Colt Model 1862 Pocket Police Revolver Inscribed to Capt Chas Walker
- Product Code: FHG-3459-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
In 1861 Colt introduced two new pocket model revolvers in the more powerful .36 caliber chambering. Until that time, all of Colt’s “Pocket” guns had been .31 caliber, or in the case of some of the Root revolver production, .28 caliber. These new pocket revolvers can be considered “scaled up” 1849 Pocket Models or scaled down Belt Pistols (aka “Navy” models), as both guns had features of their smaller and larger siblings. The two new models were known as the Model 1862 Police and the Model 1862 Pocket Navy.
The “Police” model resembled a scaled down, early production Colt Model 1861 New Model Belt (Navy) revolver, built on a Colt Model 1849 Pocket frame. The .36 caliber revolver had a five shot fluted cylinder and the grip frame and triggerguard were of Colt Pocket size and style. It had a round barrel, a creeping loading lever and was available in 3 ½”, 4 ½”, 5 ½” and 6 ½” barrel lengths. The Pocket Navy was essentially a scaled down Model 1851 Navy that was also built on a Model 1849 Pocket frame, with a .36 caliber, five shot, rebated round cylinder that was roll engraved with the same Stagecoach Hold Up scene used on the Model 1849 Pocket. Like the Police model it used a Pocket-sized frame and triggerguard but had an octagonal barrel and conventional swinging link loading lever like those used on the Model 1849 and Model 1851 revolvers. Like the Police, it was available in four different barrel lengths ranging from 3 ½” to 6 ½”, in 1” increments. The standard finish for both revolvers was blued barrels and cylinders, color casehardened frames and silver-plated brass backstraps, gripstraps and triggerguards. A few of the revolvers were produced with iron grip frames and triggerguards, which were also silver plated, but these are only found on very low number, very early production guns. Early production revolvers will be found with the desirable Hartford barrel address, but the majority of the production carried the typical New York barrel address. Although both models are referred to with the model date of 1862, both went into production in 1861, and would remain in production until the end of the Colt percussion era in 1873. During that time some 47,000 of both models would be produced, manufactured concurrently, and utilizing the same serial number series, regardless of model. According to Colt researcher and author R.L Wilson, it is believed that about 60% of the total production of the two models was of the 1862 Police pattern, which would be approximately 28,200 guns, produced over about the thirteen-year production period. Compared to the Colt Pocket, with about 331,000 guns produced, this makes the 1862 Police a much less common gun, with only one being manufactured for about every eleven Model 1849 Pocket Models.
The Colt Model 1862 Police Revolver offered here is in about GOOD+ condition and is inscribed on the butt with a simple presentation name:
Capt Chas Walker
The revolver is serial number 1150 and was produced in 1861. The revolver has a 5 ½” barrel and the typical fluted cylinder of the 1862 Police Model. The top of the barrel is weakly marked in a single line with the early and desirable address and reads:
ADDRESS COL SAML COLT HARTFORD, CT
The lower left side of the frame, forward of the cylinder is marked in two lines:
and one of the cylinder flutes is marked:
PAT. SEPT. 10TH 1850
The matching serial number 1150 appears throughout the revolver. It is present on the bottom of the barrel lug, frame, triggerguard and butt. The last three digits of the serial number also appears on the wedge and the arbor pin. While the earliest Pocket Police revolvers had their cylinders numbered in one of the flutes like the early “Fluted” Army revolvers, the later production guns were numbered on the rear of the cylinder. In this case there is no indication that there was ever a number in the flutes and due to wear and flash erosion there is no visible number on the rear face of the cylinder.
