Dated 1855 (when arsenal converted from flintlock to percussion), this fine beast of a hand cannon was manufactured at the Mutzig Arsenal (also known as Manufacture d’Armes de Mutzig and the Manufacture Impériale de Mutzig) which was the Imperial Arsenal in the French town of Mutzig, located in the Château des Rohan (The Castle of Rohan).
The castle’s history dates back to the 13th century and after the French revolution it became a small arms factory, as the castle was disowned by the Rohan family and pillaged during the conflict. In 1799, it was bought by the arms manufacturers brothers Coulaux of Klingenthal, Bas-Rhin, who, on April 20 1801, opened their weapons factory within its walls.
Many of these weapons were exported to the US prior and during the early years of the American Civil War and several are documented as having been used by Confederate cavalry forces. This fine pistol has a rifled barrel, marked Cde 17.6 on the left side, for a 17.6mm bore diameter, which is the standard .69 caliber large bore military pistol size of the era. An iron lanyard ring is affixed to the bottom of the butt. Next to this are several proof marks, and below is the serial number 1886. It has the standard 7 3/4 inch barrel, 14 inches in overall length with brass mounts and original cup top steel ramrod in place.