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REMINGTON ARMY AND NAVY REVOLVERS

1861–1888

REMINGTON

ARMY AND NAVY

REVOLVERS

1861–1888

Donald L. Ware

University of New Mexico Press ALBUQUERQUE

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE

vii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ix

PROLOGUE

xi

INTRODUCTION

xxvii

Remington Historical Background

CHAPTER ONE

1

Remington Navy Revolvers Purchased by the

Army Ordnance Department

CHAPTER TWO

31

Remington’s First Revolver Contracts

CHAPTER THREE

73

Remington’s Second Army Revolver Contract

CHAPTER FOUR

91

Remington’s Third Army Revolver Contract

CHAPTER FIVE

123

Remington’s Fourth Army Revolver Contract

CHAPTER SIX

133

Remington Navy Revolvers Purchased by the

Bureau of Ordnance, U.S. Navy

CHAPTER SEVEN

191

Remington’s Civil War Rifle and Carbine Contracts

CHAPTER EIGHT

225

Metallic Cartridge Alterations

PREFACE

T he original concept for this volume came about some twenty-odd years ago. Jerry Landskron had just published his Remington Rolling Block Pistols. Jerry and I had devoted many

evenings in the den of my home, disassembling and studying the construction of dozens of Rolling Block Pistols. Jack Daniels usually participated in these meetings but did not interfere with the proceedings. Jerry’s diligent research at the National Archives, combined with our hands-on studies of the pistols, provided him with the nucleus for his volume on the Rolling Block Pistols. When his book came off the press, I was duly impressed. This was the kind of research a col- lector could rely on when looking for answers to questions about arms in his collection. Faron “Slim” Kohler, another of my gun show buddies, raised the possibility of doing research in the National Archives for information on Remington’s Army and Navy Revolvers. We concluded that if there were enough information available, we too might undertake a writing project. Due to the constraints of my employment, I sat on the sidelines while Slim and his wife, Lois, made their first foray into the massive records of the archives. Being novices at this type of research, they were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material offered but managed to retrieve enough to convince us that such a project was possible. The following year, Slim and I both made the pilgrimage. We decided before embarking that no information concerning any type of firearm would be ignored. We copied and tabbed (the method of identifying a source, which is then microfilmed) several hundred letters and reports to and from the Ordnance Department and Bureau of Ordnance. We devoted two weeks to this trip, working every avail- able hour the archives were open to the public. Then came the waiting. It seemed as if the microfilm would never arrive. When it did, there came another rash of processing the microfilm, making duplicate copies, and sorting all this information into files. We were elated as the story of the development and procurement of the Remington revolvers began to take form. There were still pieces of the puzzle missing however. These mandated further visits to the archives, and after each trip, more of the pieces fell into place. We originally opted to relate the story in two volumes. The first would deal with the Remington Navy Revolvers, as they had been the first produced. This was proceeding quite well when subsequent thinking prevailed. Both Slim and I were well into our golden years, and the possibility that the second volume would never be completed arose. Changing course, we decided that we could study both the army and navy revolvers in one volume. In retrospect, this seems to have been a good decision as the stories are entwined. A decision was made early on that Slim would provide the photography and I would write the text. I do not remember the reason for this, but considering that I had had a limited educa- tion (through the ninth grade), I was biting off a mighty big chew.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

E very author realizes that the final product of his labors would not have come to fruition without the generous help and assistance of others. Any literary work, whether fact or fic-

tion, is the accumulation of the efforts of many people. The following all have my gratitude. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during whose presidential tenure the National Archives and Records Administration were initiated and early records cataloged and filed by the Works Project Administration. Faron “Slim” Kohler, who devoted many hours of time researching National Archives records with the author. His assistance was sorely missed during the final preparation of this vol- ume. Slim’s death on March 26 , 2006 , was sad news to the gun collecting fraternity and particu- larly to his many friends in the Remington Society of America (RSA). He was an avid Remington collector, and his vast collection of Remington handguns is at present on exhibit at the Cody Firearms Museum. Jerry Landskron, who provided the initial impetus for conducting the research for this volume. Jerry’s book on Rolling Block Pistols is still the most informative book available on the subject. Jay Huber, for providing copies of documents and pictures from his collection and for shar- ing results of his research on the Beals Army and Navy Models. Roy Marcot, for sharing pictures from his vast collection of Remington memorabilia. Roy is also an accomplished author and researcher. He currently has two books on Remington history and products in print and is currently working on two more. He is perhaps better known to members of the RSA as editor of the Remington Society of America Journal . Edward Hull, for providing research materials and valuable insights to the U.S. Army’s Ordnance Department. Ed is also an avid researcher and has published many articles on antique rifles and carbines in various periodicals. Charles Pate also provided some missing research documents and photos. He too is a great researcher and is the author of two firearms books and has a third one on the way. Charlie is doing great work in continuing the Springfield Research Service started by Frank Mallory sev- eral years ago. Drury Williford, for donating precious time away from his own many literary endeavors to carefully edit my manuscript. Drury’s field of interest is combustible cartridges. He has authored several works on that subject for gun-related periodicals. Fred Ream, for always being there when I need to explore some aspect of Remington history or discuss a Remington revolver. A very good gun show buddy. All the great people at the University of New Mexico Press who were instrumental in the final preparation and printing of this volume. There are others too numerous to mention who have made minor contributions to this work. I heartily thank them, each and every one.

ix

PROLOGUE

T he majority of the research material referenced in this book was located in the records of the National Archives of the United States, Washington, D.C. This was not simply a mat-

ter of choice but was dictated by necessity. Inquiries to the Remington Arms Company and public libraries in Ilion and Utica, New York, yielded little information on arms produced by E. Remington & Sons during the Civil War era. I have studied other works on the Remington firm and arms and I now realize that some of these are little more than fiction. The production figures and dates quoted therein are not reliable. Many of the daily business records of both the Army Ordnance Department and the Navy Bureau of Ordnance have been preserved in the archives, and these records must be searched to gain an accurate picture of the relations between the military and E. Remington & Sons. I have spent considerable time perusing these records. For the past two decades, I have studied, ana- lyzed, and cross-referenced the results of my labors. I now feel competent to tell the story of Remington’s Army and Navy Revolvers with a respectable degree of accuracy.

ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT, U.S. ARMY

The records of the Ordnance Department are found in the “Textual Records of the Office of the Chief of Ordnance.” I feel it appropriate to present a brief history of this department, and to do so, I have taken the liberty of using the introduction from the National Archives’ inventory of these same records:

The Ordnance Department was established as an independent bureau of the Department of War by an act of Congress approved May 14 , 1812 . Before that time ordnance had been procured for the most part by the Board of War and a secret committee during the Revolution and, after 1794 , by an officer appointed by the President under the Department of War and in charge of military stores. The Ordnance Department lost its independent status under an act of March 2 , 1821, when it was “merged in the artillery,” but regained it under an act of April 15, 1832 . Thereafter it retained its independent footing in the War Department or Department of the Army until 1962 . With the reorganization of the Department of the Army in that year, the Ordnance Department was disestablished on August 1, 1962 , and its functions were transferred to the United States Materiel Command. In spite of several reorganizations of the Ordnance Department during its history, its functions remained the procurement of ordnance and equipment and the distribution of them to the Army, the maintenance and repair of equipment, and the development and testing of new types of ordnance materiel.

PROLOGUE Figure 1 Chief of ordnance, Gen. James Wolfe Ripley. (Courtesy: National Archives) 1862 , the

PROLOGUE

Figure 1 Chief of ordnance, Gen. James Wolfe Ripley. (Courtesy: National Archives)

1862 , the postwar congressional investigations of 1867 found that the chief of ordnance had destroyed Ordnance Department documents. Ripley alleged that they were his personal papers. George Douglas Ramsey was born in Virginia, February 21, 1802 . He graduated from West Point in 1820 and served as an artillery officer until 1835, when he transferred to the Ordnance Department. As a captain, he served as commander of several arsenals until the start of the Civil War, when he was promoted to major. On August 3, 1861, the same day Ripley was promoted to brigadier general, Ramsey was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He commanded the Washington Arsenal from 1861 to 1863 and was promoted to full colonel on June 1, 1863. A logical successor to Ripley, he was promoted to brigadier general and made chief of ordnance on September 15, 1863 (figure 2 ). Ramsey’s tenure in that position was very short; he retired from active duty on September 12 , 1864 . On Dyer’s recommendation, Lincoln created a special post and Ramsey was assigned as “Inspector of Forts and Seacoast Defenses on the Atlantic and Lake Coasts.” He was brevetted major general in 1865 and continued his inspection duties until 1870 . Ramsey lived to the age of eighty and died on May 23, 1882 . Alexander Brydie Dyer was born in Virginia on January 10 , 1815. He graduated from West Point in 1837 and served as an artillery officer for only a year before transferring to the Ordnance Department. He later served as chief of ordnance for the American forces during the Mexican War. After this duty, he commanded several arsenals and in August 1861 became superintendent of the Springfield Armory.

PROLOGUE Figure 3 Chief of ordnance, Gen. Alexander Brydie Dyer. (Courtesy: National Archives) mention of their

PROLOGUE

Figure 3 Chief of ordnance, Gen. Alexander Brydie Dyer. (Courtesy: National Archives)

mention of their arms in this volume. I should note, however, that their control and use of White’s patent for the bored-through cylinder was detrimental to the government during the war (see chapter 8 ). Some large caliber metallic cartridge revolvers were developed prior to and during the early part of the war; these were futile efforts, as most were patent infringements. When White sought to extend his patent in the late 1860 s, the military vigorously opposed his efforts, and the patent subsequently expired. Samuel Colt was issued his first revolver patents in 1836 ; his ensuing efforts to produce revolvers have been documented many times. By the late 1840 s, he had established his own armory in Hartford, Connecticut, and was soon manufacturing a variety of these arms. The War Department had made minor purchases of Colt’s revolvers in the early 1840s, but the first serious consideration of Colt’s arms as a military weapon occurred when the War Department approved the purchase of one thousand revolvers for the use of the “Regiment of Mounted Riflemen” during the Mexican War. These were the Whitneyville-Walker models, large six-shot .44 caliber revolvers with a nine-inch barrel, weighing four pounds, nine ounces (figure 4). Their very size and weight precluded their use as a sidearm. They were issued in pairs and carried abreast in holsters mounted across the saddle or horse’s neck. First issued in 1847 , they received favorable attention, which led to requisitions from officers of other mounted units. Colt received further orders, but by this time he had redesigned his revolvers and was turning out a

PROLOGUE

PROLOGUE Figure 7 Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver. (Author’s photograph) smaller version, designated the Dragoon model

Figure 7 Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver. (Author’s photograph)

smaller version, designated the Dragoon model (figure 5). The new model was still in . 44 caliber, but the size and weight were trimmed. The revolver now weighed four pounds, two ounces, still a massive weapon. The department took delivery of seven thousand of these from 1848 to 1853. In 1855 Congress authorized the army to organize two new cavalry units. Their command- ing officers insisted that their troops be armed with Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolvers (figure 6 ). The navy model was .36 caliber and weighed only two pounds, ten ounces, making it a practical weapon to be carried in a belt holster. Accordingly, the revolver was easily accessible to the trooper, whether mounted or on foot. In army parlance, the navy model became known as a “belt pistol” in order to differentiate it from the larger Dragoon or “holster pistol.” This terminology remained in use well after the army adopted the use of smaller .44 caliber revolvers that were also capable of use as belt revolvers. For the next five years, the .36 caliber “belt pistols” became the standard revolver of the army. From 1855 to 1859, the department ordered approximately seventeen thousand Colt Model 1851 Navies. In 1860 Colt introduced a smaller model of army revolver. The size was once again trimmed, making it ideal for use as a holster pistol. Shortly into the Civil War, the Ordnance Department gave Colt their first order for the 1860 army models, later they received contracts for the same revolvers and eventually delivered over one hundred thousand before losing their contracts. There was no serious competition for the army’s revolver needs during this period; conse- quently, Colt was able to price his goods at whatever the market would bear. The price paid for the first five thousand Walker and Dragoon models was $ 25. 00 . In 1851, after receiving no orders for a nine-month period, Colt solicited an order from the department, offering to furnish revolvers at $ 24 . 00 , which was the prevailing price until the expiration of his basic patents. When Colt learned that the department had ordered a small lot of the North-Savage revolvers for $ 20 . 00 each in 1857 , he lowered the price to $ 18 . 00 per revolver for the Model 1851 Navies. The 1860 Armies purchased early in the war were again priced at $ 25. 00 (figure 7 ), but after the Owen-Holt Commission decisions in 1862 , Colt accepted $ 14 .50 , and the second contract again lowered the price to $ 14 . 00 .

PROLOGUE

The introduction of revolvers into the army was not without some resistance from the “old guard,” that is, military officers still willing to rely on large caliber single-shot percussion pistols (figure 8 ). The department was still receiving these from private contractors and from 1846 to 1855 took delivery of approximately forty-three thousand. A large part of these were then issued to states for militia use. Officers, who disparaged the use of revolvers, had some minor justification for their com- plaints. They cited the numerous incidents of multiple discharges, occasions when more than one chamber would fire at the same time. This was a common occurrence before the advent of combustible cartridges in the late 1850 s. Another benefit derived from the adoption of com- bustible cartridges was the discontinuance of powder flasks and bulk powder. Flasks were not requisite accoutrements in early Civil War revolver orders, and by 1863, bullet molds had also been recognized as superfluous and were no longer required. Prior to the outbreak of the war, the department made only minor purchases of revolvers other than Colts. However, the department was anxious to place other revolvers in the field, pri- marily for evaluation and comparison with the Colts. In 1857 58 , the department ordered small lots of Savage and Adams revolvers (figures 9 and 10 ). None of these were in production when ordered; the time lapse between placing an order and taking delivery was, in some cases, as much as two years. With no urgency in receiving these arms, the department was very lenient in grant- ing leeway in the delivery time. The difficulties fa cing a manufacturing firm attempting to mass produce revolvers were formidable; by comparison, producing a muzzle-loading rifle, musket, or carbine was quite simple. Manufacturing a revolver required more sophisticated machinery, and even with the use of this machinery, problems were plentiful and complex. Alignment of cylinder chambers to barrel, alignment of rammer to cylinder, and indexing the cylinders man- dated skills not required when assembling a single-shot, muzzle-loading arm. The ultimate goal was machine-produced interchangeable parts, which required little or no hand fitting. Even though Remington began manufacturing revolvers in 1856 , they had difficulties with these aspects of production well into the war. Colt had been producing revolvers for a sufficient length of time to have surmounted most of these, but other revolver manufacturers faced the same dif- ficulties as Remington. In 1860 an army board recommended that service revolvers be . 44 caliber and have an eight- inch barrel. The unprecedented demand for revolvers at the start of hostilities made it impossi- ble for the department to immediately comply with this prerequisite, but by 1863, . 44 caliber was the requirement on all future Civil War contract revolvers. Fortunately for the government, Colt’s patents on revolvers expired in 1856 . During Colt’s lifetime, E. K. Root had the opportunity to study the inventor’s attempts at manipulating the government, and early in the war, he continued to use these shady practices after Colt’s death. We can only imagine the consequences had Colt’s patents remained in effect during the war. While Colt seems to have been a mechanical genius and adroit at influencing highly placed peo- ple, he certainly was no patriot. The department’s early procurement practices were to create problems in supplying ammu- nition for revolvers. One of the first of these that I noted was in providing percussion caps for Colt’s revolvers. The nipples of the Colt 1851 Navy Revolvers were not the same size as those of

xix

Sir:

