The Museum's superb military collections document the history of the men and women of the armed forces of the United States. The collections include ordnance, firearms, and swords; uniforms and insignia; national and military flags and banners; and many other objects.
The strength of the collections lies in their enormous depth. Some 3,000 military small arms and 2,400 civilian firearms document the mechanical and technological history of the infantryman's weapons from the beginning of the gunpowder era to the present. Among the 4,000 swords and knives in the collection are many spectacular presentation pieces. The collections also include Civil War era telegraph equipment, home front artifacts from both world wars, early computers such as ENIAC, Whirlwind, and Sage, and materials carried at antiwar demonstrations.
"Military - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Physical Description:
- This .69 caliber smoothbore flintlock First Model pistol was made by the Virginia Manufactory for the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is iron mounted and fastens at the forend with a double strap barrel band. This pistol has a large gooseneck hammer. It also has a brass blade sight brazed to the lower strap of the barrel band. The ramrod is iron with a bulbous head. It has been reconverted from percussion.
- This pistol is stamped “VIRGINIA” under the pan and “MANUFACTORY” is script under Virginia. “RICHMOND/1808” is stamped at rear of lockplate. There is a raised “P” on the pistol.
- The Virginia Manufactory is also known as the Richmond Armory and the Virginia State Armory. It was established by the Act of 1797 to manufacture arms for the state militia. It was built along the James River and was initially in production from 1802 through 1820. The man who was in charge of the armory was James Haslett. He was formerly employed by Robert McCormick. He was recommended for the job by Colonel John Shee, a surgeon from Philadelphia who served in the Third Pennsylvania Battalion. He wrote to the Governor of Virginia that they would “be enabled to engage Haslett…for the Richmond Armory.” The Armory reopened in 1860 for production during the Civil War.
- This specific type of pistol is the largest American martial handgun ever made. The Virginia Manufactory cut down defective musket barrels from the iron mountings for these pistols. The raised “P” is in the place of typical Virginia regiment mark “4,V,A, REGT.”
- Flayderman, Norm. Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms…and their Values, Gun Digest Books, Iola, 2007. 9th edition.
- Gardner, Robert E. Col. Small Arms Makers: A Directory of Fabricators of Firearms, Edged Weapons, Crossbows and Polearms, Crown Publishers Inc, New York: 1963, p. 200.
- Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 240.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- associated date
- Virginia State Armory
- ID Number
- accession number
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center