RARE & FINE CONFEDERATE “AUGUSTA GA CSA” MARKED RIGDON & ANSLEY REVOLVER.
inv # 01-16055
There are 19 known early model Rigdon & Ansley’s with the “AUGUSTA, GA CSA” address. This is the most recently discovered and it is in “as found attic” condition retaining original finish and crisp markings and among the very best examples. Sometime in late November or early December of 1862, the firm of Leech & Rigdon, then located in Columbus, Mississippi, contracted with the Confederate Government to manufacture 1500 percussion revolvers of the Colt patent design. With Union troops threatening the Columbus area, Leech & Rigdon moved its operation (its third move) to Greensboro, Georgia, where they began turning out revolvers in March of 1863. Approximately 1000 revolvers were produced at Greensboro, before it was again necessary to move because of Yankee pressure in the area. The Leech & Rigdon partnership was dissolved in December of 1863, and Rigdon took all the gun-making machinery with him, moved to Augusta, Georgia (the fourth and last move) forming a new partnership with Jesse Ansley. Rigdon & Ansley assumed the responsibility of completing the original Leech & Rigdon contract, by manufacturing the remaining 500 revolvers of that model, then going on with a new contract to furnish 1500 Rigdon & Ansley revolvers. While the Rigdon & Ansley revolvers were practically identical in design to the Leech & Rigdons, there were some changes made which were considered improvements at the time. The most obvious change was the addition of six (6) more cylinder stops in the Rigdon & Ansley, and the omission of the locking pins on the rear shoulders of the cylinder. This was thought to be a safety improvement in that it allowed the cylinder to be locked in place with the hammer resting between the percussion nipples. An additional change was the milling-out of a groove in the recoil shield, which has now come to be called a “cap release groove,” which allowed spent percussion caps an easier exit from the frame, so that they were expelled via the groove at the right top side of the recoil shields as the cylinder rotated to the right in the firing and re-cocking procedure, after each round was fired. The final change from the Leech & Rigdon, was the employment of a ‘Colt-type’ loading lever latching assembly, rather than the Leech & Rigdon’s ball-type catch.
This example has fine lines and aesthetics and is among the finest examples of the “AUGUSTA GA CSA” marked Rigdon and Ansley that is only found in first 200 made, lowest SN 1512 and last 1689.