colt Model 1860 Fluted Army and Shoulder Stock of William G. Conner of the Famed Cavalry Unit “The Jeff Davis Legion” with Original Bill of Sale for the Complete Order - Serial no. 1199, 44 cal., 8 inch round bbl., blue/ casehardened finish, walnut grips. This exciting and extremely historic revolver and shoulder stock were among the early production Colt Model 1860 Army revolvers shipped to the South. The grouping is considered by many experts to be one of the most historic of all Confederate used Colts due to its accompanying shoulder stock. Reportedly, around 2,300 revolvers were shipped to southern dealers just before the Civil War. Among those identified, perhaps the most significant were those purchased by William T. Martin of Natchez, Mississippi. The accompanying factory letters state that 160 revolvers, 80 shoulder stocks, and 80 flasks were shipped to William T. Martin (1823-1910), Commander of the Adams Troop of Cavalry, of Natchez, Mississippi, on January 17, 1861. Both the gun and the stock letter in the William T. Martin shipment. The letter lists the gun in .44 caliber with an 8 inch barrel, blue finish, and wood grip, and the shoulder stock is documented as having been part of this order. Miraculously, this rare set includes the original document receipt for payment in cash
dated January 14, 1861! In addition to the guns, stocks and flasks, Martin also ordered 10,000 cartridges, 80 holsters and a supply of caps for a total charge of $4,633.00. The receipt is marked at the bottom, “Received Payment, Jan. 16, 1861” and signed by William B. Hartley, Sect. Co. The document has a beautiful letterhead that pictures the Colt factory, a patriotic eagle on shield, crossed Colt’s revolvers and a First Model Colt Revolving Rifle, a wonderful original artifact in its own right.
Colt’s company is known to have shipped a considerable quantity of arms to the South. In fact, his company even shipped some arms in the days immediately following the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter. With the actual outbreak of war, however, Colt threw his weight and his armory behind the Union cause and produced hundreds of thousands of revolvers and rifle-muskets along with large quantities of ammunition. In Charles Pate’s “The Colt model 1860 Army Revolver” on page 92 is a similar list of the items purchased by Martin from Colt. Pate notes on page 93 that the included shoulder stock, serial number 1545, is the only example extant positively identified from this order.
Pate notes that just 23 of these revolvers are known. Martin personally visited the northeast to purchase arms for his men. In addition to
the Colts, these included Maynard and Sharps carbines, and Ames sabers. The Adams Troop was
thus originally 80 very well-armed and out-fitted men, especially by Confederate standards. In addition, the men were generally well-educated landowners from the Natchez area. They were each hand-picked by Martin and were excellent marksmen and horsemen. They had the finest horses in the state, tailored uniforms and enough equipment to fill a train, which they actually did at their own expense to get to Richmond. When arriving at Richmond, they geared up and rode to the capitol and were greeted by General Cooper and Jefferson Davis, with Davis immediately naming them Company A of the Jefferson Davis Legion and later nicknamed “The Little Jeff”. They were later merged with other companies and troops, but retained the namesake.
The Legion was led by Martin in the first part of the war, and he was promoted several times. He left the unit when he was given a command in the West and was ultimately promoted to major general. The Legion served within the Cavalry Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia under
Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart, and later
Wade Hampton.
William Gustine Conner (1826-1863), a graduate of Yale University in 1845, is recorded in “Yale’s Confederate: A Biographical Dictionary” by Nathaniel C. Hughes as the eldest of the five Conner brothers who fought for the Confederacy. He was a wealthy cotton planter and owner
of the Grove Plantation in Adams County, Mississippi, and also lived at and operated the Rifle Point Plantation that had been inherited by his mother and was located in nearby Concordia Parish, Louisiana. He was commissioned as
first lieutenant of the Adams Troop and was a lieutenant when it became Company A (Natchez Cavalry) of the Jefferson Davis Legion Cavalry.
He was promoted to captain and company commander on October 28, 1861. He was captured at Williamsburg in early May 1862
and reported among the prisoners in the northern press.

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