The most intriguing part of the gun is the gracefully applied simple script inscription on the butt. A search of the Historical Data Systems database (www.civilwardata.com) reveals that there were twelve Charles Walkers who were commissioned officers on the Union side and five on the Confederate side. However, it was easy to eliminate all of the Confederate officers from consideration for the potential identification, as none rose above the rank of 1st Lieutenant. It was relatively easy to eliminate the majority of the Union officers as well, since only four of them were ever captains. The balance never rose above 1st Lieutenant or in one case, was a Chaplain. The four possibilities were as follows:
Line #99 Charles Walker of Portland, ME. Commissioned on 3 May 1861 as Captain of Company B of the 1st Maine Infantry Regiment.
Line #117 Charles A Walker of New York, NY. Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant on 3 September 1862 in Company A of the 165th New York Infantry Regiment, promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 19 May 1863 and then to Captain on 3 September 1863.
Line #169 Charles H Walker of Manitowoc, WI. Commissioned Captain of Company K of the 21st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment on 26 August 1862, later promoted to Major on 3 May 1864.
Line #175 Charles J Walker of Kentucky. Former regular Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd US Cavalry from 1 July 1857. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of 11 May 1861 then to Captain on 15 February 1862 and then made the Colonel of the 10th Kentucky Cavalry on 12 December 1862. He resigned from that command on 1 September 1863, returned to the 2nd US and finally resigned that commission on 25 July 1863 after a Brevet promotion to Major in the Regular Army on 15 April 1865.
Those are the only four possible candidates as the owner of the revolver. The last one, #175, can be eliminated logically as a pre-war Regular Army Cavalry officer, this Charles Walker almost certainly would not have carried a pocket revolver, rather he would have had a full-sized holster revolver. The second one, #117 can also be logically eliminated as the promotion was fully two years after the production of the revolver and it is unlikely that the promotion would have been so commemorated. That leaves only option one, #99 or option three, #169. Both make sense as both were initially commissioned as Captains of infantry and thus both would have likely either received or acquired a mid-sized revolver to carry in the field for personal protection and it would be quite likely that starting a military career as a captain would be an event commemorated with an inscription on the gun. Again, the serial number of the gun, indicating that it was produced in early 1861 helps inform our decision. As some 8,500 Model 1862 Police and Pocket Navy revolvers were produced in 1861, this gun was almost certainly produced during the first quarter of that year. Our Wisconsin captain was not commissioned until the summer of 1862, more than a year after the gun was produced. However, our Charles Walker from Maine was commissioned on 3 May 1861 and with the revolver likely produced within the three months prior to that commissioning, he seems the most likely candidate from a logical standpoint. The revolver also came out of a collection of guns in the northeast, which further bolsters that Charles Walker as the revolver’s owner.
Charles Walker of Portland Maine was 26 years old when he joined the 1st Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was commissioned Captain of Company B on 3 May 1861. The 1st Maine was one of the earliest regiments raised when President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers, and like many early regiments was a 90-day regiment whose core came from existing state militia companies. The 1st Maine was transported to the defenses of Washington, where they remained for their entire period of service and was Mustered Out on 5 August 1861. However, Charles Walker felt that he still had patriotic duty to do and on 28 September 1861 he was commissioned into the Staff & Field of the 10th Maine Volunteer Infantry, but this time as a Major. Major Walker remained with the 10th Maine until 26 January 1863, when he resigned his commission. The 10th Maine has been formed from a core of 1st Maine men who had signed two-year enlistments and were not mustered out of service in August of 1861 with the balance of the 1st Maine when it was disbanded. The regiment was officially organized on 4 October, 1861and traveled to Baltimore Maryland where it was attached to Dix’s Division until November of 1861. It was then transferred to the Railroad Brigade of the Army of the Potomac until April of 1862 when it was transferred to the 1st Brigade of Williams Division in the Department of the Shenandoah. In June of 1862 the regiment was reassigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Division of the II Corps of the Army of Virginia