inv # 01-17986

Colonel Grenfell was an extremely colorful British soldier of fortune who served with the Confederate forces from 1862-1864. Grenfell claimed to have fought in Algeria, South America, Morocco, the Sepoy Mutiny and the Crimean War prior to his service with the Confederacy during the Civil War. He was a member of the Royal Guard of Paris and took part in the fighting that lead to the downfall of the Bourbon Monarchy. His next conflict was the Crimean War serving with Major General Hussy Vivian. Following action in the Crimea, he immigrated to South America where he took part in several revolutions throughout the continent.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he immigrated to the United States and joined the Confederacy. After a meeting with General Robert E. Lee, he met with Colonel John Hunt Morgan who made him his adjutant general. Colonel Grenfell was a groomsman in Colonel Morgan’s wedding. After service with Morgan in Kentucky, he joined General Braxton Bragg’s army in Tennessee and finally served with General J.E.B. Stuart in Virginia. He resigned his commission in 1864 and moved to the northern states where he helped lead a plot to establish Confederate governmental control over Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. When the nefarious plot was discovered, Grenfell was arrested, tried and sentenced to hang. The British government interceded on his behalf and had his sentence commuted to life in prison. He served his life sentence at Fort Jefferson Military Prison in the Dry Tortugas off Key West, Florida. He worked with Dr. Samuel Mudd, convicted Lincoln conspirator during a yellow fever epidemic at the prison. In 1868, Grenfell escaped from Fort Jefferson and was presumed drowned as the audacious British officer was never heard from again.

The Colt Brevette revolver is cal. 36. S# 4832. Bbl. measures approx. 7 1/4″. Barrel is marked on the top flat, “COLT BREVETTE”. Cylinder scene is a bit light but clearly visible. All serial numbers match. The silver plated backstrap is engraved, “Col. George St. Leger Grenfell Aide de Camp”. Silver plated trigger guard. Original leather holster with front flap that slides through a 2 1/2″ x 1/2” retention strap. Rear belt loop may be a period repair and is held on with 2 iron rivets at the top and 3 at the bottom. Black leather officers belt with 2 piece interlocking buckle of pre-Civil War manufacture likely for militia service. Buckle is ovoid in form with a central eagle and shield. See figure 209, pg. 215 of Kerksis. Bowie knife measures 15 5/8″ overall with a 9 1/2″ blade. The knife appears to be of South American manufacture. and was likely obtained by Colonel Grenfell during his service in one of the South American revolutions. The blade has a 3 1/2″ false edge and a shallow wide double fuller. The hilt is silver plated brass with an etched decorated guard. The grip has a 1/2″ ferrule at the base and a pommel that appears to be a stylized head of a South American native tribesman. The horn grip has several metal studs that appear to be pewter. The leather scabbard has a plated tip with etching that matches the crossguard. The throat is etched on 1 side with an English crown, and the other side has a highly stylized monogram that reads, “G St L G”.