Virginia Manufactory Pistol Second Model

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Physical Description:
This .54 caliber smoothbore flintlock 2nd Model pistol was made by the Virginia Manufactory. It was modeled after the Harpers Ferry Model 1805. It has brass mountings, a walnut half stock and is wedge fastened. It has an iron rib under the barrel with a wooden ramrod with swelled tip.
It is stamped “VIRGINIA” and “RICHMOND/1812” on the lockplate. “P” is stamped inside the lockplate and so is “VIII” and “8”. The walnut stock is stamped “RI”.
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 they would “be enabled to engage Haslett…for the Richmond Armory.” The Armory reopened in 1860 for production during the Civil War.
It is a rare pistol type made with a hickory ramrod. Fewer than 300 wooden ramrods were made after 1812 because the iron swivel type was favored. There are cuts in the iron rib to make it easier to get the ramrod.
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. 242.
Currently not on view
date made
associated date
Virginia State Armory
place made
United States: Virginia, Richmond
Physical Description
metal (part material)
wood (part material)
overall: 16 1/2 in; 41.91 cm
overall: 16 1/2 in x 5 3/4 in x 2 1/8 in; 41.91 cm x 14.605 cm x 5.3975 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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