PROLOGUE

The defects mentioned in your letter of the 5th inst. regarding the several kinds of revolvers now in service and the difficulty of using the same percussion caps for all, have been referred to Maj. Thornton, Inspector of Contract Arms, with instructions to have them corrected hereafter. 4

This was one of the more minor problems facing the department as the war continued. The multitude of different types of patented arms that the department eventually purchased created a logistical nightmare in supplying the correct ammunition. Shortly before the war, some members of Congress became alarmed at the procurement practices of the War Department and enacted a law that forbade the purchase of patented arms without authority of law; this law essentially prohibited the purchase of any repeating arm. It also forbade the purchase of arms without advertising for bids. This act was passed on June 23, 1860 , but the department did not advise ordnance officers of its passage until September 14 when the following circular was sent from the Ordnance Office to the commanders of all arsenals:

(Circular) The accompanying Extract from the Act of 23rd June, 1860 , in relation to purchases and contracts, and prohibiting the purchase of arms and military supplies is communicated for your information and government. Respectfully &c. H. K. Craig, Col. of Ordnance

Extract

From “an act making appropriations for the legislative, executive, and judicial expenses of Government for the year ending the thirtieth of June, Eighteen hundred and sixty one.” “Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, that all purchases and contracts for supplies and services in any of the departments of the Government, except for personal services, when the public exigencies do not require the immediate delivery of the article or articles, or performance of the services; shall be made by advertising, a sufficient time previously, for proposals respect- ing the same. When immediate delivery or performance is required by the exigency, the arti- cles or services required may be procured by open purchase or contract at the places and in the manner in which such articles are usually bought and sold, or such services engaged between individuals. No contract or purchase shall hereafter be made unless the same be authorized by law, or under an appropriation adequate to its fulfillment, except in the War and Navy Departments, for clothing, subsistence, forage, fuel, quarters or transportation, which however, shall not exceed the necessities of the current year. No arms nor military supplies whatever which are of a patented invention, shall be purchased, nor the right of using or applying any patented invention, unless the same shall be authorized by law, and the appropriation therefore explicitly set forth that it is for such patented invention.” Approved June 23rd, 1860 5

PROLOGUE

events were to prove Craig correct, and patented arms, both revolvers and carbines, were soon to be a top priority with the Ordnance Department.

BUREAU OF ORDNANCE, U.S. NAVY

I now present a brief description of the Bureau of Ordnance, the navy’s counterpart of the army’s Ordnance Department:

The Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography was established by an Act of Congress, August 31, 1842 , which abolished the Board of Navy Commissioners and directed the Secretary of the Navy to apportion the Board’s functions appropriately among the five Navy Department “Bureaus” authorized by the Act. On July 5, 1862 , the Bureau’s hydrographic functions were transferred to the newly formed Bureau of Navigation, and its title was changed to the Bureau of Ordnance. The functions of the Bureau have varied from time to time. It is now responsible for the design, manufacture, procurement, issue, maintenance, and efficiency of all offensive and defensive naval arms and armament, including net appliances, depth charges, mines, torpedoes, armor, pyrotechnics, and buoys, and, except as specifically assigned to other authority, optical and other devices and material for the control of guns, torpedoes, and bombs. It also provides for the upkeep, repair, and operation of naval gun factories, ordnance plants, torpedo stations, proving grounds, powder facto- ries, ammunition depots, and mine depots. In connection with the procurement of reliable ordnance material, the practice was early adopted of assigning Naval Officers as Inspectors of Ordnance to foundries, factories, and Navy yards to test and prove articles manufactured under contract. 7

Chiefs of the Bureau of Ordnance

Through 1900

Capt. William Montgomery Crane Capt. Lewis Warrington Capt. Charles Morris Capt. Duncan Nathaniel Ingraham Capt. George A. Magruder Commodore Andrew Allen Harwood Rear Adm. John Adolphus Dahlgren Capt. Henry Augustus Wise Rear Adm. John Adolphus Dahlgren Rear Adm. Augustus Ludlow Case Commodore William Nicholson Jeffers Commodore Montgomery Sicard Commodore William Mayhew Folger

September 1, 1842 –May 18 , 1846 May 25, 1846 –November 12 , 1851 November 13, 1851 –March 20 , 1856 March 21, 1856 –September 23, 1860 September 24 , 1860 –April 23, 1861 April 24 , 1861 –July 22 , 1862 July 23, 1862 –June 24 , 1863 June 25, 1863 –June 1, 1868 August 22 , 1868 –July 23, 1869 August 10 , 1869 –April 9 , 1873 April 10 , 1873 –June 7 , 1881 July 1, 1881 –January 13, 1890 February 12 , 1890 –January 2 , 1893

PROLOGUE

Department (see figure 7 ). These were known as “boarding pistols” and were issued only to “jacks” (seamen). The navy had two methods of procuring small ar ms during this era: letter orders and con- tracts. The most common that I noted were letter orders. The awarding of contracts seems to have been limited to those arms that were procured in large numbers. Prior to and during the war, the navy ordered revolvers in small numbers; orders exceeding five hundred arms were rare. The meager navy budget allocation for small arms seems to have necessitated this procure- ment method.

In the following narrative, I have functioned more as an editor than as author, presenting orig- inal letters and documents from the National Archives as I found them, in chronological order, adding comments where appropriate. Not all of the original correspondence has been located; accordingly, in many instances, I have had to read between the lines. In order to retain the reader’s interest, I have taken the liberty of deleting the dates, addresses, salutations, and clo- sures of most correspondence, except in instances where I felt these were necessary to complete the story.

INTRODUCTION

Remington Historical Background

A ny study of the arms of E. Remington & Sons would not be complete without some history of the Remington family. After due consideration, I have decided to present an address given by Albert N. Russell before the Herkimer County Historical Society over one hundred years ago. When my good friend and author Jerry Landskron was preparing the publication of Remington Rolling Block Pistols in 1979 , I encouraged him to consider inclusion of this address in his book. He heeded my advice, and the address was first presented there. Russell was first hired as a Remington employee in 1861, shortly after the death of the founder. His employment continued throughout the postwar years, as he served in several responsible positions. In his roles as resident of Ilion and Remington employee, he came to be personally acquainted with the Remington brothers and their business associates, as well as with most of the residents of the small village. He was one of the court-appointed administrators of the Remington firm during their bankruptcy and subsequent sale in 1888 . The astute reader will note that Russell made some errors in dates and figures in his presen- tation. I attribute much of this to his faded memory. Overall, his address gave an excellent his- tory of the village of Ilion and the Remington family.

“ILION AND THE REMINGTONS”

An Address by Albert N. Russell

Delivered to the Herkimer County Historical Society, September 14 , 1897

This history of Ilion as a village, both as to its origin and growth up to the present decade, is so inti- mately connected with the lives and achievements of the Remingtons as to warrant the combination in the title to this paper, as well as to forbid any attempt at a treatment of the first independent of the last. The proper limits to a paper to be read at a meeting of this society, however, confine me to the statements of such historical facts regarding the growth of the village as are coincident with, and inseparable from, the progress of the Remington works. In referring to the various enterprises and industries, which comprise in part—the history of “the Remingtons,” I shall not treat each in its reg- ular sequence, nor in detail, but shall endeavor to make a brief record, informally, of that which may

REMINGTON HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

and along the creek for some distance, then again taking to the hills on the west and back to the creek at Cedarville. This made the senior Remington’s property on the creek a suitable place for a blacksmith’s shop and gave such control of the stream as to enable him to utilize it as a water power for pro- pelling machinery. The foregoing is written as prefatory to the formal introduction of Eliphalet Remington the sec- ond, as the founder of Ilion and its industries and to enable me to correct some errors in tradition and written history. The first relates to his birthplace, which has been given as Litchfield, while in fact he was 7 years old when his parents emigrated to that place from Connecticut. Other errors will be manifest as I proceed. The initiatory step to his mechanical and business career was the forging of a gun barrel for his own use, which was done in the blacksmith shop referred to. In Beer’s History of Herkimer County, it is stated that this occurred in 1816 and when he was 19 years old. If that was his age, it must have been in 1812 . If in 1816 , his age was 23, for he was 7 years old in 1800 . From all the information attainable, I am led to the conclusion that the blacksmith shop referred to was in fact a forge having power furnished by a waterwheel, and that the welding of scrap iron into bars and forging the bars into crowbars, pickaxes, sleigh-shoes, plowshares and points was car- ried on there as well as horse-shoeing and general repair work for farmers, and that the industry was installed by Eliphalet Remington 1st, who as we have seen was a mechanic, and who doubtless was well aware of the mechanical genius of his son and wisely provided for his establishment in a con- genial business. The association of the father with the son, and his active participation in his enterprises contin- ued till the property, where the great manufactory in Ilion now is, was purchased in 1828 , and his life was sacrificed in the birth of that establishment. On the 22 nd day of June in that year, while engaged in hauling the timbers which entered into the construction of the first shop, he [Eliphalet Remington I] was thrown from the load by the cant- ing of one of them and fell in such a position that the wheel of the wagon ran over him and injured his spine so seriously that death resulted after 5 days—on the 27 th. Whether young Eliphalet Remington forged his first gun barrel and with his own hands pro- duced the finished gun because of his father’s unwillingness to buy him one, as stated in existing histories, or because of an ambition to achieve such a mechanical success is a question of minor interest, but as the initiatory to an immense manufacturing business sending its products to the ends of the earth, and the founding of a village ranking among the first in the valley of the Mohawk, it becomes of great interest and a striking illustration of the wonderful developments of this age or of our locality. The quality of this first gun was such as to create in the neighborhood a demand for others of like efficiency. In response to this demand, barrels both for rifles and shotguns were forged, and appliances devised and put into use finishing exterior and interior, ready for stocking and completion. In those days, no factories for the manufacture of guns were in existence, but in every important village or town was to be found a gunsmith, whose business was by primitive methods to make and repair firearms for those living in the vicinity, the barrels for the same being imported from England

xxix

REMINGTON HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

equipped with water wheels and trip hammers, to be used especially for welding and forging gun barrels. This has always been known as the “Stone Forge.” The demand for the Remington gun barrels had, by this time, become so extended that an organized shipping department became necessary, wh ere a supply of locks, rough gun stocks, butt plates, patch boxes, and other trimmings were kept, so that the gunsmith could obtain his complete outfit. For many years and till the making of guns passed from the gunsmith to the factory, this department was in charge of Mr. A. C. Seamans, father of C. W. Seamans of typewriter fame. In this manner, the business was conducted by Mr. Remington with such changes and improve- ments as experience suggested, till in 1839 , he entered into a partnership with Benj. Harrington for the purpose of making the manufacture of iron and such articles as were not properly connected with the gun business, a separate enterprise. For this purpose, they built a dam on Steele’s Creek and diverted the water into a pond or reservoir on the land now owned by the heirs of John Beihn, near the present residence of William Harrington, and about a mile south of the Ilion works, erected thereby the necessary buildings and equipments for making bar iron from scrap and, from the iron produced, made the utensils commonly used by the farmers in those days, also mill spindles and such other irons as were used in grist and sawmills. To furnish the scrap iron used, teams were employed to traverse the surrounding country and gather it in. The field of supply embraced all the surrounding counties, including Oswego. Iron ore was also drawn from the Clinton ore beds in Oneida County. To furnish the fuel, the timber was cut from the surrounding hills and burned into charcoal. The firm also built and operated the saw mill known as “Harrington’s Mill,” the ruins of which were burned about three years since. This forge was operated until the manufacture on a large scale and in proximity to the supplies of ore and coal rendered it unprofitable, and today, nothing remains to mark the spot but a remnant of the diverting dam and the bands of the pond, the be d of which is a productive market garden. In the meantime, the sons of Mr. Remington were attaining maturity. Philo, who was born October 31, 1816 , became of age in 1837 ; Samuel, born April 11, 1818 , in 1839 ; and Eliphalet, born November 12 , 1828 , in 1849 . Philo was educated in the common schools and at Cazenovia Seminary, Samuel at common schools and at Wilbraham Academy. Eliphalet attended Little Falls academy and Cazenovia Seminary, in addition to the home schools. Philo remained with his father and became master of all branches of the mechanical work, while Samuel tried his fortunes for a time in railroad construction in the West, meeting with so little suc- cess that he soon returned to Ilion, where, for a time, he conducted business by himself, opening a store on the canal bank in 1845. In 1845, war with Mexico being imminent, our government entered into contract with Ames and Co., of Springfield, Mass., for the construction of several thousand carbines, the invention of one William Jenks. For some reason, this company desired to be relieved of their job after having com- menced to execute it, and Mr. Remington purchased the contract, together with such machinery as they had adapted to the work. The equipment was meager, but combined with his own facilities, enabled him to execute the work to the satisfaction of the government. Mr. Jenks, the inventor, came on to supervise the work and afterwards built the brick house on the north side of the canal, now known as the John A. Rasbach homestead.

REMINGTON HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

auxiliary to the water power. Work was pushed night and day, but the requirements of the Government could not be met in full, and a building was rented in Utica and equipped for pistol work, which was carried on there for a short time and then brought to Ilion. Orders were also received for large numbers of the regulation U.S. Springfield musket, which could only be made after the erection of several large buildings, with corresponding increase of expensive machinery and the necessary tools and fixtures. Under the pressure of these new demands upon his energies, the elder Mr. Remington was pros- trated and on August 12 , 1861, his remarkable career was ended, the second sacrifice to an enterprise of which communities and nations were to be the beneficiaries. [The actual date of death has been established as July 12 , 1861. At the time of his death, the Ordnance Department had not conveyed any orders or contracts to the Remingtons.] His burial place was in the village cemetery, in a spot selected by him while surveying the land first purchased in Ilion.

  • I cannot speak of the personalities of Mr. Remington from the standpoint of an acquaintance,

his death occurring a few weeks before I became a resident of Ilion, but as gathered from others only. In stature he was tall, of muscular build and capable of great endurance. His manners were gentle and kindly, but his resolutions were firm, and obedience was enforced in the execution of his plans. His education was such as was afforded by the local schools, but he was a careful reader and became a well informed man. His habits were strictly temperate, his morals pure. As a neighbor he was always kind and obliging. In every movement to promote the interests of the village, he was a leader and coworker. He was a man of sterling integrity and had the implicit confidence of his employees, who always sought his advice and counsel. In politics, he was an old line Whig until the advent of the Republican Party, with which he early identified himself. In his religious views, he was liberal rather than sectarian, and he contributed generously for building a Union Church to be free for the use of all denominations, regarding that the best way to promote the religious interests of a community as small as Ilion then was. A strict economist, he wasted neither time nor money, but I am persuaded that he was not greedy, and that an ambition to be rich was far from being his impelling motive. With men of his type, it seems to be an impulse to do, to develop, to produce and improve, which has no need for avarice as a motive power or self-

ishness as an incentive to economy. He evidently had but little taste for business as conducted by office machinery. It has been said of him that “he carried his office in his hat.” This saying was doubtless inspired in part by his custom of carrying his current letters and papers in the tall hat, which he commonly wore, instead of in the inside pocket as many of us do. In looking over his books, I find none of those special accounts now so generally kept, such as construction, repair, tools and machinery, etc., nor of interest or expense accounts, bills receivable and payable, and other entries serving in any way to indicate his financial condition or business profits. An unusually retentive memory seems to have enabled him to carry under his hat a greater part of that which is usually confided to the keeping of the ledger.

