17th Georgia Colt Army Revolver USMR: Stolen 4 July 1862

lelliott19

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Colt Army Revolver USMR.JPG
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Lieutenant (later Capt.) Virgil A. S. Parks, Co. D, 17th Georgia Infantry was a regular correspondent to the Savannah Republican. He signed his submissions only with his initials - "V. A. S. P." He must have held his pistol in very high regard -- it was a Colt Army Revolver U. S. M. R. (like the one pictured above.) And Parks knew the serial number - 14877. After the pistol was was stolen July 4, 1862, he enlisted the help of the newspapers and offered a handsome reward to get it back.

Virgil A. S. Parks enlisted as a Lieutenant in the "Decatur Guards." The company was ordered to Virginia and became Co. D, 17th Georgia, Toombs' brigade. On July 1, 1862, the 17th GA participated in the Battle of Malvern Hill, where they lost 5 killed and 30 wounded supporting the Fauquier Artillery.**

Lieut. Parks was not among the casualties, and he wrote to the Savannah Republican:

"Camp Near Richmond
July 14, 1862
....During this campaign there was of course no chance to get changes of clothes. We were scarcely recognizable by our best friends by reason of the dust, tattered garments, and almost bootless feet. I venture an assertion many of us would have taken our image in a looking glass for some other person - perhaps an Arab- for the long, uncombed hair and shaggy beards. In the battle of "Malvern Hill" (Tuesday, 1st July), I lost my sword scabbord[sic]: On the 4th July, some thievish soldier stole my pistol- Colt's Army Revolver, model U. S. M. R. No. 14,877- and sword belt. My feet rebelled against the "powers that be" and burst their prison bonds; my long worn fatigue suit showed signs of giving away; and the broiling sun threatened to crisp my little glazed cap into the size and shape of a tin dipper, leaving my brain to fry in the merciless heat of the sun.... "
Colt Army Revolver USMR 14877 of Capt Virgil A S Parks.JPG
***

It seems Parks hoped to recover the pistol - serial number 14877 - and he took out an ad in the Richmond Daily Dispatch which provides additional details:

"STOLEN - On the 4th of July, my large COLT'S ARMY PISTOL, model U. S. M. R., No. 14,877, brass mounted; and black Morocco Belt, with Georgia Coat of Arms on it, were stolen from me while in line of battle near Charles City Road. A handsome reward will be paid for their return to this office, or to Lieut. V. A. S. PARKS, Co. D, 17th Ga., Toombs's Brigade."
Stolen VAS Parks.JPG
****
History does not record if the prized pistol was ever returned to Parks. The 17th GA went on with Toombs to 2nd Manassas and Sharpsburg. In March, 1863, Toombs resigned and Col. Benning was promoted to Brigadier General. At Gettysburg, the 17th GA, commanded by Col. Wesley C Hodges, fielded 350 +/- effectives and, on July 2, 1863, lost 22 killed, 70 wounded, and 11 missing. Captain Virgil A. S. Parks was among those killed.

I wonder where the pistol is today? Hopefully, in the collection of someone who will one day see this post and know that the Colt Army USMR SN 14788 was once owned by Captain Virgil A. S. Parks, Co. D, 17th Georgia Infantry, killed at Gettysburg July 2, 1863.

Sources:
* Image from @ucvrelics.com Thanks Richard. :thumbsup:
**The Savannah Republican. (Savannah, Ga.), August 18, 1862, page 1, column 5.
***The Savannah Republican. (Savannah, Ga.), July 19, 1862, page 1, column 3.
****The Daily Dispatch. (Richmond, Va.), July 22, 1862, page 2, column 5.


@Tom Elmore @Elmer R. Woodard III this may be of interest.
 
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lelliott19

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That sure would be a lucky find for someone, thanks for sharing!
J.
Check your collection! Maybe you have it? Wouldn't that be awesome if someone here had it? :D

Quick! Everyone check the serial numbers on your Colt Army USMRs.:bounce:
 
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lelliott19

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I have a couple of questions about the second article I posted in the OP- the ad for the stolen pistol. I'm hoping some of our experts can shed some [email protected] Holiday @johan_steele @ucvrelics.com @Package4 @Lanyard Puller or anyone else who might know.

