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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody,

Since a few months ,I am the owner of this 1860 army Model S/N 81481, and I wonder if it is possible to get some information about previous owner or unit...
The closest S/N according to SWOwner's listing is 81064.
I saw that a similar request has already been successfully posted by Blackjack33
With a little luck this one could be in the same range....
Many thanks for you help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Jim,

....I would like to get more information, but that it is not easy ,except to ask for a letter to colt for 300 usd ,and whose result is not guarantied.
 

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If you go the "Colt Archive Letter" route - please let me know your findings so I can update my Shipment Listing. Also, I found a close S/N (81,499) assigned to Co. D - 7th MI Volunteer Cavalry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for this valuable information.
I will think over if I ask or not for the colt archive letter;but be certain that if I do it I will send you the information for the update.=SWOwner;2236410]
If you go the "Colt Archive Letter" route - please let me know your findings so I can update my Shipment Listing. Also, I found a close S/N (81,499) assigned to Co. D - 7th MI Volunteer Cavalry.[/QUOTE]
 

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WOW that's a beautiful revolver! And well worth the effort to document it with the official Colt letter. Good on you!
 

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Something worth noting...

Colt didn't ship in serial number order - they shipped full crates to meet the demand, and they didn't ship to units - they shipped to the Quartermaster Department, who then took care of actual issuance.

The name on any Colt letter is that of the Officer signing for the shipment - 'not' the one it was issued to, nor responsible for any further action beyond that of acknowledging receipt of 'X' number of weapons on a given date and to a particular location.

No real historical value there, beyond knowing that the piece in question is an issued item.

The Quartermaster Department didn't issue in serial number order, either - they issued to the need of the gaining unit, and not in block - if crates were partially full, then weapons could be grabbed and stacked to meet the number needed from any open crate.

After the initial issue, weapons were often mixed, and battlefield salvage gathered them up for reissue - the Confederates rearmed themselves early in the Civil War, thanks to dropped and discarded weaponry, but that avenue of supply soon closed as the Federals learned their deadly trade.

Point is - information contained in the books of 'Springfield Research Service' is only accurate to the first issuance - after that, it's anyone's guess where the piece ended up after hard campaigning.
 

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81237 4/12/1863 1st MD Vol Cav, reissued to MD Cav in 1864 (?)
81557 4/12/63 1st MD Vol Cav, reissued MD Cav 1864. (?)
81588 same as above.

Many in this serial range to MD Cav. Most likely yours also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
81237 4/12/1863 1st MD Vol Cav, reissued to MD Cav in 1864 (?)
81557 4/12/63 1st MD Vol Cav, reissued MD Cav 1864. (?)
81588 same as above.

Many in this serial range to MD Cav. Most likely yours also.
Thank you Rick,
So if I understand correctly it could be either MD vol Cav ,or MI Vol Cav as the closest known serial Nr 81499 is for the MI Cav. according to SWOwner.
(unless there are other known serial in this range to another Reg. ?)
 

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Unfortunately alainwes - you can't assume a close ID'd S/N is actual proof of firearm assignment. Everything I have read indicates that many firewarms were pulled from shipments and disbursed all over the place. In otherwords - 50 Colt's may have been sent to a Union Cav but may not have been S/N xxxx1 through xxxx50. It could have been S/N xxxx1, xx100, xx151, etc. You just can't prove who the got what unless you have some other form of documentation to support the actually assignment. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Unfortunately alainwes - you can't assume a close ID'd S/N is actual proof of firearm assignment. Everything I have read indicates that many firewarms were pulled from shipments and disbursed all over the place. In otherwords - 50 Colt's may have been sent to a Union Cav but may not have been S/N xxxx1 through xxxx50. It could have been S/N xxxx1, xx100, xx151, etc. You just can't prove who the got what unless you have some other form of documentation to support the actually assignment. :(
Yes you are right..that means also that a "Colt archive letter "would not provide any additional information regarding the use by any particular regiment, but only the final shipping address ..?
 

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Yes you are right..that means also that a "Colt archive letter "would not provide any additional information regarding the use by any particular regiment, but only the final shipping address ..?
As DogFace6 mentioned - "...Point is - information contained in the books of 'Springfield Research Service' is only accurate to the first issuance - after that, it's anyone's guess where the piece ended up after hard campaigning..." Welcome to the frustrating part of collection the Colt 1860 Army!:D
 

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In reference to information in the SRS books being the "first issuance" of a firearm, I will have to disagree. As a matter of fact, the information contained in the books is not always an issuance date but could be when the gun was lost, damaged, stolen, turned in, etc.

Some examples. 1851 Navy serial number 49374 was "SEIZED" at Fort Sumner, NM on December 14, 1864. 1851 Navy serial number 102939 from the 10th Mich. Cav. was "RETD" (Returned) on August 9, 1865. 1851 Navy serial number 139980 was "TURNED IN" from the 7th Ind. Cav. on October 28, 1864.

Basically, the information shown in the books is the information which has survived. Sometimes it MIGHT be related to the first issuance, but could also be a subsequent issuance to another unit months or years later. A good example of this is 1860 Army revolver serial number 376. This revolver would have been made in 1860, however the usage date shown by SRS is October of 1864. While it's possible this revolver sat around for four years, my guess would be it was issued early in the war but those records have not survived, but the record from 1864 has survived and was found by SRS.
 
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