  • I am able to pronounce no greater eulogy upon his character than by saying that during the 36

years I have lived in Herkimer County, I have never heard him spoken of except in terms of respect

and commendation. The management of the manufacturing department was devolved upon Philo, the oldest son, while Samuel, the second, assumed a position corresponding with that of general agent, which made

REMINGTON HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

that yielded to no discouragements, they worked on till in 1867 the government of Denmark adopted the gun and entered into a contract for 42,000 stands of arms. Mr. Samuel Remington had now become the representative of the house in foreign lands, where he remained till 1877. The works were run night and day, and the contract successfully executed. In 1867 , an order was also received from the Naval Department of our Government for 12 , 000 rifles, which were duly delivered. Spain came in the same year for 85, 000 . Next, in 1868 , came Sweden with an order for 30 , 000 , followed in 1867 [sic ] by Egypt, with a call for 50 , 000 . In 1870 , France and Germany being engaged in a war for which France was ill prepared; that government came to Ilion for help. Unlimited orders for arms were given. Neither buildings, machinery, nor tools had sufficient capacity to meet the demands. Large additions were made to every department and the working force increased till 1,300 to 1, 400 men were employed, a large number of whom were skillful mechanics. The regular output of rifles was 800 to 1, 000 per day, besides great numbers of pistols. So excellent was the management and so perf ect the equipment and organization that the prod- uct per day for each man employed was largely in excess of that attained in the Springfield Armory during the Civil War or of any other arms factory in the world. A most marvelous exhibition of capacity and skil lfully directed energy was made during the lat- ter period of this undertaking, when the output of completed rifles was 1, 200 to 1,300 per day and of revolvers about 200 . The record of such achievements needs no commentary to establish the reputa- tion of Philo Remington as one of the most capable manufacturers our country has produced. The work was done under the contract system, being divided among 30 or more capable contractors, under the direction of a superintendent and the necessary foremen. The aggregate number of arms furnished France was 145, 000 . The execution of these contracts had resulted in large profits by which the debts of the corporation were liquidated, and the termination of the transactions with France left them with a surplus, which was deemed sufficiently large to warrant a dividend which was made approximating $ 2 , 000 , 000 . 00 , to which smaller sums were subsequently added. Previous to this, Col. Watson C. Squire married a daughter of Philo Remington and became prominently connected with the business management, occupying the position of Secretary and Treasurer and by virtue of his position, the financial executive. He also acquired the ownership of a portion of the stock of the company, which he retained for a time and then exchanged with Philo Remington for real estate in Seattle, Washington. He was succeeded by Eliphalet Remington in the office of Treasurer. Incidentally it may be stated that by appointment of President Arthur, Col. Squire became Governor of the Territory of Washington and later by election, U.S. Senator from the new state, which position he held for two consecutive terms. In 1872 , the State of New York, having adopted the Remington rifle for use by the National Guard, made a contract for 21, 000 which were duly furnished. I think it is to be recorded, at this point, that in the spring of 1870 , a board of Army officers appointed to test the various arms, which had been invented and were seeking adoption by our Government, met at St. Louis, Major General Scofield being chairman. About 50 different models of rifles were submitted to the most severe tests, in which the Remington was victorious and the com- mission reported decidedly in its favor. This report was fully endorsed by General Sherman, the head of the Army. This was supposed to have been conclusive and to have established the Remington as

REMINGTON HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Miss Flora, daughter of Benjamin Carver; three sons, Carver, Eliphalet and Frank, now of Chicago, and one daughter, Jennie, now Mrs. Prettyman, and also, I believe, is residing in Chicago. My acquaintance with Samuel Remington was less thorough than with his brothers but sufficient to enable me to estimate with some degree of correctness his qualities. In stature he was of medium height, with an inclination to corpulency. His complexion was fair, his hair dark, and a pleasant expression of the eye made his presence agreeable. I think he was an ambitious man, and that he had a greater desire to make money for personal ends than either of his brothers. He taxed his physical and mental powers to the point of utmost endurance and chafed and worried over delays, whether unavoidable or the result of negligence on the part of others. His integrity was unquestioned, and his success in negotiating contracts with foreign potentates testifies to his ability in that line. During the Franco-German War, France not only gave him unlimited orders for arms of his own company’s make, but made him purchasing agent of all the arms and munitions which he could procure in this country, a commission of great responsibility, involving transactions amount- ing to many millions. He was not in harmony with his brothers in their religious convictions and seemed but little interested in church or social affairs. He was a friend of the common school and a liberal supporter of all schools to improve the village schools. In politics, he was a Republican but was too busy a man to devote his time to political work. In the settlement of his estate, his administrators sold his stock and all his interest in the busi- ness of the corporation to his brother Philo, who then became chief owner as well as manager of the business. Following the adoption of the breech-loading rifle as an infantry arm and the systematic man- ufacture of machinery with interchangeable parts, all the first class governments of the world, and some of the lesser ones, made haste not only to equip their armies with breech loaders, but to estab- lish plants for their manufacture. Some adopted the Remington, others models devised by their own inventors. All sought to make themselves independent of foreign countries in time of war, as well as to promote manufacturing industries within their own domains. The Turkish government while not included in the first class is among the most warlike but too near barbarous and destitute of skill in the mechanical arts to be competent to manufacture her own arms, remained an open field for their sale. At one time, after protracted negotiations, the Remingtons were at the point of closing a contract with that government for 400 , 000 rifles when a party, nonofficial but occupying a position of great influence with the Sultan, stepped in with a demand for a bonus of 50 cents per gun, which the company refused to pay, with the result that they lost the job. Another effort to secure an order, the failure of which was of great effect in determining the future of the company, will be referred to hereafter. One of the principal and most embarrassing features of negotiations for government contracts was the almost universal existence of corrupt and secret influences, which never could be measured nor dealt with in the daylight. With the corruptionist; the merits of things to be bought or the price to be paid by the governments are secondary to private plunder. The refusal of the Remingtons to pay trib- ute to these scoundrels should ever be given honorable mention in the review of their business career. The limitations thus put upon the sale of their products made the continued residence of Samuel abroad unnecessary and led to his return as before stated. It had also made patent the fact that new

REMINGTON HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Nations had confided their destinies to keep their keeping, resting [the] powers of their armies for offense and defense upon the effectiveness and durability of their arms, thus making them responsible for much to be recorded in the current history of the world. In the conduct of this great business, the Remingtons were without the light of experience, were not schooled in finance or diplomacy, and, intensely burdened with the cares and responsi- bilities of the present, were unable clearly to solve the extremely difficult problems which the future presented. During the sojourn of Samuel abroad, as well as after his demise, the burden of care and respon- sibility rested principally upon the shoulders of Philo, Eliphalet being led by his tastes, as well as con- victions, of duty to devote much of his time and energies to religious and philanthropic enterprises. That serious mistakes were made will not be denied, but those who indulge in uncharitable criticism will do well to ask themselves if, under such conditions, they could have made as cred- itable a record. In making a statement of the motives which actuated Mr. Philo Remington during the later years of his business career, I write from the standpoint of a personal friend and confidant and with- out the necessity for resorting to theory or conjecture. After the point was reached when the debts of corporation were liquidated and an ample sur- plus was in hand, he told me that every selfish impulse prompted him to throw off the cares and responsibilities of business and spend the remainder of life in restful retirement, and that but one consideration prevented him from yielding to this impulse. A large village had grown up around their works, the habitants of which were dependent upon them for a livelihood, having invested their savings in homes there. In an endeavor to ensure the future prosperity of these, he felt compelled by a sense of duty to labor on and, if need be, to die in the harness. Anticipating a decline in the demand for military arms, he could see no way for the accomplish- ment of that for which he felt in duty bound to labor, except through a change from the manufac- ture of the implements of war to those of peace. The effort to accomplish his noble purposes was marked by the introduction of the manufacture of various utensils to be used for domestic and business purposes, to which reference will be made hereafter. Some of these essays proved slightly remunerative, others disastrously unprofitable. One, eminently successful, failed to attain full fruition during his life and serve as a reward for his per- sistent self sacrifice. But it cannot be said that his efforts were in vain. The great Typewriter Works, the offspring of his endeavors, the finest manufacturing plant in Central New York and the pride of Ilion, has given to her people that for which he wrought and to them a legacy of prosperity. I have referred to the Agricultural Works, which was a prominent industry in the village but was installed previous to the period just considered. The installation of this business and the erection of the plant was by a joint stock company incorporated August 12 , 1864 , the first trustees being Philo Remington, Eliphalet Remington, D. D. Devoe, James Sayre, Henry H. Fish, and Francis Kernan, the last three of Utica. The business of this company was to manufacture farm implements. The plant erected was extensive and the equipment elaborate—making horse-plows, the invention of Stewart Perry of Newport, and mowing machines under license from the Walter A. Wood Co., and the Sayre Cultivator Tooth, constitute the principal work during the first years with plows, etc., a minor department.

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REMINGTON HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

shouldering the losses and refunding the subscriptions of outside stockholders. The manufacture of sewing machines, however, was not abandoned. Mr. Jones was relieved from his position and the work placed under the supervision of John Hoefler. Under his direction, improvements were made which placed it in the list of first-class machines. In the meantime, the basic patents on sewing machines had expired, and the field was opened for an almost ruinous competition, which quickly followed, rendering the chances for profits exceedingly meager. In 1882 , Messrs. Charles Harter, Addison Brill, John Hoefler, John V. Schmidt, and O. B. Rudd formed a company called the “Remington Sewing Machine Agency,” with Mr. Brill as manager, and from that time, all sales were made through their agency. This proved to be a practicable arrange- ment, and one that, if earlier adopted, might have averted heavy losses. In investigating the causes leading to the ultimate failure of the company, I found $ 734 , 000 . 00 charged to profit and loss, and I have reason to be lieve other items, not included, make the loss on account of sewing machines a round sum of $ 1, 000 , 000 . The wonderful discoveries of the use of electricity, for lighting the streets of cities and villages, seemed to open a field in which their facilities for manufacturing could be profitably employed, and electricians were employed, who devised dynamos and lamps together with the other appliances nec- essary to an equipment, and the required patterns and tools were made. The village of Ilion was partly lighted by an experimental plant within their works, with such effectiveness as to induce its adoption in Schenectady, Rome, and Oswego, and in some villages, but in this, as in the attempt to introduce their sewing machines, they were confronted with the opposition of the powerful rush, Edison and other competitors, and no permanent success rewarded their efforts. Profit and loss account again registered to the bad. Omitting reference to other minor essays, the typewriter now engages our attention. In the year 1873, Mr. James Densmore, with whom George N. Yost was associated in some manner, came to Ilion to induce the Remingtons to enter into the manufacture of an instrument by that name, of which Densmore was in part inventor and also controlled other patents used in the device. The typewriter he brought with him was crude in its construction, with its parts so disproportionate and poorly made that it barely served as the basis for a model, which could be manufactured by machinery. But it would write and embodied the fundamental charac teristics of the machine now of worldwide fame and utility. By many, it was regarded as a plaything, with little prospect of ever becoming a necessity in the conduct of business correspondence or for engrossing legal documents. The Remingtons, after careful deliberation, concluded that the merits of the invention war- ranted them in embarking in its manufacture and entered into a contract giving them the right to make and sell exclusively. The work of remodeling and putting the machine into a practical and symmetrical form and adapting machinery and tools to its manufacture required much time and large expenditures. This work was confided largely to W. K. Jenne, who has superintended the manufacture to this date and to whose practical genius it is indebted for many of its most meritorious features. With this, as with other products, the most difficult problem was how to sell. The public must be convinced of its practicability and educated in its use. Liberal sums must be paid for advertis- ing and agencies established and maintained at great cost. To be a good manufacturer is one thing,

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REMINGTON HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Happily, the privilege to be noble and generous is not exclusive. Clarence W. Seamans, with a liberality prompted by his patriotic regard for his native village, in 1893, presented it with a beauti- ful “Free Public Library” building, erected at an expense of $ 30 , 000 . As the result of public subscrip- tions, supplemented by generous gifts of books by Mrs. Seamans and others, the library now contains about 10 , 000 volumes with a yearly circulation of 42 , 000 volumes. The management is by a board of trustees appointed by the village authorities. The present incumbents being Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Seamans, James Conkling, B. B. VanDeusen, John A. Giblin and Misses Cornelia Seamans and Harriet E. Russell. Mr. Seamans also gives generous aid to other public institutions in the village. Mr. Benedict, without the inspiration of nativity, has won the gratitude of the people of Ilion by large gifts of money, notably to the Presbyterian and Baptist Churches, enabling both to own fine churches free from debt. But regard for your patience bids me hasten to close this paper, with a record of events relating to the waning career of the Remingtons. The undertakings, to which I have referred, rapidly depleted their treasury and reduced them to the ranks of debtors. Various schemes were resorted to in order to bridge them over what was hoped to be temporary difficulties. Among them were the issuance of bonds as security for loans. Another and more hurtful expedient was the introduction of what was known as “the order system” by which employees were permitted to purchase their supplies of the merchants, giving in payment orders on the company, who, in return, issued their notes payable in one, two or three months. This, like all other unsound financial methods, simply wrought confusion and financial disorder. Not anticipating such a reversal of conditions, both Philo and Eliphalet had felt at liberty to make disposition of the large sums received from the dividends referred to, much of what was devoted to educational, philanthropic and religious institutions (notably to the Syracuse University). Some large investments were also made, which brought no returns. Philo was also seri- ously embarrassed by yielding to the solicitations of W. S. King of Minneapolis for financial aid involving large amounts, just at the time when he most needed all his available resources for the pro- tection of his own interests. The reward he received for his self-sacrifice was an illustration of selfish ingratitude, which my pen is incompetent to depict. With their private resources thus depleted, they were not in a condition to relieve the situation by the use of personal means. Apparently bewildered by their environment, they entrusted their financial management to John Brown, who, less competent than themselves, led them in a kiting downhill race. Just then, hopes were revived by the appearance of Turkey in the market as a negotiator for 600,000 stands of infantry arms. Her experts had reported favorably upon the Remington Lee maga- zine rifle, and hopes were indulged that the contract could be obtained, and thereby the company extricated from its financial stress. Seeking thereby to liquidate the most pressing demands and gain time for obtaining more permanent relief, early in March, 1886, they sold all their interest in the type- writer business to Wyckoff, Seamans, & Benedict as heretofore stated, receiving therefore, I think, $186,000. This move failed in its purposes. Some creditors were paid from this fund; all wanted to be. At the juncture, Mr. John J. Hannas came to the front with a scheme for an extension. While his scheme was deemed chimerical by some and of doubtful practicability by others, the company deter- mined to try it, and in pursuance thereof, conveyed a majority of their capitol [sic] stock to a com- mittee consisting of Addison Brill, John L. McMillan and myself, who were to assume the

