American Civil War Kerr Revolver


Confederate Kerr revolver from Macon, last battle of the American civil war.



There are not a lot of Kerr revolvers around and are not a common gun see on the market. Most seen are unmarked and the rarer ones carry the Confederate JS and anchor stamp on the grip. Out of the 13000 made, 10,000 were bought by the Confederates and 500 by the Union.

On the 20th April 1865 the city of Macon in the south was preparing for an attack by “Wilson’s Raiders” it had already repelled two other attacks in July and November the year before. Macon was a major supply centre for the Confederate army with its industry making cannons, small arms and amunition. Macon itself was heavily defended and housed a large garrison.

Brigadier James Harrison Wilson of the Union ( Wilson’s raiders) was given his orders by general Grant to form a force of 6000 cavalry troops and cross the Tennessee river, the force that left was 13480 split into four units, this was the” raid of all raids” and the largest cavalry action of the civil war. Between the 22nd March and mid April his troops had destroyed most of Alabama’s arms manufacturing capabilities.

So on the 20th April Wilson lead a division of 6000 troops under Colonel Robert H G Minty toward Macon only a matter of two weeks before the end of the conflict. Forward skirmishes around Macon started ahead of the main column, but when Wilson was only 13 miles from Macon General Howell Cobb of the Confederates surrendered before the main attack. This has been regarded as the last civil war battle.

Our revolver was discovered many years after the civil war. It was found along the main railway embankment in an area which would have been covered by an artillery battery and had already seen action a few months before. The revolver was certainly carried by a Union cavalry trooper and one of “Wilsons raiders”  who was active in the skirmishes at the front of the column as is stated in the provenance.

The revolver however is not one of the elusive 500 but with a faint anchor symbol to the grip a Confederate gun. Was this a spoil of war from an earlier cavalry attacked or was it a revolver that didn’t make it through the blockade and end up being issued into the Union forces.

Our thoughts on this are as the revolver carries low numbers it would have been through before any serious blockade was in place so  it probably was originally used by a confederate officer and taken as a prize during one of the battles.

So here we have a worn Kerr revolver in working order with provenance from the last battle of the American civil war. Eleven inches overall with a five and three quarter inch rifled .54 barrel. Made and stamped by the London Arms Company and serial numbered 290. Its been carried and used through the whole civil war.

It has been lightly restored and is in unbelievable condition and working order, this shows the quality and durability of these British revolvers considering it lay for 90 years before being found. If only it could talk!