Just who the heck is Mad Harry, anyway?

Image via the National Firearms Museum, Fairfax, VA

Image via the National Firearms Museum, Fairfax, VA

One of the first revolvers to shoot metallic cartridges, this Smith & Wesson Model No. 1 First Issue had a cylinder that held seven .22 short cartridges, patent of 1857. This particular Model No. 1 is engraved, “Mad Harry / Fairfax Court House / July 15th 1861.” on one side and on the other, it is engraved, “Lt. Col. HD Townsend / 1st Cavalry.” On the butt, is engraved “Charlotte”

Lt. Col. Townsend served in the 1st Connecticut Cavalry and received this revolver 153 years ago – less than a week before the battle of 1st Manassas on July 21, 1861. As for the “Mad Harry” nickname or just who Charlotte was? That remains a mystery

The First Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Cavalry was organized 23 Oct 1861 which means that Townsend had unit marking at least added after he received the pistol. The regiment fought with the Army of the Potomac and was present at the Battle of Cross Keys, Second Battle of Bull Run, Spotsylvania Court House, Petersburg, Strasburg, Five Forks, Appomattox and others, being  mustered out of service on August 2, 1865. So you can bet this little S&W saw a good bit of campaigning.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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