FINE & RARE MASSACHUSETTS SURCHARGED COLT 2ND MODEL DRAGOON REVOLVER CARRIED BY PROMINENT CIVIL WAR MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL CHARLES DEVENS OF WORCESTER, MA
Only 100 Massachusetts 2nd Model Dragoons were purchased. All bought by Mass board of Ordnance in 1852. All are scattered in the mid 10000 serial range. Several were owned by important Massachusetts personalities, such as one of a pair in Smithsonian carried in Civil War by General Benjamin Butler, S# 10603. Another was owned by 6th Mass surgeon who performed the first field surgery of the Civil War, S# 10646. General Charles Devens, Jr (1820-1891) was Civil War Union Brigadier General with impressive bronze equestrian statue in front of Worcester County Courthouse since 1906. Another larger than life bronze statue of the general is displayed in Boston cast in 1895. Devens was longtime prominent & important Massachusetts personage, graduate of Harvard Law School in 1840, member of the Massachusetts State Senate in 1848, US Marshall of Massachusetts, 1849 to 1853 (where he probably received this revolver), general in Mass State Militia, and served on the US Department of Justice in 1860 just prior to the Civil War. He volunteered immediately for the war and was appointed Major of the 3rd Mass Mounted Rifles, shortly after Colonel of the 15th Massachusetts and was wounded in action for the first of 3 times at the Battle of Balls Bluff. He was promoted Brigadier General in April 1862 and being wounded a second time at battle of Seven Pines. He was then given command of the 1st Brigade of the IV Corps in the Maryland Campaign.
Assigned commander of the 1st Division, XI Corps in 1863, he fought at the Battle of Chancellorsville where he was wounded the 3rd time. In 1864, he was division commander at Battle of Cold Harbor and in the Overland Campaign. During the Siege of Petersburg, he commanded the 3rd Division, XXIV Corps and his troops were the first to occupy Richmond, Virginia in April 1865. For distinguished service, he was brevetted Major General of US Volunteers and served as commander of the military district of Charleston, South Carolina until 1866. After the war, he was judge of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. No wonder there are 2 statues of him in Massachusetts. Both statues are well known and considered among the finest aesthetic. When the equestrian statue was unveiled in 1906, over 1000 veterans attended and the flag of his old 15th Mass regiment was flown. Devens was also Commander of the Grand Army of Republic from 1873-1875 before being appointed Attorney General of the United States 1877-1881 under President Rutherford Hayes. The revolver is in beautiful condition in standard configuration for Colt 2nd Model dragoon, blue and case colored, 7.5″ octagonal to round barrel, German silver front blade sight and “ADDRESS SAML COLT NEW YORK” address. Trigger guard is stamped with S# and Massachusetts surcharge “MS”. “COLT’S PATENT” / “U.S.” stamped on left side of frame. Square back brass trigger guard is characteristic of 1st & 2nd Model dragoons. Walnut 1 piece grip has 2 inspector cartouches “WAT” (William A. Thornton) and “JCB” (Joseph C. Bragg). Bragg sub-inspector initial “B” is seen on barrel, loading lever, frame, cylinder, trigger guard, backstrap & grips. Revolver is 100% original and in configuration used in Civil War, all serial numbers match except cylinder which is 10510. Dr. Norman Smith was officer in 6th Mass. Militia prior to war and carried S# 10646 just 2 serial numbers apart from General Devens revolver.
Smith’s revolver had mismatched cylinder like this revolver but was renumbered to match. Most dragoons were issued in pairs as noted by Ben Butler’s, another known pair are S#s 10432 & 10549 both with “AME monogram. The 2nd Model Dragoon was the lowest production of all the Dragoon models and of that limited production, only one hundred were purchased by Massachusetts. This is beautiful & rare Colt 2nd Model dragoon owned by a prominent Civil War general, wounded 3 times during war and division commander from.
UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: family file including notarized affidavit dated May 23, 2023 stating descent of this revolver from General Devens through family of Devens brother Arthur as the general never married. Also in lot is brief biography of General Devens and file on S# 10646 of Norman Smith, Mass militia, a very comparable revolver.