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NEW MODEL REMINGTON ARMY PISTOL – IDENTIFIED TO COMPANY K  9TH US CAVALRY – A HISTORIC AND WELL DOCUMENTED EARLY INDIAN WAR ISSUED REVOLVER:   This New Model Remington Army Pistol is stamped with the unit inventory markings for Company K, 9TH US Cavalry Regiment, one of the four original “Buffalo Soldier” units created immediately after the Civil War.  A true veteran of the early Indian Wars, the historical record of the 9TH Cavalry leaves no doubt that this pistol saw active and extensive service on the Texas frontier.     

While the army did not approve of such unit identification stamps being struck on the firearms, and in fact, specifically prohibited the practice via written orders, there were several units on the frontier that regularly applied stamped identification marks on their guns, to include the 3RD, 4TH, 8TH, 9TH, and 10TH Cavalry Regiments.   

Of special interest, as the army discouraged the practice, and therefore never established a service-wide standard for content, font, or placement of the identification stamps on the arms, each unit developed their own unique criteria and style, and more often than not, located the stamps on the same place on each of the firearms within a company or regiment.  The unique, unit-specific nature of these stamps has proven to be a boon to modern collectors, as once familiar with the placement and style of a particular unit’s stampings, the collector is better equipped to identify genuine stamps from spurious stamps that may have been applied to enhance an unmarked piece, and as many of these early frontier arms were used heavily and often show significant wear, in the cases where a portion of the markings have been partially worn or obliterated, what markings remain are sufficient to make a complete identification of the unit stamp possible.   

The left side of this pistol’s barrel/receiver boss is legibly stamped “Co K” establishing the issue of this pistol to Company K of the 9TH US Cavalry Regiment.   The format, font and location of this stamping is identical to other examples of this stamp noted on at least six other New Model Remington revolvers, all bearing the same “Co K” or “Co K 9 CAV” unit identification which was applied in the same font style and format.  Based on surviving examples, both styles of the stamping content - “Co K” or “Co K 9 CAV” were applied to the Remington pistols concurrently with no apparent rhyme or reason, but there is no doubt both styles of the stamping demonstrate ownership by Company K of the 9TH Cavalry Regiment.  

On August 3, 1866, General Philip Sheridan, then commanding the Department of the Gulf headquartered in New Orleans, was authorized to raise one regiment of cavalry specifically to be manned with black soldiers, which would be designated as the 9TH Regiment of US Cavalry.  Veterans of the Colored Regiments which had served during the Civil War were sought to form the nucleus of the new regiment, and recruiting efforts were conducted in Louisiana and Kentucky to bring the unit to full strength.  The recruits were assembled and trained in the area surrounding New Orleans, and by the spring of 1867 the regiment reported a total of 885 enlisted men with an average of 70 in each company.  In April of that year, the regiment was transferred to San Antonio, Texas save for two companies – L and M – which were sent directly south to Brownsville, Texas where they garrisoned that part of the border for several years.  The balance of the regiment was deployed into West and Southwest Texas, establishing some, and manning many, of the string of forts which stretched in a north-south line across the state.   

The principle duty of the regiment was to establish and protect the stage and mail routes from San Antonio to El Paso and establish law and order in the region along the Rio Grande River border frontier.  During that early Indian Wars period, the 9TH saw considerable action against the some of the Apache bands such as the Lipan and Jicarilla, and the Comanche and Kiowa who populated the Southern Plains, as well as having frequent encounters with border bandits.   

Surviving records in the form of the quarterly Ordnance Department Summary Statements serve to provide the location where individual companies were stationed at the time the report was prepared.  Just as important for establishing the history of this pistol, these same reports recorded which firearms were being carried by the soldiers of a particular company at a given point in time. 

Specific to this Remington New Model Army Revolver, these entries in the quarterly Ordnance Summaries reveal the following: 

- 2ND Quarter of 1867 Company K, reporting from Camp Stockton, Texas, were armed with Spencer carbines and light cavalry sabres.  The company reported no handguns in inventory; however the majority of the other 100 companies (10 cavalry regiments, 10 companies per regiment) were reporting being in possession of at least some quantity of handguns, and most reported a full complement of arms.  (Of the companies of the 9TH, only Company A had received any handguns as of this report.) 

- On December 26, 1867, Company K of the 9TH defended then “Camp” Lancaster (later designated “Fort”) during a two day long attack by a large force of Indians who were eventually driven off, but not before three soldiers had been killed.  No mention of pistols was made in this report, however one would have to assume that if the company was stationed out on such an extreme of the frontier such as Lancaster represented at that time (and frankly, still does today), one would hope they would have been fully equipped and armed.   

