First one of these I have seen in a decade or more, this nicely marked .69/.12 shotgun is agent marked on both the lockplate and top of barrel “S. Sutherland Richmond Va.” It has a Belgian type back action lock and a Belgian proof dating from 1850 to 1860 on the barrel near the breech. The barrel is approximately 35″ long and has a totally cool inlay near the front bead sight.
This is very likely an early War Confederate used percussion shotgun that was imported by well-known gunmaker and dealer, Samuel Sutherland of Richmond, Virginia. According to P. 266 of “Confederate Arms” by Albaugh and Simmons, Sutherland was known as “The Armorer of the South” and operated under the trade name “Southern Importing House”. During the Civil War, Sutherland also repaired weapons, altered flintlock muskets to percussion ignition systems, and bored sporting rifles to military calibers both for the State of Virginia and the Confederacy.
This particular shotgun is clearly marked “S. Sutherland Richmond VA” along the rear left side of the lock plate and on top of the barrel as well. As many of you may know, the shotgun was a particular favorite of Confederate Cavalrymen for fighting on horseback in close contact with the enemy. Judging from the overall honest from use wear of this example, which shows as much as any Enfield rifle or Springfield musket, it looks like it saw a lot of days during the Civil War.
Overall, its in NRA Antique Good+ condition having seen field use and handling, but there are no visible major repairs. There is a visible crack below the lockplate and a small section of wood is missing as you can see, but overall it is solid and fully functional. The metal is a smooth unmolested brown patina with little to no pitting. Furniture is almost completely iron mounted with light scroll engraving that is worn in places and there is a silver touch mark at the wrist. The stock is made of well-figured walnut with a checkered wrist…also worn. As found on many Civil War rifles, there is even some burnout or spark erosion to the top of the stock just behind the breech. Mechanically, the action is solid and the original wooden ramrod is still present. This is a very solid example of a Southern-imported and likely Confederate-used shotgun that just surfaced from an old family home near Wilson, NC. It is likely the LEAST expensive potentially Confederate used and Southern MARKED weapon on the market today.