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Elgin Pistol

Elgin Pistol

These unique combination guns were purchased by the Navy to arm the famous Wilkes South Seas Exploring Expedition. The mission of the Wilkes Expedition was to explore and map heretofore unknown islands in the South Pacific. Elgin Cutlass Pistols were used in defense of a landing party attacked by hostile natives in the Fiji islands. On July 24, 1840, Midshipman Wilkes Henry was killed using a cutlass/pistol to cover the retreat of a landing party. The U.S. Navy Elgin Cutlass Pistol has the distinction of being the only combination gun ever issued to the U.S. military. The pistol features a massive, 11.5-inch, Bowie-type blade made by N.P. Ames. The blade has an integral trigger and knuckle guard and is attached to the underside of the smoothbore, octagon, pistol barrel by a tongue and groove with two screws. The box lock action is fitted with a one-piece walnut grip. The top barrel flat is stamped "ELGINS/PATENT" in two lines parallel to the bore followed by "CRA/PM/1837" stamped perpendicular to the bore. The left side of the frame is stamped: "C.B. ALLEN/SPRINGFIELD/MASS." in three lines. The serial number, "**" is stamped on the left barrel flat

A few Elgin pistols were still in use during the US Civil War, but proved unpopular. The Navy quickly replaced them with the M1860 Cutlass, which remained in service until the 1940s. Some found their way into civilian hands and some ended up in the Old West.

Cutlass Pistol

C.B. Allen of Springfield

Percussion cap

.54 percussion

5 inch octagonal, 11.5-inch Bowie knife blade.

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