Original U.S. Civil War Whitney Navy 2nd Model Revolver .36 Caliber Matching Serial Number 15741G with Original Holster

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice condition example of a Whitney Navy percussion revolver. We were told when we purchased it that it belonged to a Confederate soldier from Texas named Barnett. However, there is no attainable provenance to support this.

The Whitney Navy is a 6-shot, .36 caliber, single action percussion revolver that was manufactured from the late 1850s through the early 1860s. The revolver went into production after Colt’s patent on his revolver mechanism expired in 1857. The first 1,500 or so (aka 1st Model Whitney Navy revolvers) were manufactured without a loading lever and were of lighter construction than the later 2nd Model revolvers. Between the Whitney desire to improve upon the guns, and the habit of making design changes when parts on hand ran out, both the 1st and 2nd Models were manufactured in a number of different types with a clear pattern of evolution that took place throughout their production. Some 33,000 Whitney Navy revolvers were produced during the production run, with many seeing US government use. The US Army acquired 10,587 of the revolvers between 1861 and 1864 and the US Navy purchased an additional 6,226 between 1863 and 1865. The state of New Jersey purchased 920 Whitney Navy revolvers in 1863, but 792 of those guns were subsequently resold to the US Army in 1863 and 1864. Those guns are included in the US Army purchases listed above.

A number of Whitney Navy revolvers also appear to have been acquired by the South and saw service during the American Civil War. Some were purchased prior to the outbreak of hostilities, and these guns tend to early production 2nd Model revolvers produced prior to the spring of 1861. A good example is Whitney Navy #3110, which was owned by Confederate cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart, and is now in the collection of the Virginia Historical Society. However, Confederate forces acquired many more Whitney Navy revolvers after the conflict started. These later production guns were no doubt obtained through a combination of capturing weapons and purchasing the guns surreptitiously from secondary retailers rather than Whitney. At least two-dozen Whitney Navy revolvers are known to have been repaired for use by the 4th Virginia Black Horse Cavalry, and a handful of identified Whitney Navy revolvers with Confederate provenance exist was well.

It is not surprising that the revolver found favor on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, as the robust design with a reinforcing top strap, a solid frame with a screwed in barrel and the simple turn of a wing nut to release the loading lever and cylinder arbor were all significant improvements over the open topped frame and wedge-retained barrel of the Colt design. The popularity of the revolvers in the south is further indicated by the fact that the design was copied by Confederate gunmakers Spiller & Burr and T.W. Cofer, both of whom produced Whitney-like revolvers for the south.

This gun retains strong traces of original finish. The metal of the gun is almost entirely smooth throughout, with nice holster wear to the right side of the muzzle (meaning it was used).

The loading lever retains about 80%+ of its original case coloring with a clear serial number stamping. The gun appears to be 100% complete and correct in every way and bears strong markings throughout. The serial number 15741 G is clearly stamped on the bottom of the barrel and on the loading lever in tow positions. The serial number is also stamped on the rear of the cylinder and inside both of the grip panels.

The top of the octagon barrel is clearly stamped:



The action of the revolver is mechanically excellent and the gun times, indexes and locks-up exactly as it should. All of the original nipples are present, and are in good, usable condition. The original brass-post front site is in place at the end of the barrel and is in fine condition as well.

The bore is in very good condition. It retains fine, crisp rifling. The bore does show some lightly scattered pitting along its entire length. The barrel bears inspectors marks B on either side of the breach.

The original arbor pin retention thumbscrew is in place and operates. The hammer retains some case coloring. The small brass trigger guard (correct for this model) has a pleasing dull mustard patina. The two-piece oil finished walnut grips are present; the left is in very good condition while the right was cracked and glued with a small replacement splice, both grip panels retain serial number 15741 G stamped to the inside surface.

Also, included is a period leather holster, of which this revolver has been contained for a long time, the holster is perfectly molded to the Whitney and old embossed designs are still present.

Overall this is a great example of a Whitney Navy that was used in the Civil War. All Whitney revolvers from the Civil War are scarce, and this is a really crisp and well-preserved example. This will be a fine addition to your collection of Civil War arms of a really hard to find revolver offered in fully functional condition.

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