‘American Treasure’: Revolvers Belonging To Civil War Commander Sell For Millions

Photograph of an 1862 engraving of General Jeb Stuart and his cavalry near Culpepper Courthouse, Culpeper, Virginia.

A pair of revolvers belonging to Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant brought in over $5 million at an auction of historic guns in Illinois. 

The two Remington New Model Revolvers belonging to the Union commander were purchased for $5.17 million at an auction – a record sale for the Rock Island Auction Company (RIAC). 

“Grant’s Remington revolvers, numbered 1 and 2, are arguably the most significant firearms discovered from the Civil War. The set is covered with the artistry of L. D. Nimschke, one of the most renowned master engravers of the 19th century, and features grips carved with Grant’s portrait,” RIAC announced in a press release last week. 

For the very first and possibly last time, this pair of incredible Remington New Model Army revolvers presented to Commander of the Union Armies and Future President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant, are publicly available at auction.
Lot 106: https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/85/106

Widely credited with leading the Union to victory during the American Civil War, Grant also fought in the Mexican-American War, served two terms as president, and wrote a bestselling memoir with the help of iconic American author Mark Twain. 

The revolvers were gifted to the Union general after he took the key Southern city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Grant’s victory at Vicksburg, one of the Union’s most important victories in the Western theater of the war, took about one and a half months. The South’s defenders at Vicksburg held out from May 18, 1863, until July 4, 1863, and successfully repelled several attempts by the North to take the city even as the inhabitants faced starvation. 

The Union victory at Vicksburg gave them effectively total control of the Mississippi River and came just after Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s counter-invasion of the North failed at the battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. Although Grant would still not be given control of the Union armies until March 1864, any hope of Confederate victory had essentially been squashed by losses at Vicksburg and Gettysburg. 

Grant’s revolvers are seen as an “American treasure” and comparable to Abraham Lincoln’s Henry Rifle or George Washington’s flintlock pistols, according to RIAC. The auction company also noted that the guns “only came to light” in 2018 and feature Grant’s portrait on the handle.

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