.42 caliber nine-shot, .630 smooth bore, crown and N on the barrel, the cylinder, also on the cylinder is a ELG in an oval. The entire revolver was finished in tin with checkered walnut grips. Backstrap is engraved Presented To Captain John D. Conley, By The Members Of Co H 16th Maine Vols Dec 25th 1863. This is a Belgian copy of a Krider LeMat of which five are known.
John D. Conley was a 33-year-old resident of Bangor when he enlisted and was appointed First Sergeant on 8/14/62 in Company H. Four months later he advanced to 2nd Lieutenant and by the following Spring he sported captain's bars and commanded his company at Chancellorsville. Earlier at Fredericksburg, about 450 men of the 16th were engaged on 12/13/62, and 226 of this number was either killed, wounded or missing. Said Gen. Burnside, who commanded that day: "Whatever honor we can claim in that contest was won by Maine men." The regiment again lost heavily at Gettysburg, when, at the close of three days' fighting, all that remained of 248 officers and men, who entered the battle, were 2 officers and 15 enlisted men. Conley continued to lead his men during the 1864 Virginia overland campaign as part of the famed 5th Army Corps.
While fighting along the Weldon Railroad south of Petersburg, he was captured on 8/18/64 and spent six months in Confederate military prisons until his exchange on 2/22/65. Returning to his regiment the day of Lincoln's assassination, he was finally mustered out at Arlington Heights, Va on 6/5/65.
Among the many presentation engraved revolvers offered by Cowan's, this one is unusual as a Christmas gift from his company. The 16th Maine was recognized by Fox as one of the Fighting 300 Regiments, serving in the 1st Army Corps until its consolidation with Warren's 5th Corps in 1864.
ADAMS, Doug, THE CONFEDERATE LeMAT REVOLVER, Mowbray Publishers (2002). This specific LeMat prototype revolver is pictured in multiple views and discussed in detail on pages 24 & 25.
FORGETT, Valmore J; Alain F. & Marie-Antoinette Serpette, Lemat, THE MAN, The Gun, Navy Arms Co. (1996). The backstrap inscription of the presentation to Maine Captain Conley, as well as a copy of Conley's Civil War service are pictured on p[age 47. This specific LeMat Brevet revolver is pictured in color on an unnumbered page between pages 100 and 101.
This revolver is very sharp and crisp with some traces of the original tin finish. The frame has most of the original tin finish just lightly flaking. Trigger guard and backstrap have most of the silver-plated finish. Grips are excellent retaining most of the original varnish finish. The inscription is very sharp and crisp.