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REMINGTON HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

ceased to beat. His stricken companion, with his remains, made her cheerless journey to their home, where impressive funeral services were held conducted by the pastor of his church, assisted by former pastors and those of other denominations in the village. The house and spacious grounds were crowded with the people of his own and surrounding vil- lages, who joined the sad procession as he was carried by former employees to his last resting place in the village cemetery. Never was man more sincerely respected in life or mourned in death. The personality of Philo Remington was peculiarly attractive. In stature, he was above the medium with every physical feature well developed. A massive head crowned with a luxuriant growth of waving black hair, which lost none of its beauty as time tinged it with silvery gray and white, gave harmony to the physical endowment. A sympathetic nature beamed through kindly expressive eyes, with which every facial delineation was in harmony. Modest and unassuming in his manners, he led without pomp and controlled without force. With wonderful equipoise and self-control, he maintained alike in prosperity and adversity an unruffled temper and the bearing of the true gentleman. In politics, Mr. Remington, like his father, was first a Whig and afterwards a Republican. For many years, he was President of the Village, but aside from this, he neither sought nor held office. His life was an exemplification of consistent Chr istian character, with a membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, to the interests of which he contributed with unstinted generosity. On December 28 , 1841, Philo Remington married Miss Caroline A. Lathrop, who survives him and resides in Ilion. Their children were Ida, wife of Watson C. Squire, and Ella, now the wife of Howard C. Furman of New York City. Mr. and Mrs. Squire have two sons, Philo R. of New York City and Shirley of Seattle, Wash., and two daughters, Aldine and Marjorie, at present residing with their grandmother at Ilion. Ella has been twice married, first to E. P. Greene of Amsterdam, N.Y., who died in December, 1876 , leaving three sons, Frederick Remington, William Kimball and Harry P., now deceased. Eliphalet, the only surviving member of the family whose business history I have so imperfectly sketched, still resides in his native village. As has been seen, he was less prominent than his brothers in the management of the business. A zealous Christian, he has devoted much of his time and means to the advancement of the cause of education and of temperance and religion. Like his brother, he possesses a fine physique and pleasing manners. He enjoys, to an unusual degree, the respect and esteem of all who know him. If I am privileged to name his greatest fault, it is that in his zeal in behalf of others he is too forgetful of his own interests. His marriage was to Catharine, daughter of Louis Stevens of Ilion. They have two daughters, Jessie, now Mrs. Wm. I. Calder of Harrisburg, and Bertha, wife of T. Elliott Patterson of Philadelphia, Pa., and one son, Philo, married and living in New York City. I have already made this paper so voluminous as to forbid an attempt to bring the history of the Village of Ilion up to date. Suffice it to say that the present population is about 5, 000 and is slowly increasing. The proximity of the villages of Frankfort, Mohawk, and Herkimer, which are connected with it by an electric street railroad, enables many of the workmen employed to reside in those places and to that extent retards the growth of Ilion, which, if isolated, would doubtless have attained a 50 % larger growth.

xlv

CHAPTER ONE

Remington Navy Revolvers Purchased by the Army Ordnance Department

T he year of 1861 began with the nation in turmoil; by January 12 , four states had seceded from the Union and rumors of war were rampant. The Union had a standing army of less than fif-

teen thousand men, and the officer ranks had been decimated by the resignation of many whose loyalties were south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The federal government had made only token preparations for war, as officials still nurtured hope of avoiding outright hostilities. This was the situation when rebel forces fired on Fort Sumter on April 12 , 1861. President Lincoln issued a call for seventy-five thousand volunteers on April 15; initially, manpower was not a problem, as enlistment offices were swamped with volunteers. Arming the troops proved to be a more diffi- cult task, as the arsenals remaining in Union hands were poorly stocked. After the loss of Fort Sumter, the War Department made little immediate effort to secure additional arms. During May and June 1861, the Ordnance Department ordered only 6 , 000 car- bines from Sharps, 32 ,500 sabers from Ames, and 7 ,300 revolvers from Colt, who at that time was the only arms manufacturer with facilities capable of mass producing military-sized revolvers. This lax attitude was engendered by the common misconception in the North that the rebel forces would soon be brought to bay. It was not until the Confederate victory at Bull Run on July 21, 1861, that the department began to purchase arms in volume. Eleven days after the war began; Ripley replaced seventy-year-old Craig as head of the department. On July 31, Ripley advised Secretary of War Simon Cameron of arms the depart- ment was in the process of procuring. The following is an excerpt from the report:

Statement of Arms recently Purchased, Ordered and Contracted.

July 5th, 11th, & 13th, 4 Contracts July 21st Howland & Aspinwall July 22 nd Maj. Hagner—Purchase July 25th T. Poultney

100 , 000 17 , 000 1, 400 12 , 400

U.S. Rifle Muskets Enfield Rifle Muskets Enfield Rifle Muskets foreign Rifle Muskets

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY Figure 11 Remington Armory circa 18 5 4 .

Figure 11 Remington Armory circa 1854. (Courtesy: Roy Marcot)

a loading lever, with two notable exceptions: the army and navy models with William Elliot’s ill- fated loading lever and arbor pin system. In October 1860, Remington published a price list announcing the introduction of a navy-size revolver “which will be in the market next spring” (figure 15). Perhaps Remington anticipated the demand for a larger caliber revolver in the event of war. If so, their timing could not have been bet- ter, as the Beals Navy Revolver first appeared shortly after the war began (figure 16). The exact date of introduction is difficult to ascertain, but after reviewing related correspondence, I feel comfort- able in estimating that Remington’s Navy Revolvers were first produced in April or May 1861. Remington’s first attempts at utilizing Beals’s patent on the navy models proved to be impractical. They had used it successfully on the Third Model Pocket Revolvers, but when adapted to the larger frame and longer barrel of the navy revolvers, there were difficulties in retaining the arbor pin in the frame when the loading lever was lowered. This error was evi- dently not discovered until the revolvers were in the final stages of assembly, and after parts for approximately two hundred revolvers had been milled. Even though this lot of revolvers was somewhat less than perfect, Remington assembled the parts and sold the revolvers to the trade. Unwittingly, Remington had produced one of the true rarities in the Remington collecting field; the highest serial number reported for this variation is 174 . The most notable feature of this revolver is the cylinder arbor pin, which has only one “ear” or “wing” to facilitate extraction. When identifying this variant, collectors refer to these revolvers as the “Single Wing Beals Navy” (figure 17 ). With an estimated production of less than two hundred, this revolver is extremely rare and examples are seldom seen in dealers’ inventories. A change in design was mandated; this was accomplished by enlarging the diameter of the arbor pin, adding a second wing, and milling a flat section on the bottom of the forward end of

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY Figure 14 Remington-Beals Third Model Pocket Revolver. (Courtesy: Roy

Figure 14 Remington-Beals Third Model Pocket Revolver. (Courtesy: Roy Marcot)

the pin for approximately two-thirds of the pin’s length. This created a shoulder near the rear of the pin, which engaged a corresponding shoulder on the rear of the loading lever when the lever was in the lowered position. This combination of parts effectively prevented the complete removal of the arbor pin from the frame, unless the loading lever was first removed (figure 18 ). There has been some debate among students of Remington design concerning Fordyce Beals’s involvement in this new design. It is the author’s opinion that he was not, as this arrange- ment was not patented until 1863, after the firm had reverted from the Elliot to the Beals system. It was apparently an afterthought, and the patent was assigned to Samuel Remington. There were other simultaneous minor changes in design; I shall discuss these elsewhere in this volume. Once Remington had perfected this new arbor-locking system, they renumbered the Navies again starting at serial number 1. This created a duplication of serial numbers in the early navy models. Duplication of serial numbers has been noted in later production Remington percus- sion revolvers, but these numbers were usually assigned to revolvers that received some special attention, such as being cased, engraved, or both. The serial numbers assigned to these latter revolvers are usually one, two, or three digits, and in a few rare instances, a letter of the alpha- bet was used instead of a number. Remington now had a large frame revolver for which there was an unprecedented demand from commercial arms dealers (figure 19 ). The Remingtons thought that they could be of bet- ter service by furnishing their arms to the government, and they immediately took steps to invite the military’s interest. In late June or early July, a representative from Ilion made a per- sonal visit to the commander of Watervliet Arsenal, which is near Troy, New York. This resulted in the following letter, in which is found the first mention of Remington revolvers in the department’s files:

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY Figure 17 Remington-Beals Single Wing Navy Revolver, serial number

Figure 17 Remington-Beals Single Wing Navy Revolver, serial number 147. (Author’s collection)

Watervliet Arsenal July 2 , 1861 Colonel J. W. Ripley United States Corps of Ordnance. Sir, Mr. J. [sic ] Remington, of the firm of E. Remington & Son, of Ilion, New York, has shown me a pistol of their make, which I think deserves the consideration of the ordnance department, and I have therefore advised him to present the pistol in person to you for examination. Its combination of parts is very simple. I am Sir, Respectfully, Your Obt. Servant W. A. Thornton Brevet Major U.S. Army, Com’g Arsenal 2

William Anderson Thornton’s name will be readily recognized by collectors of martial arms (figure 20 ). Thornton was a career army officer with many years of service as com- mander of armories and arsenals, during which he also served as an inspector of small arms for the department. His cartouche is found on many arms purchased by the government prior to the Civil War. On Wednesday, July 17 , the Herkimer Democrat published an account of the recent death of Eliphalet Remington Jr.:

Death of Eliphalet Remington This highly respected gentleman, and head of the extensive manufactory of fire arms, at Ilion, in this county, died at his residence on Friday last. At a meeting of the employees of the Armory, a Series of resolutions of respect were adopted, and a badge of mourning is to be worn for the usual time. His age was upwards of sixty years. 3

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY Figure 19 Remington-Beals Second Variation Revolver. Inset depicts large

Figure 19 Remington-Beals Second Variation Revolver. Inset depicts large lever latch post. (Author’s collection)

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY Figure 19 Remington-Beals Second Variation Revolver. Inset depicts large

Figure 21 Col. Peter V. Hagner, inspector of contract arms. (Courtesy: National Archives)

Figure 20 Col. William A. Thornton, inspector of contract arms. (Courtesy: National Archives)

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY Figure 19 Remington-Beals Second Variation Revolver. Inset depicts large

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

suspect that it was Samuel Remington, who was the firm’s envoy and negotiator after the death of Eliphalet Remington Jr. The other two sons had assumed different positions in the company—Philo managed plant operations, and Eliphalet III assumed the clerical duties.

Sir, We have the honor to inform you that we will accept of your order to furnish your depart- ment with five thousand revolver pistols similar to sample shown you, but of the army size of calibre, at $ 15. each. 8

Ripley tendered the second order on the following day:

Gentlemen, You will please make for this department, and deliver with all possible dispatch, ten thou- sand rifles with sword bayonets, and appendages complete. These rifles are to be .58 inch calibre, and to have a three leaf rear sight, and a cupped ramrod, with sword bayonet stud similar to those of the Harpers Ferry rifle model of 1855, in other respects of the pat- tern of the rifles without bayonets heretofore made by you for this department. Please send a sample rifle to this office as soon as possible for examination, and to serve as a guide in the inspection of the 10 , 000 to be delivered by you. These rifles are to be subject to the regular inspection, and to be paid for on certifi- cates of inspection and receipt, at twenty dollars each, appendages and sword bayonets included. Please signify your acceptance or non-acceptance of this order, and in case of acceptance lose no time in preparing and delivering the arms. 9

On August 6 , the company sent a response to the above order, indicating that Remington’s representative had returned to Ilion. Doubtless, this was done to obtain home office concurrence before acceptance:

Sir:

We have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of 30 th ultimo, and to say that we accept the order contained therein for ten thousand rifles, model of 1855, with sword bayonets and appendages complete. 10

From later testimony before the Owen-Holt Commission, I gathered that the Remingtons were disappointed in the limited quantities of these orders and took no immediate attempts to comply with either. Neither the revolver nor rifle orders were contracts, and neither were ful- filled as specified. Both were later modified by the Owen-Holt Commission on Ordnance, sub- stituting contracts for the original letter orders. Although several thousand navy revolvers would be delivered to the Ordnance Department, ten months would pass before Remington furnished the first lot of 850 . 44 caliber Beals Army Revolvers (figure 22 ). The reason Remington delivered navy revolvers in lieu of army models becomes quite apparent when all the facts are examined. In 1861 their armory was still fairly small, and they

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

how far they have been executed. You will then proceed to complete them, and will for this purpose, visit Springfield, Mass. and such other places as may be necessary to enable you to attend to the execution of the orders Maj. Hagner has given, of the instructions you have received here, and of those which may hereafter be sent to you. Your station while engaged on these duties, will be Springfield, Mass., where you will take post. 12

On the following day, Ripley notified Hagner of his new duties:

Sir:

It is necessary that you should be at New York, or its immediate vicinity, at all times, so as to take advantage of every arrival of arms, and be able to purchase from first parties. For this reason Lt. Balch has been ordered to proceed to New York to confer with you in relation to the character and extent of your duties other than those at New York and Newark, and to relieve you from their further execution. You will please give him all the information necessary to enable him to perform the service to which he has been assigned.

On August 6 , Ripley telegraphed the following to Hagner:

Buy all the swords, pistols and carbines suitable for Cavalry and all arms suitable for infantry that you can find and send them here at once. Urge all the contractors for car- riages, equipments, and artillery harness and to increase exertions, and send everything here as soon as it is finished.

At the same instance, he sent a second telegram to Thornton at Watervliet Arsenal:

Push work on 12 pdr. and other field carriages, and harness; and send them here as soon as possible. The need is most urgent!

