The Civil War Confederate Leech & Rigdon Revolver is a close copy of the Colt Navy Model 1851 percussion revolver except that it has a round barrel with an octagonal top barrel housing similar to the Colt Dragoon. These are among the most highly sought after of all Confederate firearms. As one of only approximately 1,500 ever manufactured by Thomas Leech and Charles Rigdon at the Greensboro, Georgia at their factory circa 1863-1864, it is incredibly rare.
The company was dissolved in 1864 and was replaced by Rigdon, Ansley & Company that continued to manufacture a small amount of an updated variation of these revolvers in Augusta, Georgia. This revolver has the pin and ball loading lever latch and six-shot cylinder with six cylinder stops whereas the Rigdon & Ansley revolvers have twelve cylinder stops like the Manhattan revolvers. The barrel has a brass pin front sight. “LEECH & RIGDON CSA” (partial) marked on the top barrel flat. The barrel wedge is fitted with a retaining spring. The hammer has coarse knurling and a groove for a rear sight. It has a brass trigger guard and back strap and a one-piece oil-finished walnut grip. The face of the recoil shield lacks a cap channel, as all originals do. The matching serial number “682” is marked on the loading lever, side of the cylinder, bottom of the frame, bottom of the trigger guard, handwritten in the back strap mortise of the grip, and stamped on the bottom of the back strap. The initials “ECG”, possibly the wartime owner, are carved in the bottom of the back strap. More information on these revolvers can be found in Albaugh, Benet and Simmons’ book “Confederate Handguns” on pages 39-60.
This fine and rare weapon includes a letter of authenticity from Maryland Line Trader who originally sold the revolver in 1988. It also includes a 2004 dated letter of examination of the revolver from the late Frederick R. Edmunds, former owner and Curator of the Confederate States Armory & Museum in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This revolver has been included in numerous displays of products by the firm of Leech & Rigdon at several national Civil War Shows and was once in the noted William A. Gary Collection.
This fine weapon is rated NRA Antique Good to Very Good and exhibits signs of genuine period Confederate Civil War use. It has a lightly refinished blue finish visible on a minor repair to the original loading lever and overall shows a dark brown age patina on the balance of the revolver. It has some scattered light to moderate pitting overall and the brass retains an attractive golden aged patina with carved initials as mentioned above. The walnut grip is also good to very good showing honest period wear, minor scattered dings and dents, and a small crack at the top of the left panel. Overall it is mechanically fine.
Museum quality and investment grade all the way!