Tell me more! Did Colt's model Patterson see any use?

Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
Something crossed my mind the other day, with so many of Colt model revolvers being used during the war, was there any record of of the Patterson model being used or equiped? Quite a few made it out West in places like Texas, but I've never seen any record of them during war time.

colt paterson.jpg
 

Story

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
I'd suggest any use would be 'off the books' one-off personal weapons.

Other than well written diaries, the only place you *might* find a specific reference is the Texas records in FOLD3 (both pre-war and wartime), but they're usually vague - indicating the man brought a 'revolver' or 'double barrel shotgun' with him (along with it's estimated value).

It it were me in 1861, this is the sort of firearm best left at home with the family for emergency use. I'd acquire something better by hook or by crook.
 

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
The Texas Rangers certainly acquired something more powerful through the expedient of writing letters to Samuel Colt!

The Texas Lone Star republic acquired all kinds of early breech loaders like the Jenks and also revolving rifles, shotguns, and Colt Paterson revolvers. Some of the Colt Patersons were apparently used in battle with the Shoshonean-speaking Nermernuh/ Comanche at the Battle of Bandera Pass, where they caused considerable surprise, apparently. The Colt Paterson was flimsy, lightly constructed, and temperamental. There is an anecdote, possibly true? :wink: that during the bloodbath at the Council House fight in 1840 in San Antonio, one of the desperate Comanche chiefs grabbed a Texan's Colt Paterson by the barrel and wrenched off the barrel from the frame, held on as it was by a metal wedge... The Texas Navy used the arm for officers and boarding parties and such, and so when news of acts of piracy, *ahem,* erm, naval battles in the Bay of Campeche between the Texas and Mexican navies reached the East Coast, Sam Colt had engravers develop a roll-engraving of the events on the cylinder of the .36 that ultimately became the 1851 Colt Navy.

In the case of Texas Ranger Walker (no, no! the original one! :O o:), he advocated for what became the massive .44 Colt Walker, and after product-improvement, the Dragoon series. A Comanche war shield was a couple layers of buffalo hide, often with shrunk rawhide on the front face, backed with prairie grass, and so the Colt Walker basically fired a .44 cal. carbine cartridge. It was the most powerful handgun in the world until some freakish prototypes at the turn of the 20th Century and the development of modern smokeless powder "magnum" calibers in the 1930s. It was subject to hard wear from the powder charge and became prone to catastrophic failure over time... Hence the Dragoon.

Bottom line: I'd agree with @Story that this was a long-in-the-tooth and greatly surpassed revolver by the time of the Civil War, particularly among people keenly interested in firearms and the latest, most innovative examples of gun technology. I'd expect to see almost no Colt Patersons used in the Civil War...
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
I would say yes, absolutely that the Paterson model saw use in the CW.

In the book, "Guns of the Old West: An Illustrated History" by Dean K. Boorman on page 20 there's an engraved and ivory gripped Ehler period Paterson supposedly owned by one Jorge Rivas who served and carried it in the Confederate Army. (Can't be too hard to figure out where he was from!)

Also on a personal note, an old friend I've reenacted with for years has often told me of a letter written by one of his ancestors, (I think from Louisiana), who when he enlisted in the Confederate Army had an old Paterson and when he realized he had no use for it, sold it to his Lieutenant for $20 bucks and thought it funny that the officer was so proud to have it. I've never seen the letter personally, but I think I've almost convinced my old friend to make me a copy or at least let me transcribe it. He says the old letter is awfully fragile, thus his protectiveness of it.

May not have been many, but there's two examples.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
The Paterson was thoroughly obsolete not a good design to begin with, pretty scarce, but many folks tend to forget that revolvers in generals, especially at the beginning of the war, were not very commonplace.

Sam Colt's patents and his vigorous litigation against anyone who tried to build and sell they're own model had ensured there's was no other revolver besides his sold before I think it was 1858, and the ability of industry at the time to make large numbers in a peacetime atmosphere, long distances to ship products, and so on meant very few people anywhere had revolvers. Lawmen, gamblers with pocket models, military and folks that needed a revolver in general for they're professions had them, but they were awful expensive for everyday folks who didn't need them coming off a farm and enlisting in the army.

I imagine a good number of Patersons saw use in the early days of the war, before they fell apart, were discarded, or otherwise replaced.
 

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
True that lots of single-shot pistols continued in use for quite some time... One of my favorite anecdotes about the Franco-Mexican conflict between conservatives and liberals and French imperialists fought largely the same years as the American Civil War was that French cavalry would only authorize officers to carry revolvers... enlisted and non-coms had to use single shot pistols!

I've certainly seen many cases in the Civil War where there were arms shortages of single-shot pistols like the Model 1842 being issued out.

I'm very glad to have learned about actual examples of Colt Patersons being used in the Civil War! "I stand corrected!"
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
True that lots of single-shot pistols continued in use for quite some time... One of my favorite anecdotes about the Franco-Mexican conflict between conservatives and liberals and French imperialists fought largely the same years as the American Civil War was that French cavalry would only authorize officers to carry revolvers... enlisted and non-coms had to use single shot pistols!

I've certainly seen many cases in the Civil War where there were arms shortages of single-shot pistols like the Model 1842 being issued out.

I'm very glad to have learned about actual examples of Colt Patersons being used in the Civil War! "I stand corrected!"
Interesting bit on the Franco-Mexican war. Did France have a standard single shot pistol?
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
The Paterson was thoroughly obsolete not a good design to begin with, pretty scarce, but many folks tend to forget that revolvers in generals, especially at the beginning of the war, were not very commonplace.

Sam Colt's patents and his vigorous litigation against anyone who tried to build and sell they're own model had ensured there's was no other revolver besides his sold before I think it was 1858, and the ability of industry at the time to make large numbers in a peacetime atmosphere, long distances to ship products, and so on meant very few people anywhere had revolvers. Lawmen, gamblers with pocket models, military and folks that needed a revolver in general for they're professions had them, but they were awful expensive for everyday folks who didn't need them coming off a farm and enlisting in the army.

I imagine a good number of Patersons saw use in the early days of the war, before they fell apart, were discarded, or otherwise replaced.
"The Paterson was thoroughly obsolete not a good design to begin with, pretty scarce, but many folks tend to forget that revolvers in generals, especially at the beginning of the war, were not very commonplace."

It wasn't his best design, I believe it was under powered and frail. Still, I'd figure someone might use them.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
With all that has been said and accepted about this weapon, the picture above in Post #1 by the OP sure seems to be in fine condition. I would like to know the caliber of it, and the length of the barrel for the sake of curiosity, and its weight. It appears to be a difficult draw from any holster, doesn't it!
Lubliner.
I wouldn't be surprised if its a worn reproduction.

If you think its difficult to draw from a holster, just try to cock the hammer and shoot it. Its a very weird handling gun.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
With all that has been said and accepted about this weapon, the picture above in Post #1 by the OP sure seems to be in fine condition. I would like to know the caliber of it, and the length of the barrel for the sake of curiosity, and its weight. It appears to be a difficult draw from any holster, doesn't it!
Lubliner.
Hey Lub, I pulled that pic from Google images, I don't have the specifics.
 

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Certainly it would seem that Colt Patersons were available from .28, .32, .36 and claims about a .40... I suspect the .40 may have been a .380" ball?

Having the "rear sight"--such as it was, really just a notch--on the nose of the hammer persisted for some time in Colt designs, even as product improvement took place.

Great thread! One that made me go: "I'll be durned!"
 
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