He also dispatched a third telegram to Balch, now at the Springfield Armory:

Urge all the contractors forward. Work nights, and put on more hands. The need is most urgent! 13

Remington made their first delivery of navy revolvers to the department on August 17 , 1861. The following provide examples of correspondence concerning the deliveries of October 5 and 12 , 1861 . On October 11 , Remington billed the department for four hundred Navies:

Sir, We beg leave to hand you herewith our account for 400 revolvers (Navy size) forwarded to Lt. Col. G. D. Ramsey, Comdg. Washington Arsenal (ordered by Major P. V. Hagner). We shall be glad to receive returns for same as soon as practicable. 14

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

The Remington Armory at Ilion The armory at Ilion, with its large number of employees, is the source of great pros- perity to that thriving village. About 150 arms are now being turned out. A new addi- tion will soon turn out 100 more, and a branch at Utica another 100 , making the daily production of rifles, pistols, and carbines about three hundred and fifty. A writer describing these works says the machinery is kept in constant operation, except on Sundays, by relays of hands. The system which prevails throughout is admirable. Division of labor is carried to the ultimate. Scores of machines are at work, each upon a single process. Not only are the distinct parts of the weapon made by sep- arate machines, but each process upon ea ch distinct part is the result of a machine designed for that particular work. As the parts pass through the long array of opera- tions, they take form and polish and beauty, and, gathered into the assembling room, they unite in the perfect weapon. For it is the beauty of this system, that all the parts of the weapons of the same class, are interchangeable; so accurate is the workmanship and so perfectly does the machinery repeat, day after day, its delicate manipulations. Here are the three gentlemen—Messrs Samuel, Philo, and Eliphalet Remington— bred to the manufacture of arms, from boyhood, under a father himself skilled to the work. They have gathered the best labor for leading positions that the country affords, and find that no more of thoroughly skilled artisans can be obtained for love or money. Whatever forty years of experience could devise in the way of machinery, they have built and procured. Their army and navy pistols are commended by the ordnance bureau at Washington, and are largely used by the Union Forces. The elder Mr. Remington, now deceased, was the inventor of steel barreled guns, first adopted by the United States Government when Jeff Davis was Secretary of War. They are now manu- facturing large carbines for the Government, and have a contract of some magnitude for rifles. 19

This article is typical of newspaper reporting in this era. The author has distorted the facts, grossly exaggerating the present and anticipated production of the Ilion Armory. Remington was producing approximately fifty revolvers a day, or twelve hundred a month. The company was not making rifles or carbines at that time; they did not deliver their first rifles until April 1863. The only information of importance was mention of impending construction of an armory in Utica. During the latter part of 1861, the War Department came under public scrutiny for award- ing contracts and orders for goods and services in violation of the Act of June 23, 1860 . Secretary of War Simon Cameron resigned in January 1862 (figure 23), and Edwin M. Stanton succeeded him (figure 24 ). On March 10 , Stanton issued a General Order that suspended deliveries on all arms orders and contracts that had been granted by the department. He also established the Commission on Ordnance and Ordnance Stores to “audit and adjust all contracts, orders and claims on the War Department in respect to Ordnance, Arms and Ammunition.” 20 Stanton appointed Robert Dale Owen and Joseph Holt as commissioners, vesting with them the author- ity to rescind, modify, and renegotiate contracts to protect the interests of the government. Shortly after the commissioners convened, they requested the services of an ordnance officer to

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY Figure 25 Pettingill Army Revolver. (Author’s photograph) assist them

Figure 25 Pettingill Army Revolver. (Author’s photograph)

assist them in their investigations, and the department assigned Hagner to this duty. Thereafter, Crispin received Remington’s revolvers for the department. On April 7 , Hagner sent an inquiry to Ripley on behalf of the commission. On the follow- ing day Ripley replied as follows:

Sir, In answer to your letter of the 7th inst. asking for certain information on behalf of the “Commissioner on Ordnance and Ordnance Stores,” I have to say that no trial of the revolver made by Messrs. Rodgers Spencer & Co. has ever been made at the directions of this Dept. Nor is there any information in the files of this office regarding the merits of the weapon. Neither has there ever been a trial of the Remington pistol, as far as I am aware, been made by this Dept. From the examination which I have been able to make of the samples of these two pistols, I am not aware that the first named possesses any advantages over the latter as a military weapon. I enclose herewith, a report of a Board of Officers that estab- lished the pattern of the present Colt’s Army pistol, for the perusal of the Commission. 21

The first revolver, described by Ripley, was act ually a Pettingill, then being manufactured by Rogers and Spencer (figure 25). The department later acquired a small quantity of these. In this reply, Ripley also forwarded the following report of a board of officers convened in 1860 to examine Colt’s Improved Army Revolver (Model 1860 ).

Washington Arsenal, D.C., May 19 , 1860 The Board of Officers appointed by Special Order No. 94 , “to examine and report on cer- tain improvements recently made in Colt’s Revolving firearms,” having made the exami- nation as directed, submit the following Report:

The improvement, as claimed by Mr. Colt, consists in diminishing the weight of his Revolver known as the Dragoon or Holster Pistol, and retaining the same calibre, thereby

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

With these modifications, the Board are satisfied that the New Model Revolver, with the eight inch barrel, will make the most superior cavalry arm we have ever had, and they recommend the adoption of this New Model, and its issue to all the mounted troops. The Board having concluded the duty to which it was ordered, adjourned “with- out delay.”

  • J. E. Johnston, Acting Inspector General

W. H. Emory, Major First Cavalry

Wm. Maynadier, Captain of Ordnance

  • J. W. Davidson, Captain First Dragoons 22

The Commission on Ordnance was in session for almost three months hearing testimony regarding arms contracts and orders that had been approved during Cameron’s tenure. Samuel Remington testified before the commission several times; statements made during his final appearance before the commission are of particular interest:

Before the Commission, April 24 , 1862 Mr. E. [sic] Remington appeared before the commission, and being examined under oath, says: I am engaged in the manufacture of arms, rifles and revolvers. Our revolvers are made after a patent; those heretofore delivered are upon Beals’ patent; those we propose to make in the future are in accordance with Elliot’s patent. The patented part in both cases, is the mode of releasing the cylinder from its position and the plan of holding in the base pin or axle of cylinder. I have examined the various revolvers now in use—our arm, the Savage, Starr, and Colt’s, and as a mechanic familiar with the mode of such work as is required upon these arms, I should say that the Colt’s and our own would cost about the same to make, with equal economy in the management; and the same may be said of the Savage and Starr. (The Savage and Starr would cost about the same.) As to the Colt’s arm, we have examined it with care, and have decided that we could make it quite as cheap or cheaper than our own; but we do not think the plan as good as ours. I have not examined either of the others (Savage or Starr) with a view to compare the amount of work, but have handled them frequently, and have formed the opinion expressed upon my general knowledge and experience. I think that the difference of cost between our own and Colt’s and the others (Savage and Starr) would not be far from one dollar. In regard to the actual cost of our revolver, I wish to state that we have to pay for two patents. Our profits must therefore be proportionately larger in this, considering the patents, than we would require on rifle or musket work. I will say that should we be dealt with as others have been, receiving a large order for pistols, we would be glad to make them at $ 12 ; I mean, by a large order, about 30 , 000 to 40 , 000 . We can, if the government wish it, turn out 200 to 250 per day by stopping the manufacture of navy size. Knowing positively that we have a certain large number to make, we can do it at the least cost. 23

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

James T. Ames, Mass. Arms Co., Chicopee, Mass., Knapp Rudd & Co., Penn. Foundry, Pittsburg, Pa., R. P. Parrott, West Point Foundry, Cold Spring, N.Y., A. Alger & Co., South Boston, Mass.

Respectfully &c. (Signed) James W. Ripley, Brig. Gen.

War Department, March 19 th, 1862 The Chief of Ordnance is authorized to receive as within recommended such arms as may be manufactured by the within named parties under existing orders approved by the Secretary of War.

(Signed) P. H. Watson, Asst. Secy. of War Respectfully &c., Jas. W. Ripley, Brig. Gen. 25

Two days later on March 24 , Ripley sent another inspection directive to Whiteley at the New York Arsenal:

Sir, The order of the 10 th March, 1862 directing that no arms be hereafter purchased or received without special authority from the Secretary of War, does not suspend the inspection of arms of any kind, ready for delivery by parties making them under orders or contract, but only their receipt. 26

Remington was not included on the list of manufacturers that were authorized to maintain deliveries. The firm continued to manufacture and soon had an excess of revolvers. In early April, Remington contacted Hagner to inquire when the department would resume accepting revolvers. Hagner, in turn, contacted Ripley with a request that the department be allowed to receive their revolvers. Hagner’s request, with an affirmative endorsement, was forwarded up the chain of command. Stanton granted Hagner’s request, and on April 15, Ripley immediately noti- fied Crispin:

Sir, You are authorized, until further orders, to receive from time to time, from Messrs E. Remington & Sons such of their Navy revolvers as they may have ready to deliver under existing orders. It may be well to add in the certificate you may give for the Revolvers, that they are received under special authority of the Secretary of War of 15th April 1862 .

27

Remington was also advised of this decision on the same day:

Gentlemen, I have to acknowledge the reference to me of your letter to Major Hagner of 4 th, inst. & to inform you that Capt. Crispin has been instructed to receive from time to time, until

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

the 10 th inst. Your duties in the contract service will probably be of so responsible and onerous a character, as to preclude the devotion of any of your time to other duties, and you will therefore have no official connexion whatever with the Armory. In view of the wide extent of your business, it is deemed a matter of importance that you should be sta- tioned in as central a location as possible and Springfield or its vicinity will probably afford the most conveniences for the discharge of the duty. It may be necessary however to order you to this place in a few days, on duty connected with the proposals for small arms to be opened at this office on the 16 th inst., and shall then have the opportunity of instructing you further on this subject. 31

Thornton’s appointment as inspector of contract arms initiated a new concept for the department. The inspection and acceptance of contract arms had previously been delegated to several ordnance officers who were usually commanders of ordnance posts or arsenals based near the contractors. These duties required the accepting officer to be absent from his regular post for various periods of time, and such interruptions were proving to have a disruptive influ- ence on the officer’s regular duties. Thornton’s appointment to this designated post would now relieve him of all other duties, leaving him free to devote his full attention to supervise the inspection and acceptance of arms for the department. Very few arms were actually inspected by ordnance officers for the remainder of the war; this duty was relegated to civilian personnel assigned from the Springfield Armory. After the original suspension of revolver deliveries, Remington sold fifteen hundred Navies to Tyler, Davidson & Company, who, in turn, sold them to the department. The date of this pur- chase was not entered into the department’s ledgers until May 19 . On the same day, Remington advised Ripley:

With regards to the revolvers . 44 & .36 Calibre we can now furnish with some 125 to 150 per day same as sample left at Ordnance Department. We expect to be able to substitute the wrought iron frame in place of the present (malleable) in the course of sixty days or sooner if possible. Our increased facilities are such as will enable us to double our present product of revolvers. 32

We shall see that the Remingtons were still overly optimistic about the amount of arms that they could supply to the government. The department had evidently objected to the type of iron Remington was using to manufacture revolver frames; Remington was assuring Ripley that wrought iron would soon replace malleable iron. Also on May 19 , Ripley sent the following letter to Crispin:

Sir, I send you today by mail some blank certificates of inspection, to be issued for all kinds of Ordnance Stores except cannon and powder, for which special forms are provided. These certificates will be exclusively used in all cases where stores are received on contracts or orders covering prospective de liveries, whether given by this office or yourself for all that

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

Once again, we see the press’s propensity for e xaggeration. Had all four contracts awarded to Remington (two for revolvers and two for rifles) been filled as specified, they would have totaled only $ 630 , 000 . On June 14 , one day after the new revolver contracts were executed, Remington con- tacted Ripley about the navy revolvers that had been delivered to Crispin prior to the con- tract date:

Sir, We have the honor to hand you herewith Certificates of Inspection received from Capt. Crispin for 100 Revolvers delivered in March last, also Certificates for 3 , 900 Revolvers since delivered, the price for which Capt. Crispin omits to mention in the Certificates, as the instructions received by him when the order was given us to resume the delivery of the Revolvers did not state the price and in the absence of any definite instructions respecting the same, he does not feel at liberty to insert the price. It is, we presume, understood by the Department that the price of the arms, delivered prior to the final suspension of the order (notice of which we received from Capt. Crispin under date of 24 th May), is to be the same as for those previ- ously ordered. If approved, please have the Certificates filled up accordingly. We shall be glad to receive returns for the same, as early as practicable .

37

Ripley responded to this on June 21 :

Gentlemen, Your letter of the 14 th inst. including two sets of certificates is received. Your atten- tion is called to the necessity of sending to this office the Original and Duplicate Certificates. I enclose herewith the Triplicate for the 100 Navy revolvers received

prior to the 10 th of March, 1862 , for which please return the duplicate to this office and this account can be settled. A careful reading of the note on the 2 nd page of the Certificate will prevent such mistakes. With regard to the Certificate for 3050 Navy Revolvers and 850 Army Revolvers, purchased by Capt. Crispin under authority from this office dated April 15 th, 1862 , Capt. Crispin has been directed to give you the price which he or Major Hagner had agreed to pay for such articles prior to the General Order of the Secretary of War of March 10 th, 1862 , those arms being considered as purchased in the open market at their market value. I return herewith both Certificates for you to return with the

third to him. You will observe that you have sent the duplicate and triplicate .

38

On this same day, Ripley again contacted Crispin, advising him of the price to be paid for these revolvers:

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY Figure 26 Condemned barrel. Marking has been enhanced for

Figure 26 Condemned barrel. Marking has been enhanced for clarity. (Author’s collection)

army revolvers, some 7 , 250 navy and 850 army revolvers were delivered. In addition to the revolvers received from Remington, the department simultaneously purchased 4 , 586 Remington Navy Revolvers from commercial arms dealers for a total of 11 , 836 Beals Model Navies. In my examination of ordnance records of revolvers issued to Union troops, I found a reference to Beals Navy Revolver, Serial No. 549 . This indicates that the government was acquiring the Beals revolvers shortly after their introduction. I have examined the “Report of the Quartermaster General of the State of Ohio” for 1862 and find Remington Navy Revolvers recorded as follows:

Remington Navy Revolvers on hand Jan. 1 st

455

Remington Navy Revolvers issued by U.S.

721

Remington Navy Revolvers purchased

600

These navy revolvers would have been Beals models with the possible exception of the 721 issued by the Ordnance Department. With a total production of approximately fifteen thousand Beals Navies, well over thirteen thousand were purchased by the army, navy, or state militias. After Remington completed the 1861 revolver orders, they immediately focused on fulfilling their new contracts for five thousand navy and twenty thousand army revolvers. Sources other than the Ordnance Department files have been examined in my efforts to verify early purchases of Remington Navy Revolvers. Most of these consist of figures furnished to congressional investigating committees. These sources are not consistent with the original records and, therefore, not reliable. I have used the department’s ledgers to compile the Remington Navy Revolvers purchased by the Army Ordnance Department. The contractor or sellers were listed in alphabetical order in the original ledgers. I have taken the liberty of condensing these entries and arranging dealer purchases in chrono- logical, rather than alphabetical, order. Also the deliveries of Remington have been sepa- rated from those of commercial dealers. All of these revolvers were considered “open market” purchases.

REMINGTON NAVY REVOLVERS PURCHASED BY THE ARMY

29

Palmer, Batchelders, Boston

1861

Dec.

31

100

Remington Navy Revolvers

18

50

1,850

00

Purchase

Tyler, Davidson & Co.

1861

Dec.

31

246

Beals Navy Revolvers

22

50

5,535

00

Purchase b

Schuyler, Hartley, Graham

1862

Jan.

8

300

Remington Navy Revolvers

16

50

4,950

00

Purchase

Cooper & Pond, New York

1862

Jan.

10

400

Beals Navy Revolvers

16

50

6,600

00

Purchase

Tyler, Davidson & Co.

1862

May

19

1,500

Remington Pistols

16

61

24,915 00

Purchase c

Remington & Sons

  • E. Aug.

1861

17

300

Navy Revolvers

15

00

4,500

00

Purchase

Remington & Sons

  • E. Oct.

1861

5

400

Navy Revolvers

15

00

6,000 00

Purchase

Remington & Sons

  • E. Oct.

1861

12

400

Navy Revolvers

15

00

6,000 00

Purchase

Remington & Sons

  • E. Dec.

1861

18

500

Navy Revolvers & Appendages

15 0368

7,518

40

Purchase d

Remington & Sons

  • E. Jan.

1862

3

500

Navy Revolvers & Appendages

15 0368

7,518

40

Purchase

Remington & Sons

  • E. Jan.

1862

25

500

Navy Revolvers & Appendages

15 0368

7,518

00

Purchase

  • E. Feb.

Remington & Sons

1862

18

500

Navy Revolvers & Appendages

15 0368

7,518

40

Purchase

Remington & Sons

  • E. Mar.