In the ad, Capt. Parks refers to the stolen pistol as being "brass mounted." Would that be the same as in the picture I posted? With the brass trigger guard? Or were other fixtures on a "brass mounted" one brass, besides the trigger guard?

Also, it describes a "black Morocco belt with Georgia coat of arms on it"- I assume he is talking about a GA buckle? Or was there actually a coat of arms stamped or engraved into the leather?
 
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I have a couple of questions about the second article I posted in the OP- the ad for the stolen pistol. I'm hoping some of our experts can shed some [email protected] Holiday @johan_steele @ucvrelics.com @Package4 @Lanyard Puller or anyone else who might know.

In the ad, Capt. Parks refers to the stolen pistol as being "brass mounted." Would that be the same as in the picture I posted? With the brass trigger guard? Or were other fixtures on a "brass mounted" one brass, besides the trigger guard?

Also, it describes a "black Morocco belt with Georgia coat of arms on it"- I assume he is talking about a GA buckle? Or was there actually a coat of arms stamped or engraved into the leather?

i think it means a brass frame - don't ask me whether the trigger guard is part of the frame, though
 

ucvrelics

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The Colt model 1860 Army had a "Brass Frame" see photo below. This one is one from my personnel collection that is inscribed to Capt R Smith 4th Alabama Cavalry. Its an early fluted cylinder model which was only made in the first 5000 but the frame is the same. As far as the belt I think he is referring to a Moroccan leather belt with a Georgia State Seal plate.
colt-1.jpg

P0550A.jpg
 

Lanyard Puller

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The revolver, as described in the period documents, marked "USMR" #14877 could only have been a Colt Second model Dragoon revolver. Although the serial number is a in the changeover range from Second to Third model it must have been a Second model, square-backed trigger guard type.

The "United States Mounted Rifles" and rare "U.S. Dragoons" were roll engraved into the cylinder, and the only Colt pistol marked with the USMR, was the Second model Dragoon.

The frame is casehardened, while the trigger guard and back strap assembly is brass.
Photos of a Second model {s/n 76xx}top, and Third model. {s/n 18,1xx} under it, show some of the progression of Colt's continued improvements {cylinder stop, rod latch, etc.

20180824_084138_resized (2).jpg
 

ikesdad

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The pistol that UCV has pictured is not brass framed. It is steel frame with brass backstrap and brass triggerguard.
I agree with LP.
 
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lelliott19

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The revolver, as described in the period documents, marked "USMR" #14877 could only have been a Colt Second model Dragoon revolver. Although the serial number is a in the changeover range from Second to Third model it must have been a Second model, square-backed trigger guard type.
Thanks LP. I assume you checked the serial numbers in your collection?

What year(s) were the guns in the "changeover range" produced?

Sure would be interested to know where this gun is today.:unsure:
 

lelliott19

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Good call on the Dragoon.
Thats right, because the Walkers had USMR on the cylinder too. (Not saying it was a Walker)
Thanks for everyone's replies. Its a great story and would be fabulous to know whatever became of the Colt USMR serial number 14877. If anyone locates it, please update this thread. I would love to know that whoever has it today has connected it back to its original owner.
 

James N.

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dsc05375-jpg.jpg

Check your collection! Maybe you have it? Wouldn't that be awesome if someone here had it? :D

Quick! Everyone check the serial numbers on your Colt Army USMRs.:bounce:
Unfortunately, mine's just a little bit later than his - 22,594, indicating it was made in 1861.

dsc05377-jpg.jpg
 

Lanyard Puller

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"Lanyard Puller,The revolver, as described in the period documents, marked "USMR" #14877 could only have been a Colt Second model Dragoon revolver. Quoting myself...

The 1860 Colt "Army" followed the Colt Dragoon models and was completely different. The only USMR mark which would be original, is rolled into the cylinder of some of the Second model Colt Dragoon revolvers. Scroll back up and check out the Dragoon photos.
 
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James N.

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Isn't the revolver just shown a Colt M-1860, and not a Dragoon as per the USMR discussion?
J.
Yes - in @lelliott19 's OP she also pictured a M.1860 and without reading the ensuing discussion I thought it was the correct model as she had originally suspected.
 
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