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Old South Military Antiques

North Carolina Cavalry Pistol
Item #: OS-7601

The Single Shot Percussion Pistol shown here seems much too antiquated for service in ’61. In reality, it was one of the better arms available to the Confederate Cavalry early in the war.

It started as a flintlock, but with the capture of the Fayetteville Arsenal in April of 1861, the state of North Carolina began converting flintlocks to the percussion system as rapidly as possible.

While there were plenty of volunteers to fill the cavalry ranks, the government was unable to arm them. Military Secretary Warren Winslow was pushing the conversions as fast as possible, writing to the commander at Fayetteville on July 24, 1861, "You will please hasten as much as possible the work of changing the flint and steel muskets. As fast as the carbines are ready, send them to Raleigh and also other cavalry weapons.” The next day he wrote, "send us the carbines as rapidly as done, but I tremble to think it will take five or six weeks to do them. What shall we do?” Two days later, on July 27, the Confederate Government took over the arsenal as the demand for guns continued to grow. By the middle of October, the armory was still doing conversions, according to the Richmond Examiner, "a large force is now engaged in altering old flintlock guns to percussion, making very efficient weapons” referring to Fayetteville.

Finally, in November, altered pistols were beginning to trickle out and by the middle of January 1862, 564 had been shipped to the 2nd North Carolina Cavalry. The last 529 of the Fayetteville percussion pistol alterations had been completed and shipped to the 3rd North Carolina Cavalry by March of 1862. Fayetteville converted a total of 1,093 US model 1836 pistols from flint to percussion, all of which were shipped to the 2nd or 3rd North Carolina Cavalry.

The Fayetteville Conversions are quite distinct, having a drum type bolster with cleanout screw threaded into the barrel. The new percussion hammer is easily recognizable, smaller, but having the same "S” shape as the Fayetteville rifles.

The pistol shown here is a lovely untouched example of the 2nd and 3rd cavalry’s armament. The lock is marked P. JOHNSON MIDDn CONN 1837 in three lines. The drum bolster with cleanout screw and the Fayetteville hammer clearly identifies this as one of the 1,093 alterations issued to the 2nd and 3rd North Carolina Cavalry.

The gun is all original and in very good condition. Where else can you get a bona fide Confederate handgun in beautiful condition for only $3,700.00?