- 4TH Quarter of 1870 Company K was reporting they had 74 Remington .44 caliber pistols and 71 Spencers.   

- 1ST Quarter of 1871 Company K was reporting from Ft. Davis. 

- 4TH Quarter of 1871 Company K, reporting from Ft. Quitman, were armed with 68 Remingtons and 61 Spencers, the lower numbers perhaps indicating the number of soldiers in the company had been reduced in number. 

- 4TH Quarter of 1872 Company K, reporting from Ft. Clark, had 50 Remingtons.  It is interesting to note that in this same quarter many of the cavalry companies inventory reports show that they had turned in most, if not all of their Spencer carbines, and for this quarter were reporting a full complement of Sharps Carbines (Model 1868 Conversions in .50-70), indicating this change had been ordered service wide.  Company K reported 79 Sharps carbines in inventory.   

- 1ST Quarter of 1873 Company K was reported from Ft. Clark. 

- 3RD Quarter of 1873 Company K was reported from Ft. Brown. 

- 1ST Quarter of 1874, the quarterly Ordnance Summaries began to report the issue of the new Model 1873 Colt Revolvers and Model 1873 Trapdoor Carbines to the cavalry regiments.   

- By the 3RD Quarter of 1874 several companies of the 9TH Cavalry Regiment had begun to receive both of the new arms, however Company K, reported from the field near Ft. Sill, Indian Territory, they had received 89 of the new carbines, but had not yet received any of the new Colt Revolvers, indicating the soldiers in that company were still armed with the Remington New Model Army Revolvers.  The 4TH Quarter report of that same year still indicated none of the new Colt pistols had reached the company, now reporting its location as “near Ft. Griffin”.  It wasn’t until the 1ST Quarter of 1875 that the company reported from Fort Clark they had received 85 of the Model 1873 Colt Pistols, which presumably replaced their Remingtons (no Remingtons were reported in inventory).  

Since these reports document when the New Model Remington Army pistols were replaced with the issue of the Model 1873 Colt pistols, we are able to determine that the unit markings were applied to this Remington pistol during that fairly tight intervening period of eight years – between mid-1867 and early 1875.   

It is worth noting that at least one Model 1868 Sharps Carbine has been recorded which is stamped in two lines in the same format and style as the stamping on these 9TH Cavalry, Company K Remington New Model Army pistols.  The Sharps is stamped on the right side of the receiver block, with the stamping oriented to be read left to right with the carbine standing vertical on its butt - “Co K” and “9 CAV”.   

There is no doubt whatsoever that these “Co K” stampings are original to this pistol’s period of use, and that they are indeed genuine Company K, 9TH Cavalry markings.   Showing little, if any, wear across the length of the stamping, all of the characters are fully legible.   

This Remington presents in its original form with none of the evidence of the refurbishing to which so many of these early Indian War revolvers were subjected.  The barrel is full length at 8”, and the flats were not repeatedly polished, and still retain crisp edges.  The matching serial number – 84861 – is present and fully legible on the grip frame and on the underside of the barrel.  The serial number did not survive on the rear face of the cylinder, but there is a “P” proof stamp that is fully legible.  Whether the numerals were removed when the cylinder was being refurbished or serviced, or the cylinder was replaced due to being damaged, this cylinder has been with this revolver since its period of use on the frontier and it matches the balance of the gun in every way.  The Remington two line address and patent information is present on the top barrel flat and it is fully legible. The left grip panel bears the correct single inspector’s cartouche immediately adjacent to the bottom edge of the panel.  While lightly struck, it has survived intact and is legible.  There are some surface marks on the grip panels, but no cracks or significant chips from the toe surfaces.   

The mechanics are excellent, with the cylinder indexing properly and locking up tight at full cock, and the trigger function is crisp.  The metal finish is very smooth with no significant wear or pitting.  From all appearances, the pistol was reblued at some point in its history, but it appears to have been carried in a holster after the refinishing evidenced by wear on the high points.  The color is nicely aged and it presents very well.  The proper inspector’s marks are still visible in all the correct places, and the barrel address stamping is clear and legible.  

Most of these post-Civil War Remington Pistols which were issued to the frontier army were exposed to harsh and extensive service, and many of them probably did not survive to be available today.  Not only did this important specimen survive in very nice condition, but it is also unit marked in a well recognized manner which adds considerably to the value.  Well documented, these unit marked pistols have become very desirable and are quite difficult to find.  There is no doubt that this Remington is a true piece of history from the early Indian Wars and it is one that was carried by a soldier in a famous regiment on the Texas Frontier.  SOLD



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