1862

7

500

Navy Revolvers & Appendages

15 0368

7,518

40

Purchase

Remington & Sons

  • E. Mar.

1862

15

500

Navy Revolvers & Appendages

15 0368

7,518

40

Purchase

Remington & Sons

  • E. Mar.

1862

18

100

Navy Revolvers & Appendages

15 0368

1,503

68

Purchase

Remington & Sons

  • E. Mar.

1862

31

3,050

Navy Revolvers & Appendages

15 0368

45,862 24

Purchase e

Remington & Sons

  • E. Mar.

1862

31

850

Army Revolvers & Appendages

15 0368

12,781

28

Purchase

Source: National Archives, Record Group 156, Entry 83, “Purchases of Cannon, Ordnance, Projectiles and Small Arms.”

a This order submitted to the Owen-Holt Commission as a contract. Price paid is unknown.

and Colt pistols.

c Total of 4,586 Beals Navy Revolvers purchased from commercial dealers.

b This number not confirmed. Ledger entry lists this purchase as 549 Beals

d Unit price reflects price of revolver and appendages.

e Final deliveries

on Ordnance Department’s order of July 29, 1861. Date of these entries was March 31, but this date was a clerical error. Authority to resume taking deliveries

was not granted until April 15. Correct date was May 31.

CHAPTER TWO

Remington’s First Revolver Contracts

I n this chapter I shall discuss Remington’s difficulties fulfilling the first two revolver contracts awarded them by the Ordnance Department on June 13, 1862 . The Remingtons would discover

that there was a world of difference between producing revolvers for the open market and deliv-

ering inspected revolvers to the government. The company had previous experience delivering contract arms to the department, but this had occurred during peacetime and when the armory was under the supervision of the senior Eliphalet. After Ripley had relieved Crispin from accepting Remington revolvers on May 22, 1862, he also notified Thornton on the same day of the company’s impending deliveries on the new contract:

Sir, The Messrs. Remington & Sons of Ilion, N.Y. has been awarded a contract for Army pistols in addition to what they are already making for this Dept. As the rapid delivery of these pistols is of the utmost importance, you will take immediate measures to have the inspection commenced at as early a day as p ossible. As fast as the arms are inspected they will be forwarded to Maj. R. H. K. Whiteley, New York Arsenal. 1

Ripley apparently concurred with Remington’s statements regarding their production capacity. However, they would not deliver the first lot of contract army revolvers until early July and did not make additional deliveries of the Navies until August 11. Having accepted Remington’s bids, on May 31 the department sent the contracts to the firm for signature:

Gentlemen, I transmit a copy of the decision of the Commission on Contracts in reference to the orders given you in July last for Revolvers and Rifles. I also transmit herewith four lots of quadruplicate Contracts and Bonds to be executed by you and these must be returned to this office within fifteen days from the day this letter should reach you in the due course of mail. These Contracts are, one set for 40 , 000 Rifle Muskets, one for 10 , 000 Harpers Ferry Rifles with sword bayonets, one for 20 , 000 Army revolvers and one for 5, 000 Navy revolvers and are intended to embrace the

Sir:

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

We are informed by Major Thornton (through Mr. Curtis, one of the Inspectors who is now inspecting the Army Revolver) that he has no instructions from your Department relative to inspection of the 5, 000 Pistols 36 /100 Calibre under our Contract. We now have ready for inspection about 2 , 000 of that size and 1, 000 of the Army, which can be delivered agreeable to our Contract, if they can be inspected in time. Will you also inform us as to the appendages for Revolvers? Our Contract calls for the “usual appendages.” We have heretofore furnished with our Revolver one Bullet Mould and one Wiper for each. Please mention the number and kind of appendages to be furnished. 4

Assistant Secretary of War P. H. Watson notified Ripley of the secretary’s approval on June 24 :

General, Herewith enclosed I transmit to your Bureau two contracts, viz:

Burnside Rifle Co. for 5, 000 Burnside Breechloading Carbines at $ 30 . each. E. Remington & Sons for 5, 000 Navy Revolvers at $ 12 . each. These contracts are made on the recommendations of the Ordnance Commissioners, the Hon. Joseph Holt and Hon. Robert Dale Owen after a full investigation, as substitutes for the informal order for the purchase of the same arms, given to the same parties, by the late Secretary of War, the Hon. Simon Cameron, have been approved by the Secretary of War, as the best available means now remaining to protect the interests of the Government. 5

Ripley advised Remington of the approval on June 26 :

Gentlemen:

One of the four contracts entered into by you for the manufacture of Arms for the U. States, Viz: the one for 5, 000 Navy Revolvers, having been returned to this office approved by the Secretary of War. The original has been filed in the office of the 2 nd Comptroller and the duplicate is transmitted to be kept by you. Maj. Thornton will be immediately informed of the Contract, that he may give the necessary instructions for the inspections to be made under it. 6

On the same day, Ripley also notified Thornton that the contract had been approved:

Sir, A contract recently made with Messrs. E. Remington & Sons of Ilion N.Y. for the delivery of 5000 Revolvers, Navy Size at $ 12 . each has been approved by the Secretary of War; and this notice is now given that you may take measures for the inspection of the Revolvers, in advance of sending you a copy of the contract, which will be done in a few days.

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

These duties are now in charge of Major Thornton who is also in command of the Arsenal of construction at West Troy. It is impossible for any officer to attend to both duties properly, and I propose to assign the inspections to Major P. V. Hagner; with directions to relieve Major Thornton, to receive from him all the books and papers, in his possession, relating to inspections, with any information he may have relating to them, and to take post at New York, a central position, whence he can visit readily, the different places where arms and accouterments are to be inspected, and make suitable arrangements to attending to inspections promptly, at each. In view of the intimate knowledge Major Hagner has acquired from his association with the Commission on Ordnance, of the state and condition of various contracts and orders as finally determined, his appointment to the inspection service will secure their execution more satisfactorily, both to the Government and to the contractors, as well as the true interpretation of any questions that may arise concerning the obligations of all parties. I, therefore, respectfully request your sanction of the foregoing proposition. Jas. W Ripley, Brig. Gen’l., Chief of Ordnance Approved by Order of the Secretary of War P. H. Watson, Asst. Secy. Of War 10

There was some delay in getting this request approved. The personnel change was not executed until the following month. Near the end of June, Remington complained to Ripley that the inspectors were lax in their duties by not inspecting revolvers as fast as possible. Ripley contacted Thornton on June 27 , ask- ing him to investigate:

Sir, The Messrs. Remington & Sons report that they have several thousand pistols awaiting inspection, and that the sub-inspectors do not keep up with the work. As these pistols are greatly needed, it is of the utmost importance that the inspectors keep fully up to the manufacturer. It is understood that the sub-inspectors now at Ilion, do not work as indus- triously as the government has a right to expect, if this is the cause of the delay, you will take the necessary steps to correct this, and if more inspectors are wanted you will detail them at once, your attention is particularly called to this matter. 11

In early July, Thornton investigated Remington’s allegations against the inspectors at the Ilion Armory. He immediately made a detailed report to Ripley:

July 7 th, 1862 Sir:

I have the honor to enclose Statements “A & B,” by C. G. Curtis and Mr. Remington’s foreman, in answer to the charge of neglect of duty on the part of the sub-inspectors at Mr. Remington’s Armory.

Thornton continued:

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

By the foregoing it will be seen that there has been no lack of faithfulness on the part of the sub-inspectors, to inspect the pistols a s fast as offered by Mr. Remington, but on the contrary, the United States have just grounds as of complaints of the delay on the part of Mr. Remington in furnishing the arms to inspect and in not providing packing boxes to remove the arms which have been received by inspectors from his Armory. Further, Mr. Remington is desirous of having his Navy size pistols received without the usual and regular course of inspection. When the sub-inspectors have been a month at his Armory, and they have obtained from him only 650 Army size pistols, and that Mr. Remington has not the packing boxes made to remove the inspected pistols from his Armory. W. A. Thornton, Major of Ordnance 14

Remington’s pistol foreman offered the following:

Ilion, N.Y. July 3 d, 1862 On hand and presented for inspection. Navy pistols—1500 Army pistols—200 Of these Navy pistols about 500 are short barrels, and out of range, and other difficulties, which unfit them for rigid inspection although they are serviceable pistols and shoot all right. The Navy pistols were none of them made for Government use exclusively but were made for trade sales, consequently they are not altogether interchangeable. Nearly all of them were assembled before we expected to deliver the pistols on contract. Nearly all of them are varnished stocks, and plated guards, and the work on them was all finished before the contract was made. Of the Army pistols, a part of them are just assembled and are supposed to be all right. The balance are retained in our hands and not presented for inspection, as others like them which have been presented have been rejected. Immediately after we made our statement and gave the number we could furnish per week our engine gave out and caused a delay of a week or more, and then a mistake in machining some of the work made it necessary to go over it again, and has kept us doing comparatively nothing, and now we are only where we expected to be at the time mentioned. We can see no cause now why we cannot get out after this week from one hundred to one hundred and twenty five per day. The boxes will be made in Utica at once, and will be ready to receive the work next Tuesday in all probability. R. R. Bennett Foreman of Pistol Department 15

Thornton’s closing statement read:

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS Figure 29 Beals Army Revolver, serial number 1 , 842 . CGC

Figure 29 Beals Army Revolver, serial number 1,842. CGC cartouche on left grip panel. (Author’s collection)

inspection, and these revolvers usually have two cartouches, Thornton’s on one grip and Curtis’s on the other. I have noted exceptions, such as “CGC” on one or both grips, and in another instance, “WC” on one grip and “WAT” on the other (figures 28 , 29 , 30 ). I have also observed sev- eral of these revolvers with the 1861 barrel address. Those bearing Thornton’s cartouche are the only Remington revolvers known to have been inspected by an ordnance officer, as opposed to an ordnance sub-inspector. On finishing the inspection and returning to Watervliet Arsenal, Thornton reported to Ripley on July 14 :

Sir:

I have the honor to inform you, that on the 12 th inst. I inspected 750 of Mr. Remington’s Army Revolver Pistols, and I caused them to be forwarded to Major R. H. K. Whiteley, Comdg. New York Arsenal. While at his Armory, Mr. Remington informed me that he had upwards of 1500 Navy Size pistols, which he offered for inspection. He states that they were in kind and quality, the same in every respect as have been received by inspectors in New York, by Majors Hagner and Crispin. He stated further that the sub-inspectors have found an error in workmanship, which in his opinion did not materially injure the pistols for service, and of course he was desirous to have the pistols accepted. The sub-inspectors informed me that they have proven about 500 of them, which is the first action taken in the inspection. That when they commenced the verification of the workmanship they found that the axis of the cylinder and the barrel are not in continuation of each other, and that the bolt in passing from the former into the latter, must be shaved or compressed on one side, as much as the bores of the two differ from each in their true prolongations.

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REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS Figure 31 Elliot First Variation Navy Revolver, serial number 15 , 867

Figure 31 Elliot First Variation Navy Revolver, serial number 15,867. (Author’s collection)

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS Figure 31 Elliot First Variation Navy Revolver, serial number 15 , 867

Figure 32 Elliot First Variation Army Revolver, serial number 4,586. (Author’s collection)

things in your possession, relating to the inspection service, and give him any information you may have respecting it. 18

Ripley informed Hagner of his new duties on the same day:

Sir, You are hereby assigned to duty as Inspector of Contract Arms and Accouterments, you will therefore proceed as soon as practicable to the Watervliet Arsenal and relieve Maj. W. A. Thornton from that duty; receiving from him all the books and papers in his possession, relating to such inspections, with any information he may have thereto. You will then take post at New York City which will be your station while engaged on this

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REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS Figure 33 Union cavalry man with Elliot Army Revolver. (Courtesy: Jay Huber)

Figure 33 Union cavalry man with Elliot Army Revolver. (Courtesy: Jay Huber)

by the army. The necessity for Remington to seek a contract extension would seem to verify this; otherwise, these revolvers would have been delivered to the army. After Remington received the extension, deliveries of army and navy revolvers continued steadily, and Curtis accepted the final lot of 701 Elliot Navies on December 22 , 1862 . Curtis placed his “CGC” cartouche on almost all five thousand Remington Navies delivered to the Ordnance Department under the contract of June 13, 1862 . My survey of the serial numbers of both types puts the quantities delivered at approximately 400 500 Beals and 4 ,500 4 , 600 Elliot models. The serial number range of the navy revolvers delivered on this contract is 13,500 20 , 000 . The reason for qualifying my statement in regard to Curtis inspecting “almost all” five thou- sand Navies is simple. Although I have never seen or heard of a Beals or Elliot Navy Revolver with an authentic cartouche, other than Curtis’s, I am aware that such a specimen may exist. This may have occurred when the principal sub-inspector became too ill to report for work, and his duties were delegated to one of his subordinates. I have examined specimens of army revolvers that have cartouches applied by inspectors other than the principal sub-inspector (figure 33). There was one major change in design that occurred during the production of the Elliot Navy and Army models (figure 34 ). Metal was removed from the frame where the breech of the

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Orders for the issue of the 2 nd thousand Pettingill’s will be given when you report them on hand. Report when any of the foregoing issues, not already covered are made, that orders for supply may be given.

Washington, Oct. 20 , 1862 Maj. F. D. Callender U.S. Arsenal, St. Louis Mo. Sir, On the 14 th inst. 1000 Army revolvers were ordered to be sent to you by Maj. P. V. Hagner at New York, either Remington’s or Colt’s according to which was first received and Maj. Hagner was also directed on the 20 th inst. to send you 500 Pettingill pistols which he had on hand. Genl. Rosecrans having telegraphed urgently for revolvers, you will keep these 1500 subject to such requisitions as he may make for troops in his command, which will be honored accordingly, and reported to this office, that orders for supplies may be drawn to cover them. 23

Remington had started making plans to add another revolver manufactory in Utica, New York, as early as February 1862 . I have not discovered the reason for this expansion to another community. All available evidence suggests it was necessary because of a shortage of available labor in Ilion. The Utica Evening Telegraph reported on the construction of the manufactory on October 18 , 1862 :

Manufactory for Army Pistols. Remington & Sons Pistol Contract. We visited yesterday the building formerly occupied by the Utica Screw Factory and now metamorphosed into a manufactory for army pistols by Messrs. Remington & Sons of Ilion, who have a contract for 25, 000 rifled pistols. For two or three months past, the necessary machinery has been in the process of manufacture, and setting up, and now it is nearly ready for the manufacture of arms. When fairly in operation, the pistols will be furnished at the rate of 100 a day, it taking 20 hours for each hundred. To do this, it is necessary to employ two sets of skilled workmen, the whole number 150 , and the most competent of Superintendents. The gentleman who has the manage- ment of this immense establishment, is Mr. C. C. Plaisted, of the firm of Plaisted & Whitehouse, who are sub-contractors under Remington & Sons. Mr. Plaisted has been connected with the Ilion establishment, for about a year, coming to it from the National Armory at Springfield, Mass. He is not only a theoretical, but a practical mechanic and inventor. He invented much of the machinery of the Remington lock, and pistol, and now he has invented and caused to be manufactured some of the most important of the machinery to be used in the Utica establishment. In March last, the tools for the manufacture of the Beal pistol, with the Elliot improvement, (such as the present contract of 25, 000 pistols calls for), were commenced, and since that time, until now, a large number of workmen have been constantly employed making tools

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and otherwise finishing, the chambers of the cylinder, and other inside parts of the economy of the pistol. In the fourth and last story, are found the Filing room, the Assembling room, and the Inspecting room, where the Government Inspector narrowly and critically exam- ines every part and parcel of the pistol, and where, after this process is gone through with, the pistol passes examination. If it does, it is packed and forwarded to the Government arsenals. In the “Assembling” room, the different pieces composing the pistol, from the frame to the minutest spring and screw, are brought, or assembled, and the pistol is put together, ready for the Inspector. We have thus been from cellar to garret of this immense establishment, and yet have given but a feeble idea of the modus oper andi of pistol making. To properly appreciate the various processes, the building should be visited, and hours spent therein; then the magnitude and nicety of the operation would be more plainly discernable. We are glad this manufactory has been located among us, as it will prove of invaluable benefit to our city, and after the present contract is completed, it will doubtless be continued for similar operations. It brings among us a large number of workmen, and it will add to the material prosperity of the city. It is an old saying, that “it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good,” and it is proved true in this case; for, although the war is an “ill wind,” it blows some good to us, in the shape of this and other contracts, by means of which money is brought to our doors. We hope that Remington & Son will reap substantial benefits from this pistol con- tract, and we heartily thank them, in behalf of our whole people, for allowing us to share with them in the benefits to be derived.

