This pair of Civil War Colt .44 percussion revolvers, serial numbers 7222 and 7229, is exceptionally rare and historical. Manufactured in early 1861, these weapons fall into the precise range of those issued by the US Government to the Loudon County Partisan Rangers according to the Springfield Research Service database.
Of all the special units that were formed to combat Confederate partisan rangers in Virginia during the Civil War — the Blazer Scouts, the Jesse Scouts, Cole’s Maryland Cavalry and others — probably the most active and well known were the Loudoun Partisan Rangers, an independent cavalry unit drawn from the largely Quaker and German farming communities of northern Loudoun County, Virginia.
Despite the pacifist beliefs of their church, many of Loudoun County’s Quakers took up arms on each side. The Loudoun Rangers’ founder and commander was Captain Samuel C. Means, himself a Quaker and the owner of a large grist mill in Waterford. Means also owned a substantial mercantile business in Point of Rocks, Maryland. Forced by vigorous Confederate persecution to take refuge in Maryland, Means was summoned to Washington and offered a commission to raise a cavalry company of disaffected refugee Virginians. He quickly raised two companies of cavalry which were mustered into Federal service on June 20, 1862.
Loudoun County was swarming with Confederates. It was the Loudoun Rangers’ job to make periodic raids to harass and capture them. To do so, the Rangers established camps on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. From there they made constant forays into Loudoun, Clarke and Jefferson counties.
Often the Rangers were merged into other commands and sent off to accompany the main Union army, fighting in such major battles as Fisher’s Hill, Cedar Creek and Monocacy, as well as in other engagements even farther from their native county. In fact, for Means’ men, the whole war was a constant struggle to maintain their unit’s independence and to try to stay close to their kin in Virginia.
Both of these weapons are in very good plus overall condition with clear marks and strong actions. Both exhibit all original matching parts and numbers other than #7229 which has a single replaced screw (to retain the barrel wedge). #7222 has a strong visible cartouche and both have very solid cylinder scenes. Both are the full military 4-screw frame models, made for use with a portable shoulder stock.
This is a rare opportunity to obtain extremely early 1861 Colt .44 revolvers which are in very good original condition and identified to a known partisan cavalry unit that saw heavy action in Virginia and Maryland for the duration of the Civil War.