British M-1858 Adams Engraved Revolver: U.S. Civil War

Item Description

Original Item: Only One available. Another fantastic antique gun acquired from the collection of one of our customers. This is an original 54 bore English M-1858 Adams Revolver, marked on the Top Strap "ROBERT ADAMS, PATENTEE, LONDON". Fully engraved and still retaining about 50% of the original Nickel presentation finish. This Revolver is nearly complete saving the loading lever on the left hand side and a nipple. The finely checkered wood grips bear a silver nameplate of the original owner:- "GEORGE ST.LEGER GRENFELL".

Now, It is Ironic that this hugely rare and desirable Adams revolver used by George St. Ledger Grenfell in the U.S. Civil War has his name INCORRECTLY spelled on the silver plaque! Amazingly his name is spelled "George St. Leger Grenfell" on the Revolver (the "D" in Ledger is missing). Actually, this was not at all an uncommon event in those days as name standardization really came in to practice in the 20th century, making this a fascinatingly intertesting 19th century mistake. No doubt done by the engraver at the time, and the owner either also would spell his name without a "d", or had neither the time or interest (especially if it had been a gift) to correct it before leaving Europe for the United States. This mistake actually enhances the revolver as no faker would ever be so stupid.

Internet Research (20 pages printed and included with purchase) tells us that this gentleman claimed to have seen action in the Crimean War of 1853-55 and in the India Mutiny also know as the Great Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-58, little of which can accurately be confirmed. However, it is known and confirmed that Mr Grenfell spent time with Confederate Forces during the U.S. Civil War and did see some action. It is suggested that he could be considered as a "Soldier of Fortune" but reading the research it appears his "claims" perhaps were overstated and that his Civil War participation was very possibly as a "representative" of a sympathetic Great Britain for the Confederate Cause.

Further research tells us that he resigned from the Confederate army in 1864 and partook in the conspiracy to take over the Governments of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois in order to establish a "Northern Confederacy". This plot, known as the Chicago Conspiracy failed and Grenfell was actually found guilty and condemned to hang. Through efforts of the British Minister in Washington his sentence was commuted and he was shipped off to Fort Jefferson prison in Florida. He was one of only five "State Prisoners" in the prison the over 500 others were mostly Union deserters.

Among his "State Prisoner" companions were four men involved with the Lincoln assassination including the infamous Dr. Mudd. In 1867 Grenfell fell seriously ill with Yellow Fever from which Dr. Mudd is given credit with Grenfell's ultimate recovery. In 1868 Grenfell with some other inmates escaped by boat but there was a violent storm and they were all considered Lost at Sea. In any event, despite apparent "sightings" of Grenfell in future years, nothing more was ever reported. A very colorful man who led a dramatic life and his revolver, presumably but his side for most of it, survived. Presentation Grade 1858 Adams Percussion Revolver, factory engraved and originally nickel-plated as described. All Internet research included with offering.

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