Very few of these produced during the War era as most were of the M1851 style (octagonal barrel). In appearance, it looks like a slightly scaled down Model 1860 .44 Army Colt. This example surfaced at an estate sale in eastern Virginia and is in super honest as-found condition overall. All numbers match and there is about 15% cylinder scene remaining (but serial number is clear). The barrel marking is crisp and has the New York address. The only replaced part I see is the wedge screw. The walnut grips are near fine overall with only one very minor chip on the upper left as you can see in the images posted. The cylinder spins freely but the action will NOT rotate every time—and I’m not a gunsmith (but most people don’t shoot these anyway). It is likely a minor part which is damaged or simply needs a good cleaning. The weapon has a pleasing brown-gray unmolested patina overall.
Only 38,843 of these .36 caliber percussion revolving weapons were ever produced (from 1861 to 1873). According to the Springfield Research Service serial number record books, a number of M1861 Navy revolvers were reported in the hands of troopers from Companies F & L, 13th Illinois Cavalry during 1864. These guns are scattered in the serial number ranges of #2496 to #16,236. M1861 Navy revolvers also show up in the records of the 2nd Illinois Cavalry (Companies C &D, scattered from #4255 to #7709), the 9th Illinois Cavalry (Company D) and the 10th Illinois Cavalry (Company B). Colt M1861 Navy revolvers are also listed among the small arms issued to Company L of the 2nd KY Cavalry (US), and Company E of the 11th Ohio Cavalry. The members of Company M, 1st Arkansas Cavalry privately purchased a handful of the pistols as well.