where it would remain until September when it was transferred again to the 1st Brigade, 1st Division of the XII Corps of the Army of the Potomac, where it would remain through April of 1863. During Walker’s service with the 10th Maine, the regiment would see action from May to June 1862 during Jackson’s Valley Campaign, at Cedar Mountain on 9 August 1862, during the Northern Virginia Campaign from mid-August to early September of 1862 and at Antietam on 17 September 1862. During that brief period of time the 10th Maine would suffer 326 causalities, roughly one-third of its strength. These included 43 men killed in action, 186 wounded, 94 taken prisoner and 3 listed as missing. After a harsh summer and early fall of campaigning in 1862, and a winter that was likely equally harsh, Major Walker resigned his commission on 26 January 1863. During the regiment’s winter service, they spent October 3-December 10 of 1862 in Berlin, MD (now Brunswick, MD), marched from there to Fairfax Station, VA from the 10th to the 14th of December, remained at Fairfax Station until January 19 of 1863 and then spent four days marching to Stafford Court House, VA where they stayed until April 27 of 1863 when the majority of the regiment was mustered out. Only the men who had signed three-year enlistments remained at that point and they were reorganized as the three-company 10th Maine Battalion. Walker was specifically noted for his bravery under duress at Antietam, as within minutes of the 10th Maine’s involvement both the colonel and lieutenant colonel were killed in action. As one 10th Maine soldier remembered:
“…before we had fired two rounds our Colonel and Lieut Colonel were hors du combat. The command then devolved upon Major Walker who had been sick a month, but who still kept along with us hoping against hope and reason that he might improve. It is no slur upon our good Major to say that we were now sadly disabled for a change of commanders is almost always attended with confusion and misfortune.”
It was further noted that he did not recover his health that fall or winter and returned home on leave during the winter of 1862-1863 prior to officially resigning his commission on 23 January 1863. It was noted that as of 1871 his health had still not improved. However, the hardy man managed to live until 25 January 1907, dying at the age of 71.
Captain (Major) Walker’s revolver remains in about NEAR VERY GOOD condition. It retains no finish and has a moderately oxidized even brown patina that has developed over an old cleaning. The barrel address is weak due to cleaning and is only partially legible. The frame markings remain fully legible but are slightly weak. The rolled patent date in the cylinder flute remains quite clear and legible. The frame shows some mottling of darker and lighter browns which give some minute hints of the case coloring that was originally on the frame. The brass has some minor traces of silver remaining in protected areas. The exposed brass has an attractive mellow golden patina. The metal is mostly smooth with some scattered pinpricking and very lightly scattered freckled surface roughness. The rear face of the cylinder and the chambers show moderate to heavy oxidation and some roughness and pitting due to flash erosion. All of the original cones remain in place and show moderate wear but remain fairly crisp and usable. The safety pins on the rear face of the cylinder all show moderate to heavy wear, with all five being little more than the battered remnants of the pins. The bore of the revolver is in about GOOD condition and is dark and heavily oxidized. It retains deep rifling but also shows evenly distributed moderate pitting along its length. The original truncated brass cone front sight is in place on the top of the barrel, near the muzzle and it shows wear from lots of carry. The creeping loading lever functions smoothly and correctly and locks securely into place under the barrel when not in use. The revolver functions correct and times, indexes, and locks up as it should. The one-piece walnut grip is in VERY GOOD condition and is free of any breaks, cracks, or repairs. The grip retains about 50%+ of its original varnish, with most of the wear and loss around the base of the sharp lower edges grip. These areas show the most wear overall, but the flared edges remain fairly crisp. The grip does show some scattered dings, rubs and mars, but nothing indicative of abuse, just lots of carry and use.
Overall, this is an attractive and desirable example of an identified early Civil War production Colt Model 1862 Policerevolver, produced in the first part of 1861. The gun remains fairly crisp despite not retaining any finish and remains mechanically functional. The 1862 Police is literally ten times less common than the 1849 Pocket, and this one has a nice, engraved identification on the butt that will make it a special part of your collection. A folder of information regarding Charles Walker and the regiments that he served with is included.