INSCRIBED WHITNEY POCKET MODEL REVOLVER OF SERGEANT R.H. BLACKSTONE, 33rd MASS INFANTRY AND 2nd MASS HEAVY ARTILLERY

$2,950.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 2022-983

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This Second Model, Third Type, Whitney pocket revolver is .31 Caliber, five-shot, has a 4.5 inch barrel, serial number 14111, and has a very pretty, period script inscription on the buttstrap indicating it belonged to Sergeant Reuben H. Blackstone, most likely a gift from well-wishers on his mustering into the 33rd Massachusetts as 2nd Sergeant of Company G on 8/5/1862. Quite a few early war NCOs of Massachusetts regiments seem to have been presented with or carried pistols, perhaps a tradition carried over from pre-war militia. The pistol is complete and all original, cleaned to bright at some point, but showing some faint blue on the left rear frame, and toning down slightly. This rubbed the middle of the “E. WHITNEY / NEW HAVEN” barrel address and did away with most of the cylinder scene, though elements are visible. The metal is smooth overall and largely a muted silver in color, with thin gray spots and a little fine pitting visible forward of the cylinder on the sides and top of the frame. The nipples are not battered down. The grips fit the frame well and show some wear around the bottom and various dings and scratches. The buttstrap is professionally engraved in script, fully legible, reading, “2nd Sergt. R.H. Blackstone.”

There is only one candidate: Reuben H. Blackstone, a married, 27 year-old manufacturer from Lowell, MA, who enlisted 6/2/62 and on 8/5/62 mustered into the 33rd Massachusetts Infantry as Second Sergeant of Co. G, and was listed as such on the muster roll. He is listed as present on all muster rolls until Mar-Apr 1863 when he is in the division hospital, and was discharged for disability on 6/2/63 at Stafford Court House, Va. The regiment had arrived in Washington 8/17/62 and was was posted to Alexandria and then Fairfax Court House, where it joined Sigel’s Corps, later designated the 11th and saw action in May at Chancellorsville. Blackstone was discharged for disability 6/6/63 at Stafford Court House. His company commander and the surgeon noted that he had been in good health and “discharged the duties of a soldier to the satisfaction of his officers and credit to himself” during his service, but since January 15, 1863, had been in poor health and unfit for duty, suffering from “dyspepsia of a chronic nature” and becoming, “quite deaf.”

Blackstone, however, seems to have been determined to serve and despite the surgeon’s opinion that he was, “of no further use as a soldier to the government,” he rejoined the army two months later, claiming Boston as his residence, enlisting 8/15/63, and mustering into Co. D of the 2nd Mass. Heavy Artillery on Sept. 15. Companies of the regiment served at different locations. Records indicate he was made 3rd Sergeant at some point of Company D, which was initially posted to New Bern, NC, with other companies posted in both North Carolina and Virginia. In Oct-Nov 1863 he is listed as sick at Morehead and at Beaufort, NC, and again in May 1864 at New Bern, but from August 1864 to January 1865 is listed as acting 1st Sergeant of Co. H at Fort Totten. This was one of two companies captured at Plymouth and was likely being reconstituted at that point from survivors and new recruits. He then accompanied them to Plymouth where he served from February to April 1865 as acting Sergeant Major of the battalion posted there. The entire regiment reunited in June near New Bern, moved to Wilmington in July, and garrisoned Fort Fisher and other defenses on the Cape Fear River. Blackstone mustered out with the regiment on Sept. 3, returning to Boston on September 15, 1865.

Blackstone was born in Vermont and in postwar years spent time both in Massachusetts and in Groton, NH, where he was a farmer and town clerk, and died in 1884.

This is a very nicely inscribed revolver carried by a sergeant determined to serve his country.  [sr] [ph:m]

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