Fortunately for us, the reporter who filed this story seems to have been fascinated by machinery, and he gives us an excellent picture of the operations at the Utica plant. The account implies that revolvers were in partial production at the time of his visit and that the facility was expected to be in full production by the first of 1863. I have no way of verifying when the Utica Armory actually went on line, delivering revolvers to ordnance inspectors. Subsequent events were to prove that this armory would not be able to turn out the number of revolvers expected during the first few months of operation. The depart- ment’s records reveal that the highest number of revolvers delivered in any one month in 1862 was twenty-two hundred. Deliveries during the first six months of 1863 averaged twenty-five hundred per month; in the final six months of 1863, the average per month was three thousand. Production increased month by month, and during the first three months of 1865, Remington delivered twenty thousand revolvers. These figures do not reflect the entire production, as the reject rate was very high. It should also be emphasized that all of the delivery figures were the combined production of both the Ilion and Utica armories. These combined deliveries raised some questions that I have pondered, and I have to admit that they still perplex me. Were separate serial number ranges assigned to each armory? It would seem that this would be the only solution to keeping records of production at each facility. Were separate teams of inspectors assigned to each? Both of these are valid questions that deserve

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

The pistols, Beals patent, manufactured by the Remington’s in Ilion N.Y. are useless and unsafe weapons. 1st: There being no safety notch, as in the Colt pattern, the hammer rests on the cap, when the pistol is loaded, causing the pistol to be liable to be accidentally discharged. 2 nd: The rammer is so short, that it will not drive the cartridges home, and the adjustment is so poor, that it has to be guided in many cases, by the fingers. Some of the rammers are too large so that the pistol cannot be loaded at all. 3rd: The locks on some of the pistols were broken, or out of order when received. Although but few rounds have as yet been fired from them, the number of broken locks has largely increased. Many of the hammers cannot be raised, and in some cases the triggers have no effect on the hammer after the piece is cocked. 4 th: The cones or nipples were so poor, that a number of them were broken when the pieces were fired. 5th: Some of the cylinders will not revolve and others again can be turned either way when the piece is cocked. The sabres are of an ordinary kind, and will not compare with those made by the Ames Manufactory at Chicopee Falls, Mass. 1st: The steel of which the blade is made is good, but some of the blades are cracked. 2nd: The grips are poor, being badly shaped, and too short. The brass wire on the grips, has, in many cases worked loose. Some of the grips have already come off the Sabres. 3rd: The scabbards are badly made. In finishing them, they have been filed down to obliterate the marks made by the hammer in forging. The metal of some of the scabbards has become so thin by this operation that the sabres have pierced them. The sabre belts are not uniform, some being made of Buffalo and others of common leather. A large number of those made of Buffalo leather are old ones, having been re-issued, and are constantly needing repairs. We would therefore recommend, that our pistols and sabres be returned, and that we receive in exchange, Colt’s revolvers and Ames’ sabres or weapons of a similar pattern, also that the second hand belts issued to us be exchanged for new ones. Respectfully Submitted Alfred Vezin, Capt. Co. C. Braden Hurst, Capt. Co. H. John W. Jackson, 1st. Lieut. Co. E. 25

A short time after receiving this report, Hagner sent the following inquiry to Ripley.

General, Please inform me whether the Remington Revolvers complained of by Board of Survey of “Andersons Cavalry” were of Army or Navy size, also who was the Maker of the Sabers? 26

Hagner forwarded this report to Remington, via Inspector Curtis, for their comments. A short time later the company sent the following letter to Hagner. Remington did not date

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the Cartridge is not rammed down sufficiently to ensure certainty of fire or that the penetration is deficient in consequence thereof; we have only to say that the report is incorrect on both these points. The rammer is of sufficient length to drive home the service charge, (or even Colt’s Cartridge) which we b elieve is less than the service charge, so as to secure the greatest degree of penetration and certainty of fire. (See letter of Mr. Curtis touching this point). The other portion of the complaint under this head we cannot credit, as we know that no rammer has been put into a pistol, that would not enter the cylinder. The form and construction of the pistol would not permit and further, were it possible that any such should have been offered by us, your inspectors could not possibly have overlooked a fault, so apparent. 3rd: “The locks on some of the pistols were broken or out of order when received although but few rounds have yet been fired from them, the number of broken locks has largely increased, many of the hammers cannot be raised and in some cases the triggers have no effect on the hammers after the piece is cocked.” We would not deny that the locks in our pistols ( as in every other) may sometimes be broken or deranged by repeated firing, that they are more liable to fail in this respect than others we cannot believe. The parts in question are essentially the same in our pistol as in Colt’s. We believe them to have been well made, and faithfully examined in detail by your Inspectors. That any of them were broken when received, we cannot for a moment credit unless the pistols had been used or injured before they were received by the Officers who made this Report. 4 th: “The Cones or Nipples were so poor that a number were broken when the pieces were fired.” We can only say so far as this charge is concerned, that we believe the cones made at our Armory are equal to any made elsewhere and that all cones put in our pistols for Government Service were duly inspecte d by Government Inspectors and that we cannot believe they are more liable to break than in Colt’s pistol, as the hammer does not strike full upon the cone, but against the shoulder of the frame. 5th: “Some of the Cylinders will not revolve and others again can be turned either way when the piece is full cocked.” In this case as in some others there is no essential difference in the form or construc- tion of the pawl or bolt, (which are the only parts acting on the cylinder), and they operate on the same cylinder, preventing it from revolving or not depending on their condition. If as they say, some of the cylinders will not revolve while others will revolve both ways, it is simply because one or both the spring of the pawl and the spring of the bolt are broken. This is a difficulty that seldom occurs. We will again remark that these parts are in detail inspected and tested, and we have no reason to doubt that the Board could find cause for similar complaint, (if they so desired) with reference to Colt’s or any other revolver having similar parts. Before closing this report, permit us to ask at your hands, a trial of our pistol with Colt’s or any other in case you have doubts as to the efficiency and durability of the whole or any part of the pistol. We present herewith

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REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS Figure 35 Beals Navy Revolver with fluted cylinder, serial number 11 ,

Figure 35 Beals Navy Revolver with fluted cylinder, serial number 11,352. (Author’s photograph)

100 boxes in the Q. M’s Store House in Harrisburg—Lt. Bean having been ordered by Col. Kellogg to turn them in. The Equipments are marked “Sets of Ranger Equipments,” and although marked as being sent from Saint Louis, Watervliet and Frankford Arsenals were all made by Wilstach & Co. of Phila. or Sproulls Meecham & Co. of New York. and probably procured under your orders to me of last year to purchase this kind of Equipment. I found that some of Wilstach’s Stamp, were made up with the Tree formerly at Frankford Arsenal, (received by the Ordnance from the Quartermaster’s Department when the supply of the Cavalry was turned over to Ordnance and) styled, the “Ringgold Tree.” There cannot be many of these—They are iron bound, with high cantle and not covered with rawhide, but merely varnished. All the other Trees are within (nearly) of the McClellan pattern, or of the Texas pattern—all are covered with rawhide and all (including the Ringgold ) are fitted up like the McClellan, having uniform saddlebags &c—and packed with all the prescribed additional items. The surcingles are of mixed colored webbing, but otherwise like pattern. Halters, stirrups, back-straps are all as prescribed. I consider these Equipments as perfectly serviceable, and that there is no reason for condemning them. The Colonel of the 18 th Regt. Pa. Vol. not yet supplied, will need 1000 sets, and Col. Kellogg has ordered that number to be issued to him. I recommend that all should be of the rawhide covered Tree—and that the balance should be removed to the Quartermaster’s tin storehouse. Captain Wilson promised that this would be done at once. Ought they not be removed from Harrisburg and put into service or returned to an Arsenal where they can be properly cared for? I examined the 813 Remington Revolvers, opening every box and having every pistol carefully examined except in a few boxes evidently untouched since their inspection. Not one pistol was broken, or out of order, except one cone removed from one. In the inspection 2 mainsprings broke, and the combs of 2 hammers flew off—the weather being

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS Figure 37 Cylinder arbor retaining spring on an Elliot Navy Revolver. (Author’s

Figure 37 Cylinder arbor retaining spring on an Elliot Navy Revolver. (Author’s collection)

present at the Inspection and understands the trouble and is perfectly satisfied to receive them for his regiment. They are therefore in his charge. I applied to the Adjt.[sic ] General of the State to know about the Anderson Cavalry, but was informed that it had been ordered away. I then telegraphed Capt. Hastings asking if any pistols remained at Carlisle, but received no reply up to the time of departure of the train. As the cause of the trouble is now certain and no corrections could be made by visiting Carlisle (even if there be any pistols there) I thought it best to return from the Inspection to our duties. 29

The revolvers referred to in this report had been issued to the 16 th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry (figure 36 ). In a reply dated three days later, Ripley explained why the department had adopted the Elliot system.

Dec. 6 , 1862 Sir, In answer to your letter of Dec. 3, I have to say that Messrs. Remington & Sons were authorized to adopt the “Elliott” [sic ] patent as the sample, as it was supposed to be bet- ter and more convenient, if you are satisfied however, that the “Beal” patent is the better and safer model, you are authorized to direct them to return to that pattern. Please send to this office samples of all the contract arms that you are inspecting except the contract Springfield rifle musket. 30

This was the beginning of the end for the Elliot model. Hagner’s concerns about the design were well justified. The Elliot patent had seemed to be the perfect model when the department selected it from the pattern revolvers submitted by Remington. In the field, however, many of these revolvers developed a disturbing fault. When some of the revolvers were fired, the arbor pin would work forward from the recoil. If this went unnoticed by the user, the action would lock up. I have examined many of the Elliot mode ls, paying particular attention to the mechan- ics of Elliot’s patent. On many I have found the small spring that was designed to retain the arbor pin in place missing. On others, the spring did not provide sufficient tension to adequately secure the pin (figure 37 ). Many, however, still function perfectly.

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REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS Figure 40 From left to right, an early Beals cylinder, a late

Figure 40 From left to right, an early Beals cylinder, a late Beals cylinder, and a New Model cylinder. Note small arbor hole on cylinder on left. (Author’s collection)

Hagner’s recommendations did not end with the lever and arbor system. Safety notches were soon a standard feature on all the cylinders of army and navy revolvers, and the hammers were redesigned to avoid the breakage of the fragile high spur that had been a feature of the Beals and Elliot models. The lower spur of the newly designed hammer could better withstand a blow if the revolver was accidentally dropped. These changes in design took place during January–March 1863. In this period of transition, Remington also used barrels remaining from Elliot production bearing the 1861 patent date. The revolver that evolved from these design changes was basically the pattern used for the remainder of production (figures 40 and 41). During this transition period, it was realized that the original method of retaining the arbor pin in the Beals models had not been protected by patent. Samuel Remington took steps to cor- rect this oversight by making the appropriate application and was issued patent number 37 , 921 on March 17 , 1863 (figure 42 ). This date is not found in the barrel address of the New Model Revolvers manufactured during the Civil War but is seen on some of the Remington New Model Navy, Belt, Police, and Pocket Model revolvers manufactured after the war. In his patent, Remington also described a set screw that also served to lock the arbor pin in place, but this fea- ture was never utilized. Once the initial improvements were in place, Remington designated the revolver as their “New Model” and eventually added these words to the barrel address. These improvements came too late to be included on any of the navy revolvers received by the department, as their final

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS Figure 43 Early cone front sight at top, late pinched sight on

Figure 43 Early cone front sight at top, late pinched sight on bottom. (Author’s collection)

delivery was in December 1862 . Near the end of 1863, there was one more change; this was a new front sight, also adopted at the department’s insistence (figures 43 and 44 ). The year of 1863 began with Remington facing many problems. In addition to redesigning their revolvers to satisfy the ordnance inspectors, there were deficits in deliveries on their con- tract of June 13, 1862 , for twenty thousand army revolvers. This contract had specified that one thousand revolvers be delivered in June, two thousand each in July and August, one thousand in September, and three thousand per month thereafter until the contract was completed. By the end of 1862 , Remington had delivered only fifty-one hundred army revolvers; this was far below the original estimates given to the department. When the final delivery of navy revolvers was made on December 22 , Remington cut production of navy models to approximately five hun- dred a month, producing only enough to satisfy orders from the navy’s Bureau of Ordnance. Remington was able to increase production of the army model by using labor and machinery formerly used for Navies, and with the limited output from Utica, delivered twenty-five hundred in January 1863 (figure 45). Hagner, well aware of Remington’s delinquencies, requested instruc- tions as to the reception of revolvers after the contract expired. On February 16 , Ripley sent the following to the secretary of war:

Endorsement on letter of Maj. P. V. Hagner, Inspector of Small Arms, requesting informa- tion as to the reception of Remington Pistols. Respectfully referred to the War Dept. In view of the wants of the service, the low price, and the high character of these pistols, it is recommended that the time of delivery be extended to allow Messrs. Remington & Sons to complete their contract. Nine thousand (about) Pistols (Army size) remain to be delivered. 31

Ripley’s request was granted, and four days later he notified Hagner:

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

Sir, Your letter of the 14 th having been submitted to the Secretary of War, He has authorized the reception of the revolvers forfeited by the Messrs. Remington for non delivery within the time specified in their contract. You will therefore receive from them the whole number of revolvers, specified in their contract of 13 June, 1862 .

