An historic South Carolina ordnance procurement order for 250 Navy revolvers from Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company

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Lot 5178
An historic South Carolina ordnance procurement order for 250 Navy revolvers from Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company
'The First Confederate arms contract'
-Select US Arms Type-

US$ 25,000 - 35,000
£ 18,000 - 25,000
An historic South Carolina ordnance procurement order for 250 Navy revolvers from Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company
'The First Confederate arms contract'
The holographic letter from Colt representative Amos H. Colt to South Carolina Governor Francis Wilkinson Pickens: Charleston Dec. 26th, 1860/To His Excellency Gov Pickens/I beg leave respectfully to inform/your Excellency and your Military/Council that I am duly authorized/to make contracts for the immediate/supply of any arms manufactured/by Col Samuel Colt and that I/have now in this city specimens/which I will be pleased to submit/to the examination of an Commissioners/appointed by your Excellency/No one else in this city are authorized to make contracts fo Colts Improved Arms./I have the Honor to be/Respy Your Obt Servant/A.H. Colt/Charleston Hotel. Reverse inscribed Letter of/A.H. Colt/in/Relation to/Arms/(Dec. 26, 1860)/Referred to Col of Ordnance/Jany 6th 1861/Col of Ordnance directed to pro-/cure 250 Navy Pistols. Accompanying the lot are two copies of Confederate Veteran magazine containing articles about this interesting document, as well as photocopies of the page where it was published in The Art of the Gun Magnificent Colts by Robert M. Lee and R.L. Wilson, in this article Mr. Wilson calls the letter from Colt to Governor Pickens A rare and imaportant document discovered by collector Travis Parrish, of Charleston, South Carolina...
Condition: Fine, folds and minor staining
See Illustration

Footnotes

  • Note: This significant historical document was found in the 1960s, hidden in the walls of the former home of Confederate Colonel Armistead Burt in Abbeville, South Carolina, known as the Burt-Stark house, now a National Historic Landmark. It was discovered during remodeling and was subsequently sold to the consignor by the home's owner Mary Stark Davis. Dated just after South Carolina succeeded from the Union, it is the first and only such document known. The guns were contracted from Colt in early January of 1861 and delivered to South Carolina prior to the opening shots of the war at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Subsequent research indicates that half of the revolvers were sent to the Citadel Military Academy and the other half was issued to members of the Lucy Holcombe (Pickens) Legion. She was the wife of Governor Pickens and the legion was raised, according to tradition, with funds obtained when she sold jewlery that had been given to her by the Tsar of Russia when her husband was the ambassador. The cavalry arm of the legion, which one presumes received the revolvers, later became the 7th South Carolina Cavalry Regiment.

    This very interesting document, received by Governor Pickens the day after South Carolina succeeded from the Union and acted upon shortly afterward is both an interesting example of Col. Colt's aggressive attempts to sell arms to the southern states even though the outbreak of war must have seemed inevitable at the time and an important memento of this turbulent time in the history of South Carolina, the Confederacy and these United States.
Contacts
An historic South Carolina ordnance procurement order for 250 Navy revolvers from Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company
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