Savage 1861 Navy Model
.36 Caliber Percussion
Date: October, 1861 SN: 1001

Savage produced approximately 20,000 Navy Models between 1861 and 1862. The Government purchased approximately 11,984 of them with the remainder being sold to civilians. The contract with the government was dated October 16th, 1861 with this revolver was delivered in October of 1861. The Savage Navy model revolver is a single action, six-shot, .36 caliber weapon and weighs 3 pounds, 6 ounces. It has two piece walnut grips, blued frame and barrel, case hardened hammer, trigger, trigger guard and loading lever.

This Savage Navy revolver is easily distinguished by its  very unique trigger and cocking lever configuration, it is unlike any other revolver utilized in the Civil War. The large trigger guard contains what appears to be two triggers, one is actually a cocking lever. The top trigger is used to fire the hammer while the lower finger sized ring, was used as a lever to cock the hammer and rotate the cylinder.

The barrel is unmarked except for the government sub inspector's marking of "M" on the underside of barrel flat just forward of the frame and aft of the serial number. A "W" stamping can be found on the top left of the frame in front of the cylinder; on the top left of the frame just to the rear of the cylinder and on the left of the ram rod assembly just forward of the frame. A very light "H" can be found on the cylinder between the nipple wells. Other inspector's stampings can be found on the back of the cylinder ("M") and on the left rear frame under the grip next to a "T" stamp . The "M" stampings are those of  M. Moulton, Armory Sub Inspector, 1861. The "H" stampings may be those of Benjamin Hannis, Armory Sub Inspector, 1861. Stamped on the top frame strap, on the top strap the following legend is found "SAVAGE R.F.A. Co. MIDDLETOWN.CT / H.S.NORTH PATENTED JUNE 17 1856 / JANUARY 18 1859 MAY 15 1860" in three lines.

Other markings on this arm include the serial numbers "1001" stamped on the bottom flat of the barrel at the rear under the ram rod assembly and on the right rear frame under the grip. On the right forward frame under the grip is another number; "33" which can also be found on the inside of the left side plate. Opposite the "M" mentioned above, on the back of the of the cylinder, is the serial number "1001". A cartouche of the inspector's initials is also stamped in the left grip towards the bottom. One of the individuals who carried this weapon has also carved "F.  Lewis" on bottom of right grip and "Co. G" on the bottom of the left grip.

I have reviewed all Government records for Civil War soldiers with the the name F. Lewis in the Regiments known to have received Savage Navy revolvers and only Ferdinand C. Lewis served in a Company G which was in the 7th Regiment of the New York Cavalry. This regiment was assembled one month after this revolver was shipped from Savage to the Government and is listed as one of the Cavalry units that received Savage revolvers, so the timing is right as well.

The New York 7th was organized at Troy, N. Y. (7 Cos.), and mustered in November 6, 1861. Designated 2nd Regiment Cavalry, by State authorities November 18, 1861, but designation changed by the War Department to 7th New York Cavalry. Left State for Washington, D.C., November 23, 1861, and duty there till March, 1862. Mustered out March 31, 1862. Men were disbursed to other units for the remainder of the war.

The original cost for each of  the Savage revolvers to the Government was $20.00 in 1861 later reduced to $19.00. When the Civil War ended in May 1865 soldiers were allowed to take home their weapons after having their value deducted from their muster out pay. 17 Savage revolvers  were reported to be taken home at a cost to the individual of $8.00.

Also worth noting is many of these revolvers were privately purchased and smuggled south to be used by Confederate cavalry. Known Confederate cavalry units included the 11th Texas and the 7th, 34th, and 35th Virginian Battalions.

I am doing research on the Civil War revolvers so expect this page to be updated soon. Found on this page are images of all markings found on this Colt Model 1860 Army revolver. Are you a Civil War firearms collector? Would like to hear from you so we can share research and compare specimens. Regards, Ty Moore

Image 1- Left profile

Image 2- Right profile

Image 3- Legend

Image 4- Frame serial number "1001"
and assembly number "33"

Image 5- Barrel Serial Number

Image 6- Cylinder
S/N 1001 and "M" stamp

Image 7- Left grip has
Inspectors Cartouche

Image 8- inside Grip
1885 C.M. Rauch
Harrisburg, PA.

Image 9- Trigger and cocking ring

Image 10-
"W" on side plate

Image 11- Side plate
"33" assembly number

Image 12-"M" and "T" inspector marks

Image 13- Cylinder face
chamfered chamber mouths

Image 14- "W" Inspectors mark
On lever and left side of frame

Image 15- "W" Inspectors mark

Image 16 - F. Lewis/Co. G

Image 17- Pressure plate views

Image 18- Internals

From the collection
of T. Moore

Technical Information

Length (Overall/Barrel) 14-1/2" and 7-1/8" Octagonal
Weight 3 pounds, 6 ounces
Caliber .36

The Civil War started on February 9th, 1861 - The Confederate States of America is formed with Jefferson Davis as president.
The Civil War Ended in
May, 1865 - Remaining Confederate forces surrender. The Nation is reunited as the Civil War ends. Over 620,000 Americans died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. 50,000 survivors return home as amputees.
John D. Macaulay's "Civil War Pistols of the Union"
Flaydermans guide to antique firearms and their values
The late David Radcliffe's written work on the Savage revolvers

Click on images for larger image
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