32

This was a rather unusual extension, inasmuch as no time limitation was specified. Remington proceeded to deliver revolvers at approximately twenty-five hundred per month until the con- tract was fulfilled the following June. The secretary of war received a letter in March containing allegations that Remington was continuing to use malleable iron to manufacture their frames, instead of wrought iron, as required by the department. This matter was investigated by Hagner, who found the allegations unfounded. Ripley reported to Stanton on March 18 :

Sir, I have the honor to report that in compliance with your endorsement on the letter of Messrs. Michael Groshean and A. T. Freeman, stating that the Messrs. Remington were making frames of their revolvers of malleable iron, copies of those letters were referred to Maj. Hagner with instructions to investigate the matter and report, and that the result of his examination is contained in the accompanying letter received from him. The letters of Messrs. Groshean and Freeman are herewith returned. 33

The author is not acquainted with Groshean. Austin T. Freeman was the inventor of the revolver of the same name and had been seeking a government contract (figure 46 ). This episode reeks of sour grapes. By the end of March, Remington had completed all of the department’s suggested modifi- cations. They once again adopted the 1858 barrel address, omitting Beals’s name. The Remingtons were proud of their new revolver. On April 20 , they sent samples to Ripley, simul- taneously soliciting an additional contract:

Sir, We forwarded to you on the 18 th inst. per express, a case containing one of our improved Army Pistols, with appendages complete; together with samples of the material used in the construction of the arm and the forged and machined state. We would remark that we shall be able to close the delivery of our present contract in about 30 days, and we desire to know at as early a date as convenient, if it is the wish of your Department that we should continue to furnish the arms after the expiration of our present contract. On taking this contract, we had largely to increase our capacity in the way of machinery, tools, buildings, &c to enable us to complete the pistols as rapidly as they were required, and although unexpected difficulties in procuring workmen, and suitable and

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS Figure 47 Remington sample case sent to the chief of ord- nance.

Figure 47 Remington sample case sent to the chief of ord- nance. (Courtesy: Charles W. Pate photograph, Smithsonian Collection)

I have noticed that surviving letters from Remington to the department seem to be scarce. I attribute this to the more mundane correspondence being sent to the inspector of contract arms. I feel extremely fortunate to have this piece of correspondence. Remington’s statements about their production capabilities indicate that the Utica facility had been unable to manufacture revolvers to the extent anticipated. Remington offered that Ilion revolver production was one hundred units a day; at that time, they were delivering only twenty-five hundred per month. With the output from Utica, they expected to double their capacity by May. However, this was not to be the case, as they never delivered more than thirty-seven hundred revolvers during any month in 1863. Some confusion ensued on receiving the above request. Ripley had evidently forgotten that the department had already given Remington permission to complete their 1862 contract. On April 25, he submitted their request to the secretary of war as an extension of their present contract:

Endorsement on letter of E. Remington & Son, relative to their pistol, asking that they may be directed to furnish these arms to the Government. Respectfully returned: The Army pistol of Remington within referred to is an arm of good quality. A contract was made, 13th June 1862 , for 20 , 000 of these pistols at $ 12 . each including appendages, deliverable at specified per iods, so as to complete the entire delivery in February 1863. That contract stipulated that any failure in the delivery due at any time should forfeit the right to deliver the number thus deficient, and that any default in delivering any or all of the articles mentioned, the Contractors should forfeit and pay the United States fifteen thousand dollars. The deliveries up to this time, amount to 9 , 090 pistols, leaving 10 , 910 deficient. In consideration of the deliveries already made by the Messrs. Remington, of the quality of these pistols, and of their being more prepared to deliver more rapidly, it is recommended that the forfeitures under the contract be

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In June of 1862 , the department had excused Remington from delivering the six-ball gang mold. The contract still called for delivery of a combination nipple-wrench screwdriver with each revolver and one mold casting two balls for every two revolvers. This was the first instance that I have located in which Remington did not furnish the molds. The two final deliveries on this first contract were made on June 18 and 24 . When Hagner accepted five hundred revolvers on June 18 , Remington offered the department seven hundred rejected revolvers at a reduced price. Hagner advised Remington to put this proposition into writing, which he, in turn, submitted to the department. Ripley responded on July 1:

Inspector Col. P. V. Hagner Sir, The letter to you from Messrs. Remington & Sons of the 18 th ultimo, which you sent to this office, was referred to the Secretary of War endorsed as follows:

Ordnance Office June 22 , 1863 Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War. These are good pistols, the price very moderate, and we want them. It is therefore recommended that they be purchased. Jas. W. Ripley, Br. Genl., Ch. Of Ord. This recommendation having been approved, you are now authorized to receive the said pistols at the price of eleven dollars each. 39

  • I note in this letter that Hagner had recently been promoted. The revolvers that he was

authorized to receive were second-class serviceable arms with minor blemishes that would not pass the rigorous inspection procedure for contract arms. They were not credited to a contract.

  • I shall later offer more about the second-class revolvers. I will point out that the rejection

rate for Remington’s revolvers was very high, and although the army revolver serial numbers reached 149 , 000 for the final deliveries in 1865, the department accepted only 116 , 763 Armies. Ordnance inspectors used a large “C” to stamp condemned parts (figure 48 ). Revolvers with these marks were tainted goods and were difficult to sell on the commercial market. To avoid this, Remington soon learned to preinspect their revolvers prior to submission to ordnance inspectors; this kept the percentage of marked condemned parts much lower. Based on the overall serial number range of Remington Army Revolvers manufactured dur- ing the Civil War, I estimate the range of serial numbers delivered on this first contract to be approximately 850 25, 000 . When completed, Remington had delivered all three of their models to the army. They, like other arms manufacturers of this era, seldom made a clean break between the manufacture of prior and succeeding models. When it was feasible, Remington used all of the remaining parts on the newer models. I have examined many army and navy revolvers that seem to defy classification. Collectors describe these arms as “transitions,” and there are several types available to the Remington collector. These practices also created an overlap in the serial numbers between some models. An example of this is found in the change from the Beals to the Elliot Model Navies. Serial number

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS Figure 51 Remington Armory, circa 1862 . (Courtesy: Roy Marcot) notches) or

Figure 51 Remington Armory, circa 1862. (Courtesy:

Roy Marcot)

notches) or with cylinders that did not have matching serial numbers. I have found that some very desirable arms are often passed over by the “purist” collector, who insists that all of the component parts be original to the arm. This is especially true of Civil War arms. The original concept for Remington’s Army and Navy Revolvers was conceived by Beals. However, the army ordnance inspectors seem to have had a crucial role in redesigning these revolvers to their final development. Remington was not the only contractor whose arms benefited from the input of the depart- ment. Starr had also received a revolver contract in 1862 . When the contract expired, the depart- ment had refused to extend it or award a new one. Starr’s original revolver design, a double-action or self-cocking model, proved to be too complicated and expensive for the Ordnance Department (figure 49 ). Starr redesigned it as a single-action model and received an additional contract (figure 50 ). When Colt first introduced their 1860 Model Army Revolver, considerable difficulty was experienced with exploding cylinders when proofing the revolvers. The problem was alleviated by boring the cylinder chambers smaller at the b ottom, therefore providing a thicker wall at the rear of the cylinder. Ordnance inspectors had some input in this new design. Colt also would have been required to redesign their revolvers to a solid frame model when their contract for these revolvers expired in November 1863. This was averted by Colt’s reluctance to furnish revolvers at a competitive price (see letter in chapter 3, Balch to Hagner, November 6 , 1863). I have reformatted the Army Ordnance Department’s original records to reflect the types of revolvers received on deliveries and also present copies of the original “Memorandum of Receipts.” 40 The reader will note that the entry dates from these different records do not always coincide. The “Memorandum of Receipts” reflec ts a true copy of the ordnance inspector’s receipts; the ledger containing “Purchases of Cannon, Ordnance, Projectiles, and Small Arms” was made by department clerks. 41 Many errors occurred when making entries, and many deliv- eries were never entered into these ledgers:

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

69

Remington & Sons

1862

Dec.

31

502

1861 Army Revolvers

12

00

6,024

00

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Jan.

5

1,000

1861–New Model Army Transition

12

00

12,000 00

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Jan.

16

1,000

1861–New Model Army Transition

12

00

12,000 00

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Jan.

28

1,000

1861–New Model Army Transition

12

00

12,000 00

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Feb.

10

1,000

1861–New Model Army Transition

12

00

12,000 00

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Feb.

23

1,000

1861–New Model Army Transition

12

00

12,000 00

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Mar.

6

1,000

1861–New Model Army Transition

12

00

12,000 00

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Mar.

17

1,000

1861–New Model Army Transition

12

00

12,000 40

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Mar.

21

1,000

1861–New Model Army Transition

12

00

12,000 40

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Apr.

9

1,000

New Model Army Revolvers

12

00

12,000 00

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Apr.

18

1,000

New Model Army Revolvers

12

00

12,000 40

June 13, 1862 d

Remington & Sons

1863

Apr.

29

1,000

New Model Army Revolvers

12

00

12,000 40

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

May

9

1,000

New Model Army Revolvers

12

00

12,000 40

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

May

21

1,000

New Model Army Revolvers

12

00

12,000 68

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Jun.

2

1,000

New Model Army Revolvers

12

00

12,000 24

June 13, 1862

Remington & Sons

1863

Jun.

22

900

New Model Army Revolvers

12

00

10,800 28

June 13, 1862 e

Source: National Archives, Record Group 156, Entry 83, “Purchases of Cannon, Ordnance, Projectiles and Small Arms.”

a This lot of second-class revolvers was accepted by the Ordnance Department at reduced price. They were credited to contract.

b Remington delivered 5,001 Beals and

Elliot (1861) Navy Revolvers under the contract of June 13, 1862, after the Ordnance Department granted an extension. ledger of “Purchases” by clerical error. Delivery confirmed by entries in “Memorandum of Receipts,” Certificate No. 8. ledger of “Purchases” by clerical error. Delivery confirmed by entries in “Memorandum of Receipts,” Certificate No. 18.

c This delivery was omitted from entries in original d This delivery was omitted from entries in original e This was the final delivery of army revolvers

under the contract of June 13, 1862. A total of 20,001 army revolvers was delivered after Remington received extensions on the contract. These included Beals, Elliot (1861),

and New Models.

REMINGTON’S FIRST REVOLVER CONTRACTS

71

Feb.

25

14

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Feb.

28

15

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Mar.

9

15

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Mar.

13

16

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Mar.

19

16

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Mar.

24

17

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Mar.

30

17

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Apr.

3

18

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers a

Apr.

9

18

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers a

Apr.

15

19

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Apr.

22

19

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Apr.

25

20

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

May

1

20

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

May

7

21

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

May

12

21

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

May

19

22

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

May

23

22

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

May

29

23

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Jun.

4

23

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Jun.

11

24

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Jun.

18

24

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

500

Army Revolvers

Jun.

24

24

Major Hagner

New York Arsenal

400

Army Revolvers

TOTAL 20,001

Source: National Archives, Record Group 156, Entry 80, “Memorandum of Receipts.”

a These three lots of revolvers were never entered into Ordnance Ledger, Record Group 156, Entry 83, “Purchases of Cannon, Ordnance, Projectiles, and Small Arms.”

CHAPTER THREE

Remington’s Second Army Revolver Contract

R emington made the final delivery on their first contract for army revolvers on June 22 , 1863. This chapter will address the events that occurred between July 1 and December 31. Brig. Gen. James W. Ripley advised Lt. Col. P. V. Hagner of Remington’s new contract on July 1:

Sir, In reply to that portion of your letter of the 19 th ult. which refers to a new contract for Remington pistols, I have to state that one has been authorized “for all they can supply the present year not exceeding 20 , 000 ,” on the same terms and conditions as their last contract, with the exception of the sear screw, suggested in your letter of the 1st May, 1863. Contracts will be prepared and sent to the parties & this is communicated that the inspection not be delayed. Jas. W. Ripley, Br. Genl., Ch. Ord. Copies for Messrs. Remington & Sons. Orders have been sent to Mr. Hannis to proceed without delay with the inspection. 1

Benjamin Hannis was the principal sub-inspector at the Remington Armory at this time, having replaced C. G. Curtis early in 1863. The department required civilian inspectors to be on duty at armories away from home and family for extended periods; it granted, from time to time, leaves of absence and replacement by another inspector. On returning to duty, they were not necessar- ily assigned to the same armory where they had served their previous tour; consequently, several different inspectors served at the Remington facilities during the Civil War. Ripley forwarded the contract to Remington on July 2 :

Gentlemen, I transmit herewith Quadruplicates of a Contract, for all the Revolvers you can deliver during the current year not exceeding 20 , 000 , which contract has been authorized, by the Secretary of War on your application of 20 th April last. Be pleased to execute and return the same as soon as convenient. In executing the four copies you will be careful to see that each is provided with the number of stamps as required by law, which is one stamp of five cents for the sheet on which written and one

REMINGTON’S SECOND ARMY REVOLVER CONTRACT

On September 15 , Ripley retired “for age.” Some researchers contend that, in reality, he was removed because of his unyielding attitude concerning the adoption of breechloaders into the service. George Douglas Ramsey, a twenty-eight-year veteran of the Ordnance Department, replaced Ripley. A captain before the war, he received a rapid series of promotions, from major to lieutenant colonel in August 1861 , to colonel in June 1863 . He had served as com- mander of the Washington Arsenal from 1861 until his appointment as brigadier general and chief of ordnance. In the fall of 1863, bullet molds once again became the su bject of correspondence between the department and ordnance officers. On September 16 , Ramsey sent the following to Lieutenant Shaff, ordnance officer at Bealton Station, Virginia:

Sir; I have to acknowledge your letter of the 11th inst. recommending that no further issue be made of Pistol Bullet Moulds to the Cavalry, and to state that such issues hereafter will be made only on Special requisition for them. This matter has been heretofore considered and no bullet moulds are furnished with the revolvers now being furnished under contract. You should take measures to collect and send to the Arsenal in this city all such bullet moulds in the hands of troops, which are not required. 4

Ramsey was in error in stating that no molds were being delivered with revolvers. At the request of Hagner, Remington had suspended deliveries of this appendage in June; Colt either had a large stock of molds on hand or had an ongoing contract with the supplier and had refused to halt deliveries. Ramsey learned of this the following month and sent the following let- ter to Hagner on October 26 :

Sir, You will be pleased to see if any arrangements cannot be made with the principal Pistol manufacturers to stop the furnishing (of) bullet moulds with the Pistol. The moulds are accumulating very fast, are very seldom issued, or if issued are lost or thrown away by the soldiers as useless. Be pleased to give this subject your early attention. 5

Hagner replied two days later:

General, In reply to your letter of the 26 th relative to the receipt of Bullet Moulds with pistols, I have the honor to state, that I made arrangements with the Messrs. Remington to cease their manufacture—deducting 18 cents per pistol—and have not received any Bullet Moulds since June 22 nd from them—nor are we to receive moulds from Mr. Hoard or the Starr Arms Co. under like arrangement.

REMINGTON’S SECOND ARMY REVOLVER CONTRACT

There seems to be some contradiction in this board’s recommendations and those of a pre- war board that had established the pattern of the 1860 Colt Army Revolvers. The barrel length recommended at that time was eight inches. This recommendation had no effect on the Remington Army Revolvers; their barrel lengths had been and would remain eight inches. With Colt and Remington the only suppliers of revolvers, the department was in dire need. When Starr’s revolver contract expired in April 1863, the department declined an extension, cit- ing the expense and delicate mechanism of the double-action or self-cocking models. After Starr perfected a single-action model, the department awarded them a new contract on September 22 ; however, none would be delivered until December. On October 15, Ramsey telegraphed Remington concerning their revolver production:

Telegram Please report immediately by telegraph how fast you can supply