150 Years ago in Firearms History…
A little over a month after Robert E Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis and his wife Varina were taken into custody by the Fourth Michigan Cavalry on May 10, 1865 in Irwinville, Georgia–an act that effectively dissolved what was left of the CSA.
This 1855 Percussion Paris-made rifle by Devisme (serial #10973), was owned by Jefferson Davis and confiscated by Union troops when he was arrested. As a USMA graduate, Mexican War veteran (1st Mississippi Rifles) and former Secretary of War, Davis was an avid arms collector and acquired this rare European gun for his own personal armory.
This rifle was designed to fire .74 caliber explosive projectiles similar to artillery projectiles– which with the technology of the era was likely a hit and miss idea for military shoulder arms. The unorthodox projectiles used by this weapon might be the, “infernal machine,” described by a contemporary report when the Confederate leader was captured. Media spin on guns is nothing new.