"COLT MODEL 1860 ARMY PERCUSSION REVOLVER. SN 4344. Cal. 44. Blue & case colored with 8" bbl, German silver front sight with 1-line New-York U.S. America address. It has "COLTS PATENT" on the left front side of the frame, which is a 4-screw frame cut for shoulder stock. It has flat head hammer screw and round head stock screws. Brass trigger guard was originally silver plated as was the iron back strap. It has 1-pc walnut grip. Back strap is inscribed in period script "J.M. Willson U.S.A." James M. Willson enlisted on July 15, 1861 as a corporal and was mustered into E Company, 4th Iowa Infantry, on Aug. 8, 1861. On Jan. 15, 1864 he transferred into the Veteran Reserve Corps. Willson was promoted to sergeant on March 8, 1862 and to 1st Sergeant on Oct. 16, 1862. The only other information available in the record regarding Sgt. Willson is that he was born in Alabama, was residing in Des Moines, IA at the time of his enlistment and was 30 years old at that time. His unit, the 4th Iowa Infantry, was almost immediately engaged at Rolla, MO and fought throughout the war in several major battles and skirmishes. Major battles were Rolla, MO, Corinth, MS, Memphis, TN, Pea Ridge, Arkansas Post, Chickasaw Bayou & Vicksburg. Sgt. Willson was severely wounded in the leg during the Battle of Vicksburg. On Dec. 20, 1862, the 4th Iowa was with Sherman's Army on its way to join Grant at Vicksburg and participated in the attack on Chickasaw Bluffs. They advanced without support through an open area and "carried the first line of works and held them under a murderous fire while waiting for help that never came". They were forced to fall back having lost 112 men killed & wounded out of the 480 who started the battle. Gen. Grant ordered that "First at Chickasaw Bayou" be placed on the Unit's colors, in honor accorded to only one other regiment during the war. No other information is available regarding Sgt. Willson as to his date of discharge or reason therefor. This revolver almost certainly was carried by Sgt. Willson during his Civil War service and surely would have seen considerable action. Given its present condition it appears to have been held in great esteem by someone after he relinquished possession. CONDITION: Fine plus, all matching including wedge. Bbl retains thin orig blue in the gullets being mostly a silver brown patina with several nicks & dings. Rammer handle pivot has dark case colors. Cylinder retains traces of orig blue, being mostly a silver/brown patina and retains 30-40% Ormsby naval battle scene with some light dings and fine pitting around front edge. Frame retains 70-75% strong case colors turned dark on recoil shields & hammer. Screws are fine. Trigger guard has a stress fracture in front strap and retains about 50% thin orig silver. Back strap has silver on the ears at the top and on butt strap with most of back strap a cleaned metal patina. Grip is sound showing moderate to heavy wear and retains an old applied finish over about 50-60% orig varnish. Mechanics are crisp, strong bright bore with light to moderate pitting. 4-32188 JR371 (7,500-12,500)"
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