Captain James Sewall Reed's Presentation Revolver, Holster, and Sword, c. 1856-62, Model 1851 Colt Navy revolver, serial number 128222, engraved by Gusatave Young, with foliate designs and a wolf's head on the hammer, engraved silver-plated brass back-strap, ivory grips with a raised eagle over "LIBERTY" on one side, and a silver escutcheon marked "To/Capt. J. Sewall Reed/From the First Light Dragoons/San Francisco Nov. 26. 1862" on the other; a leather holster with decorative stitching, marked on the belt loop "MAIN & WINCHESTER/MAKERS/SAN FRANCISCO"; and an Ames Presentation sword with an engraved silver grip, gilt brass hilt, a clear stone set on the pommel, a sword knot, black funeral gauze, an engraved blade with foliate designs, a presentation scabbard with raised foliate designs, panoply of arms, and engraved "Presented to/CAPT. J. SEWALL. REED./by the members of Company B Citizens Dragoons V.C./San Francisco Oct 15th 1856," and a field scabbard for the same sword; and a clipping from the Richmond Dispatch talking about the death of Captain Reed from 1864.
Provenance: By family descent to the consignor.
Note: Reed was born in Milton, Massachusetts, on April 3, 1832. He left Massachusetts in 1850 to go to San Francisco, and Reed soon became involved in the local militia. By the time the Civil War began, Reed wanted to serve. He formed a unit called the "California Hundred" who came east to Massachusetts and became a part of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry. Before Reed left San Francisco, he was presented with a pair of Colt pistols, holsters, and horse tack made by Main & Winchester. The 2nd Massachusetts was put into action trying to track down Confederate ranger John Singleton Mosby. On February 22, 1864, Mosby ambushed Reed and his brigade. Reed was shot and killed during this action. His body was removed from the field and brought back to camp, where his wife Hattie Wales Reed had been awaiting his return from his patrols. The chaplain of the unit helped bring Reed's body to Washington to be shipped back to Massachusetts. Presumably these artifacts came back with his body and have remained in the family until consigned for auction.
The revolver is in very good condition with about 90% of its bluing and color case hardening, there is some bluing loss on the right side of the barrel and a little on the cylinder, the wedge has some wear from hammering the wedge into place, the grips are in perfect condition, the holster has some light wear from use and age, and the sword is in very good condition with no rust on the blade, the field scabbard has no finish left and shows signs of use.
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