Ol Pap’s Colt up for grabs, cat not included

Sterling Price was an interesting figure in U.S. military history. Born in Virginia in 1809, he studied law before moving to the Missouri Territory at age 22. Soon becoming a prominent man there, he led militia during that territory’s Mormon War in 1838, was thrice elected to the state legislature and finally, to Congress in 1845.

When the war with Mexico kicked off the next year, he resigned his seat on Capitol Hill to take command of a volunteer Missouri cavalry regiment he raised and headed to what is now New Mexico where he fought in a series of small actions that cumulated with the skirmish at Cruz de Rosales, Chihuahua, in 1848– which was technically after the war had concluded, a fact he was informed of by the local Mexican commander prior to the battle.

Nonetheless, Price finished his campaigning as a Brevet Maj. Gen. (of Volunteers) with the laurels of a hero, which led to his easy win in a later gubernatorial race to head the Show-Me State.

Price, via the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Fast forward to early 1861 and, although he never led a force larger than 400 men during the previous conflict, Price was made a Maj. Gen. (of Missouri state volunteers) and given command of the nominally Corps-sized Missouri State Guard.

Although he gave a good account of himself in early scrapes against bluecoats at Carthage and Wilson’s Creek, he later suffered a string of often humiliating defeats such as at Pea Ridge (although Van Dorn was in overall command there) and in his pretty ineffective 1,400-mile 1864 raid across Missouri and Kansas.

Price’s Missouri Raid in the Trans-Mississippi Theater, 1864, (red line to the left) via National Park Service

Price ended the war by skipping over the southern border and offering his services to Maximillian, which were declined. He died in 1867.

Perhaps the general’s greatest claim to fame in modern times is the fact his name was reused for the fictional one-eyed lawman Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn’s alcoholic cat. As Cogburn had ridden as a kid with Missouri bushwacker partisan ranger leader William Quantrill during Price’s Raid– during which he lost his eye– the choice makes sense.

Which brings us to a revolver in the news this week.

In 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, Sterling “Ol Pap” Price bought a fine Model 1849 .31 caliber Colt pocket model, and it, along with a lap desk and accessories, are up for grabs at an upcoming auction conducted by Milestone Auctions in Ohio this month. It is engraved on the backstrap “Gen. Sterling Price C.S.”

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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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