Virgina Manufactory Pistol, 2nd Model

Physical Description:
This .54 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol 2nd Model was made by the Virginia State Armory in Richmond Virginia. It is wedge fastened, has an iron rib under the barrel, a walnut half stock, and a swivel type ramrod with button head. It has a brass ramrod pipe, buttplate and trigger guard.
The lock plate is stamped “RICHMOND” under the flashpan and “1815” at the rear. “77” is stamped on the left side of the barrel. The inside of the lock plate is stamped “V”.
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 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 the state would “be enabled to engage Haslett…for the Richmond Armory.” The Armory reopened in 1860 for production during the Civil War.
The Virginia Manufactory was one of the only companies to issue only one pistol. This practice was called the single pistol theory. It was based on the economy and the belief that a sword was more important to a cavalryman than a pistol.
This pistol has two differences from other pistols with this date. It has a thicker and straighter grip and the lock marking lacks the typical “VIRGINIA” stamp.
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. 246.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pistol, flintlock
date made
Virginia Manufactory
Physical Description
iron (part material)
brass (part material)
wood (part material)
average spatial: 6 1/2 in x 16 in x 2 1/4 in; 16.51 cm x 40.64 cm x 5.715 cm
barrel: 1.422 cm x 25.718 cm; 9/16 in x 10 1/8 in
overall: 16 in x 6 1/4 in x 2 1/8 in; 40.64 cm x 15.875 cm x 5.3975 cm
place made
United States: Virginia, Richmond
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
Additional Media

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