American Rifleman - July 2011 - 55

Commemorating the Civil War
thus the South was, by nature, more accustomed to
foreign-made arms.

The Union's Cartridge Confusion

European-made pinfire cartridges were designated in millimeters, which, for the U.S. Ordnance
Dept., already burdened with far too many different
guns and calibers at the start of the war, made the
pinfire cartridges a considerable issue to sort out.
The French- and Belgian-made guns were made in
an assortment of chamberings including 7 mm,
10 mm, 12 mm and 15 mm. The 12 mm (roughly a
.44) was among the most commonly used, although
more exotic Belgian pinfire revolvers with as many
as 20 chambers in a massive double-stacked cylinder were chambered in 7 mm and 10 mm.
It is interesting to note that payments for guns
procured in England by the Confederacy were
often made in trade for cotton because Confederate
currency had so little value outside of the Southern
States. Cotton was a badly needed commodity in
Great Britain, which gave the South an advantage
in purchase negotiations. By early 1863, Caleb
Huse, promoted to the rank of major by Jefferson
Davis, had shipped thousands of British, French
and Belgian pinfire revolvers and long arms to the
Confederacy, thus becoming a pivotal figure in the
Civil War. An 1851 graduate of West Point (seventh in
his class) he served at West Point from 1852 to 1860
when he was appointed commander of cadets at
the University of Alabama.
At the start of the war he resigned
his position to join his former West
Point commandant, Robert E. Lee, in
support of the Confederate cause.
Though he first served in the Army,
his knowledge of firearms made him a
perfect choice for Ordnance.

The Museum of the Confederacy Tribute Revolver by
America Remembers combines the classic design of
the LeMat revolver with 24-karat gold and nickel artwork honoring the legacy of the Confederate soldiers
and their leaders who fought for the Confederacy.

S

ince the 100th anniversary of the War Between the
States, guns of the conflict have been popular themes
for limited-edition reproductions. Replica Colt-style
percussion pistols were created in Italy by Aldo Uberti during
the late 1950s for Navy Arms' Val Forgett, Jr., who wanted to
introduce a line of Colt 1851 Navy revolvers in time for the Civil
War Centennial in 1961. The introduction of Italian-made Colt
revolvers launched an industry, and Colt began making its own
19th century percussion models again in 1971. When it comes
to large production numbers and Civil War commemoratives,
one has to look no further than America Remembers and the
U.S. Historical Society, which have offered dozens of Civil War
commemoratives, including the LeMat pictured above.
-DENNIS ADLER

Living until age 74, Huse was one of the oldest Civil
War veterans. He died on March 12, 1905 at his home
in Highland Falls, N.Y. After the war he founded the
Highland Falls Academy, also known as "The Rocks," a
military preparatory school designed for young men
who planned to attend West Point. Among his early
students was a young soldier named John J. Pershing.
The guns imported from England, Belgium and
France, both before and during the war, played a significant role in not only arming the Confederacy, but
the Union as well. One could say that the British and
the French were dispassionate, openly selling arms to
both sides. While that is certainly one view, Samuel Colt
(as well as other Northern armsmakers who were still
delivering guns to the South at the beginning of the war)
would have simply considered it good business.
A pivotal figure in Confederate history, Maj. Caleb
Huse was responsible for importing arms from France
and England. Shown is a very important Confederate
presentation French pinfire revolving carbine manufactured by J. Chaineux and presented to Huse by the
armsmaker. The elegantly engraved 12 mm pinfire has a
251⁄8" octagonal barrel, a walnut stock, checkering at the
wrist and an ornate, inlaid-silver presentation plaque.
Huse, pictured here in the late 1890s, was founder of the
Highland Falls Military Academy in New York.

Photos courtesy of Rock Island Auction Co.

JULY 2011 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

53



American Rifleman - July 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - July 2011

American Rifleman - July 2011 - 1
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 2
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 3
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