The US M1836 Pistol was the last of the single-shot martial flintlock pistols to be authorized and contracted for by the US government. Between 1836 and 1844 a total of 41,000 of the pistols were ordered from Asa Waters of Millbury, MA and Robert Johnson of Middleton, CT. The guns were .54 caliber, smoothbores and utilized a permanently attached swivel ramrod mounted under the muzzle. Waters delivered more than 50% of the guns ordered, with Johnson delivering a total of 18,000. During the years leading up to the Civil War, many of these pistols were sent to the various states as part of their annual allotment of arms under the Militia Act of 1808. Between the years of 1837 and 1846, a total of 2,660 of these pistols were delivered to the state of North Carolina.
This very attractive US M-1836 pistol (Flayderman 6A-034) is one of those North Carolina owned guns. The pistol remains in its original flintlock configuration, which is uncommon for flintlock pistols that were sent to Southern states prior to the Civil War. Nearly all of those guns ended up being converted to percussion with the opening of hostilities. This is one of the Johnson contract pistols and is clearly marked on the lock in four lines forward of the hammer:
U.S. / R. JOHNSON / MIDDN CONN / 1838
The breech is clearly marked in three lines: U.S. / JCS / P. The JCS is the mark of John C Stebbins, who also inspected Hall carbines, Derringer Rifles and Waters Pistols between 1834 and 1841. The top of the barrel is stamped with the North Carolina property mark: N. CAROLINA. The stock flat opposite the lock has two fairly legible cartouches: one a relatively clear EB for Elizur Bates and a MPL, the mark of Major M.P. Lomax who inspected Johnson & Waters pistols and Hall carbines from 1837-1843. The pistol is in VERY GOOD+ condition overall, with very nice metal in near fine condition that is quite smooth throughout with only the most minor peppering pinpricking present. Only the hammer and rammer show any significant roughness or light pitting – likely from poor storage over time. The gun has a medium steel gray patina with some light scattered areas of age staining and minor discoloration, mixed with some old dried oil. The lock is crisp and works well on all positions and the frizzen is nice and tight, working as it should. The lock retains traces of the original case hardened finish mixed with a medium gray-brown patina and some darker age discoloration. The brass pan shows good age and is uncleaned, with some light verdigris around the edges near the stock. The interior of the lock is completely untouched and unmolested, showing the perfect and precise fit of an original flintlock battery. The touchhole is well centered vertically in the pan and just slightly forward of center horizontally. The touchhole shows some minor erosion, commensurate with the appearance of the metal on the barrel around the breech area. The iron furniture shows slightly more age discoloration and a thinly forming brown patina on most of the parts. The stock is in VERY GOOD+ condition, and it is strong and complete with no repairs. There are some minor chips around the lock mortise – mostly at the front end of the lock. There is one very tiny crack running from the rear lock plate mounting screw to the barrel channel – the result of the screw being over tightened at some point in time. The stock retains good edges and has a very pleasing look to it overall.
All in all this is a really attractive and relatively crisp example of a secondary Confederate pistol. The gun is in original flint, which rare for any late model marital flintlock weapon. I got a good deal on this gun and it is priced very fairly, without any particular premium being placed on the North Carolina mark (Flayderman says a 25% premium is appropriate so if that is the case, this pistol is priced at least $500 under its current market value). If you have been wanting a nice pre-war pistol to add to your Civil War pistol collection, with some strong southern ties, it would be hard to beat this one for overall condition, completeness, and strong eye appeal. SOLD