|Description and Photograph||
This is an extraordinarily rare holster, with an extraordinarily rare maker marking, in extraordinary condition; this may seem like hyperbole, but it is not, it is a fact!
When Fort Donelson surrendered on February 15, 1862 the road to Nashville lay open, requiring the Nashville Arsenal to be relocated. On the 19th the train carrying the machinery pulled out for Atlanta, reaching that place on March 5th. Thus the Confederate Arsenal at Atlanta was born. The facility would eventually encompass thirteen buildings and employ 5453 personnel to man their armory, laboratory and magazine and to operate the machine shops, blacksmith’s shop, gun carriage shops and carpenter’s shop. They made, repaired or contracted for cannon, rifles, pistols, caissons, bayonets, bits, spurs, buckles, knapsacks, friction primers, buttons, canteens, armor plating and railroad rolling stock. The laboratory produced nine million rounds of rifle and pistol ammunition, the arsenal manufactured one-half million friction primers, 46 million percussion caps between July 1, 1862 and June 30, 1864, making it the most important arsenal within the Confederacy excepting Richmond. It was also the headquarters for Confederate Quartermaster and Commissary Departments; the Atlanta Arsenal and its affiliates were producing 90,000 uniform garments per month. Her leatherworks had to be massive enough to supply the material for waist belts, holsters, cartridge boxes and slings, cap boxes, canteen slings, saddles, bridles and 15,000 pair of shoes per month.
Judging by the number of shoes made by the cobblers and the number of existing belt buckles, the Arsenal Leatherworks must have produced more accoutrements than anyone in the South excepting the Richmond Arsenal, yet, marked examples of her products are virtually the rarest of Confederate accoutrements. Less than five marked examples of her cap boxes, cartridge boxes or holsters are known to exist. The holster shown here is likely (I cannot say for certain, for there are two surviving examples that I have not personally seen) the very best in existence. With the exception of the missing gloss surface at the fold, the short tear in the front of the flap and the hole made by wear against the revolver’s hammer the holster is perfect. The stitching is all original and tight. It fits a navy sized (.36) perfectly. The Spiller & Burr revolver was made in Atlanta and I have inserted my S&B in this holster for a perfect fit. This would definitely be a stunning piece to display with a Spiller & Burr, but it will look great with any navy sized revolver. The “ATLANTA ARSENAL” over “GA” over “1862” marking is stunningly crisp and clear as the pictures attest.