Leech & Rigdon Revolver

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Description and Photograph

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     Though the date is uncertain, sometime in the summer of 1862, Thomas Leech and Charles Rigdon began making revolvers in Columbus, Mississippi.  They secured a contract with the Confederate Government to manufacture 1500, .36 caliber revolvers.  The revolvers were to copy Samuel Colt’s Navy revolver.  They did begin production in Columbus, but made less than two hundred revolvers before the threat of capture in late 1862 forced them to move their manufactory to Selma, Alabama, and then on to Greensboro, Georgia, in the first months of 1863.  In December of 1863, Leech and Rigdon dissolved their contract.  At this time only about a 1000 revolvers out of the original 1500 contracted for had been delivered.  Charles Rigdon then formed a partnership with Jesse Ansley, Andrew Smith and Charles Keen.  Now known as Rigdon & Ansley, the manufactory was moved to Augusta, Georgia.  Though the company’s name had changed, the Confederate contract was with Leech & Rigdon, consequently, the Leech & Rigdon name continued to be stamped into the barrel flat until the remainder of the original contract was filled.

     This revolver, serial number 1156, was made in Augusta, Georgia in early 1864.  It is one of the original Confederate contract guns and therefore has “LEECH & RIGDON  CSA,” stamped into the top of the barrel flat.  This is one of a small number of Leech & Rigdon revolvers delivered to the state of South Carolina and has the SC acceptance mark stamped into the bottom of the grip stock.

     The gun is very well marked; the serial number 1156 is stamped into the butt strap, the cylinder, the bottom of the frame, the barrel leg, the wedge, the pivot pin, the loading lever, and the loading lever catch.  The serial number is also penciled inside the grip stock.  Leech & Rigdon serial number 1156 is recorded in William Albaugh’s Confederate Handguns.

     The revolver is in exceptionally good condition.  It is completely original in all respects; the edges are sharp, the bore strong, the markings crisp, the screws are clean, the action tight, and it retains much of its original blued finish.  This is quite simply one of the best Confederate handguns in the world.

 

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