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Rare ID'd Civil War-Used Rogers & Spencer Revolver

This is the only Rogers & Spencer I've ever seen that was actually USED during the Civil War...we've never seen another nor heard of another and could be considered definitive proof that these revolvers actually entered the fray during the war.  These revolvers were perhaps the finest pistol design to emerge from the Civil War being essentially an improvement of the Freeman and Pentigill revolver. Rogers & Spencers were produced from 1863-65.  This particular gun is very early production with a 3-digit serial number in the 400 range.  Most publications seem to indicate 5,000 of the total production of 5,800 were purchased by the U.S. Government in 1865, too late to be issued...from there this group remained unissued until they were eventually sold as surplus to Bannermans of NY around 1901.  However, this does not account for the 800 revolvers that were sold commercially which is probably the case with this revolver.

The gun shows clear indications that it belonged to a soldier in the 30th Regiment, Massachussetts Infantry named Edward Lambert. Lambert probably acquired this gun sometime after 1863, perhaps in 1864 when the 30th returned from Louisiana back to Washington DC where it served the remainder of the war fighting in Virginia. In addition to Lambert's revolver, we also have a complete file of his service records with the 30th Mass.  Lambert enlisted when he was only 16 years old and served as a drummer in the Regiment from 1861 until 1866.  The left grip of the gun is marked "30th Mass" with the letter "V" and two  dates "1861" and "1866" scratched into the bottom of each grip.  The "V" probably stands for "Veteran", a status Lambert attained on Dec. 31, 1863 when he re-elisted to the 30th as a Veteran Volunteer. However, the most interesting part is inside the grips where Lambert pasted two paper notes.   These notes are very old and not easily read due to stains, ink bleeding,  foxing, and chafing from the mainspring over the past 100 or more years.

The inside of LEFT GRIP reads "E. Lambert VOL 30 MASS carried this Revolver in Civil War November 14, 1861 August 15, 1866" 

The inside of RIGHT GRIP reads "(To be?) given to Earl Stevens By Edward Lambert".

Overall, the gun is in NRA Antique Very Good condition with mostly a nice uncleaned brown patina that has original blue mixing through it...probably 10% blue overall.  Most Rogers & Spencer Revolvers you find tend to be in Fine/Excellent Condition as they were nearly all unissued.  This one definitely shows a good bit more use to it and carry wear typical of Civil War usage.  The edges are still sharp, and the action is mechanically excellent.  It has excellent markings throughout with topstrap marked "ROGERS & SPENCER" / "UTICA NY".  All matching numbers throughout which include the barrel, cylinder, frame, and loading lever.  Grips are solid but typical of Rogers and Spencers, have chips at the bottom corners.

Lambert's records indicate that he was in the 30th Mass. nearly the entire Civil War enlisting in Nov. 1861 and mustering out of the unit in July 1866. In 1864, he appears to be involved in an incident where some equipment is lost and fined $50.00 by the Regiment's Court Martial.  In Dec, 1863, he re-enlists as a Veteran Volunteer, probably to receive more pay.  It's my understanding that as the war progressed, newer recruits were receiving higher pay than seasoned Veterans who were still drawing lower pay than their original enlistments...thus by resigning and re-enlisting as a Veteran, one could draw more pay.   That seems to be the case with Lambert.  In 1866, there is apparently some type of paperwork error and he is listed for 2 months as being absent without leave.  It isn't until the year 1916 that Lambert is able to get his record cleared of this charge.

The 30th Mass Infantry participated in both the Western and Eastern theaters during the Civil War serving near the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana from 1862 through the first half of 1864. The 30th was involved in the occupation of New Orleans and fought in the Battle of Baton Rouge on August 5, 1862 .  They are next engaged in operations against Port Hudson in May 1863.  From there, the reg't is moved several times in Louisiana from Donaldsville, Baton Rouge, Sabine Pass Expedition, Algiers, Brashear City, Berwick, and Camp Bisland.  In late 1863, they participate in the Western Louisiana Campaign before moving back to New Orleans.  In mid-1864, the Reg't is moved back to Washington DC where they participate in the the Snicker's Gap Expedition and Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign. They later participate in the Battle of Opequan, Fisher's HIll, and Cedar Creek.  At the end of the War, the Reg't is in the Grand Review in Washington DC on May 23-24, 1865.  From there, the unit is moved to Savannah, GA, Georgetown, SC, and Florence, SC.

This is a great gun and perhaps one of only a handful or even less of Rogers and Spencer revolvers that saw actual use in the Civil War.  Chances are you will never see another.

Item# 9062

Priced on Request



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