Civil War era Colt Model 1851 London Navy percussion revolver, .36 caliber, serial #38701, owned by James Nelson III (1828-1907), Confederate States of America (CSA), Morgan's Raiders. Barrel marked "-Address Col. Colt London -". Marked "Colts Patent" to left side of frame under cylinder and top of cylinder. Cylinders with engraved ships, walnut stocks, octagonal barrel, ejector rod, standard sights, checkered hammer, iron butt strap and trigger guard. Eight English proof marks, six top of barrel, including "V" with crown, two left side of barrel lug. Serial number matches top of ejector rod, trigger guard, butt strap, cylinder, and frame. Barrel length – 7 1/2". Overall length – 13". Also includes a notebook with information about Nelson and his family, including a notarized affidavit from the widow of the previous owner dating November 29, 2017, documenting that the pistol had originally belonged to James Nelson III and had descended in the family until they decided to sell it "to someone who will appreciate its history and continue to care for it". Also included is a typed transcription of a letter from James Nelson II, the owner's father, to Elizabeth Thomson, his daughter, dated October 8, 1863. The Civil War era letter mostly discusses Nelson's health but does mention his son, writing "A word about James Nelson, my son. I done all I could to keep him at home. He was with John H. Morgan in his raid through Indiana and Ohio, was taken prisoner, with a good many others at Buffington's Island, Ohio. Is now a prisoner of war at Camp Douglaps [sic] Illinois. He wrote me that he reported for duty about the first of April last, that he never enjoyed better health in his life, that he had not taken a dose of medicine this year. The prisoners when captured had many of their clothes taken from them. He writes me he is treated with a great deal of humanity by the officers of the prison. He says they appear to be gentlemen. They let me furnish him money, say five dollars at a time, and I get a friend to furnish it to him as he needs it." Also included is a check from "The People's Bank" Lebanon, TN signed by James Nelson III, February 14, 1896. Notebook – 11 3/4" H x 10 3/4" W x 1 3/4" D. Biography: James Nelson III was born on December 3, 1828 in Fayetteville, KY. He attended Bacon College for two years before enlisting in the CSA 8th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry. He fought in the Battle of Hartsville, TN on December 7, 1862. He rode in General John Hunt Morgan's "Great Raid" in the summer of 1863 through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Nelson was captured at the Battle of Buffington Island, OH on July 19, 1863 with about 700 others. He was imprisoned at Camp Douglas, IL, known as the "Andersonville of the North". He never took the Oath of Allegiance to the Union and was released in 1865 and returned home to Wilson County, TN where he had bought a farm in 1859. Nelson's occupation was listed as "Stock Trader" in the Census of 1870. He was elected as 9th District Magistrate (Justice of the Peace) in 1876. By 1886 he owned 470 acres of farmland in Wilson County and was listed as a "Farmer" in the Census of 1900. He attended several local reunions of Confederate veterans. He passed away on December 16, 1907 at 79 and was buried in the Nelson family farm in Lebanon, TN. CONDITION: Overall good antique condition. 50% of original finish to stocks present. Engraved scene of barrels visible. Three screw heads show damage. Action good. Bore is dark.
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