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    Description

    Leech & Rigdon Revolver .36 caliber, six shot cylinder, serial number 1416. Thomas Leech had a cotton brokerage, a Derringer style pistol works and a military cutlery company in Memphis, Tennessee. By May 1862, he had partnered with Charles H. Rigdon, a scale maker, to produce revolvers for the Confederate Government in Columbus, Mississippi. Close proximity of Federal troops and the threat thereof forced a move to Greensboro, Georgia where about 1,000 revolvers were produced before the partnership dissolved around December 1863. This pistol, with a 7.375 inch barrel, is a copy of the Colt Model 1851 Navy except the barrel is round and the barrel housing top is octagonal. Serial numbers are stamped on the bottom of the buttstrap by the grip screw, on the trigger guard in front of the trigger, on the bottom of the frame, on the bottom of the barrel housing, on the top of the loading lever and on the cylinder. The number "1" in the serial number is, due to a broken die, more of a vertical line as would be expected on a pistol of this serial number. Other marks include "LEECH & RIGDON CSA" on the top of the barrel housing, a quatrefoil on the right side of the front of the trigger bow and a "WH" inside a diamond on the bottom of the right grip. Mechanically fine, original finish is visible on the hammer and trigger with the balance of iron and steel turning a mottled brown and silver gray. The brass frame and trigger guard are golden yellow, possibly from an old cleaning while the grips exhibit about 30% varnish with a couple of deep dings that do not affect serviceability.

    Kent Wall's Report:
    Prior to the Civil War, Thomas Leech operated a cotton brokerage in Memphis, Tennessee. Sometime just before the war, Charles H. Rigdon, a scale maker, moved to Memphis from St. Louis, Missouri, bringing with him some of his machinery. A partnership was soon established and was known as the "Memphis Novelty Works".
    In May 1862, the partnership moved its enterprise to Columbus, Mississippi, where the Confederate Government had established the Briarfield Arsenal. It is here that revolver production began in earnest in order to fulfill a recently received contract for 1,500 revolvers.
    The partnership likely produced several hundred revolvers in Columbus before being forced to leave in December, 1862, due to a threat by the Union Army.
    Traveling by way of Selma, Alabama, Leech and Rigdon arrived in Greensboro, Georgia, in March, 1863, and once again began to manufacture revolvers. This continued until December 1863 when the partnership was dissolved. By this time, production totaled approximately 1,000 revolvers.
    Charles Rigdon moved the machinery and workers to Augusta, Georgia and in that location formed a new company, Rigdon, Ansley & Co. Revolver production resumed and the balance of the contract, some 500 revolvers, was completed. Most of the revolvers produced under the original contract were marked "Leech & Rigdon CSA". The new partnership went on to produce another 900-1,000 revolvers before ceasing in January 1865. These revolvers are known to collectors today as "Rigdon & Ansley", the majority of which are marked "C.S.A." on the barrel flat.
    All production was patterned after the Colt Navy Model in .36 caliber except that the iron barrel was part round and part octagon. The first 1,500 revolvers featured a six stop cylinder. The balance featured a twelve stop cylinder and a cap release groove.
    This revolver, serial number 1416, is .36 caliber with an iron barrel of 7 ¼", iron cylinder and iron frame. The barrel is stamped on the flat "Leech & Rigdon CSA". The trigger guard, front strap and back strap are brass as is the post front sight. The SN "1416" is found on the barrel lug, loading lever flat, bottom of wedge, circumference of the cylinder, bottom of frame, top of cylinder pin, butt strap and the trigger guard. Four dots in the shape of a diamond or square are stamped on the left and right sides of the trigger guard. The grip is one piece walnut and with the inspector's cartouche clearly visible on the bottom - "WH" inside a diamond.
    The back strap, front strap and inside grip markings were not accessable since the butt screw and one back strap screw could not be dislodged without the risk of damage.
    Condition: Good. Iron parts have a dark mottled patina with some evidence of pitting. Brass parts are a golden hue evidencing old cleaning. Grip exhibits several deep dings. The "Leech & Rigdon CSA" stamping is present but not fully legible.
    Other: By this time in production, the die for the number "1" was broken. The result is that the ones in this serial number appear more like dots.
    Provenance: This serial number is not listed in Albaugh/Benet/Simmons Confederate Handguns.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2006
    1st-2nd Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,707

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