November 15 & 16, 2022 Extraordinary Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/15/2022
John Brown is perhaps one of the most recognizable and controversial figures of the American Civil War Era. Brown was both famous and notorious as he made a name for himself with his infamous raids which added to the unrest of the time, and was often regarded as a martyr in the North and a villain in the South. His raid at Harpers Ferry on October 18, 1859 is perhaps one of the most defining moments for his life, but also the country, as it was one of the final sparks that ignited secession. Brown’s aggression and the controversy he caused still creates debate amongst historians to this day. Brown accumulated various weapons for his raids, and among his arsenal he and his followers used to overthrow the armory at Harpers Ferry, were 200 Sharps carbines. This Sharps carbine was captured and secured by the Independent Grays, who were 1 of the 5 Baltimore militia companies sent to Harpers Ferry, where they joined 3 companies from Frederick, already on the scene with the Virginia militia. The Independent Greys were organized on August 14, 1833 and first paraded on March 18, 1834, 20 men strong, under Captain J.M. Anderson and Lieutenants Gill and Cram. During the Mexican War 15 members of the Greys received commissions, and at least one company of Colonel Hughes’ Regiment of Maryland and District of Columbia Volunteers, serving 1847-1848, had members of the Greys as Captain and all 3 Lieutenants. An 1858 newspaper noted membership had declined, but was again on the rise. They were part of Maryland’s “First Light Division,” based at Baltimore and consisted of 2 brigades, the Second, made of up the 1st Rifle Regiment, the Battalion of Baltimore City Guards, and the 53rd Regiment, of which the Independent Greys comprised 1 company, though there is also reference to an Independent Greys Band in the mid-1850s. Their defining moment would originate at Harpers Ferry in 1859 when Lieutenants Simpson and Kerchner led the detachment from the Independent Greys who were among the 201 Baltimore militia who took part in John Brown’s capture. The Greys were ordered to seize the arms that Brown had stored at a log cabin sometimes used as a schoolhouse and were each permitted to retain one of the Sharps carbines discovered there. A period article states that the room was “littered with Sharp’s rifles” and that “after satisfying themselves that the traitors had fled, the gallant Grays proceeded to possess themselves each man a rifle and a pair of revolvers, the remainder being placed, together with a large number of pikes upon a large new wagon.”. During the Civil War the nickname Independent Greys was used by Company D, of the 1st Maryland in Confederate service. The Sharps exhibits a beautiful inscription on the patchbox “Captured by the / Independent Greys, / At the Insurrection at Harpers Ferry / Oct. 18th 1859. R. Wm. Grahame” in elegantly engraved script. Hartzler’s notes identify Grahame as Robert W. Graham, who served in the Civil War as Captain and Assistant Quartermaster in the 21st Texas Cavalry. His records are fragmentary. He was appointed Captain and Assistant Quartermaster in the CS Army on July 29, 1862, with rank from July 1 and assigned to the 21st Texas Cavalry. In September 1863 he shows up as Assistant Quartermaster for Carter’s Texas Cavalry Brigade at Pine Bluff, Arkansas and in May 1864 as Assistant Quartermaster in the Department of Texas. The 21st Texas Cavalry was organized in Spring 1862 by G.W. Carter, who envisioned a regiment of lancers, and then a brigade of 3 regiments. Despite occasional references to it as the 1st Texas Lancers, the regiment served as conventional cavalry and Carter’s other 2 nascent regiments were dismounted and served as infantry. The 21st served in Parson’s brigade, though Carter occasionally commanded some of Parson’s Texas units as a separate brigade. The regiment participated in Marmaduke's invasion of Missouri in the spring of 1863, taking part in the raid on Cape Girardeau between April 17 and May 2, 1863, and then returned to southern part of the state to picket the Arkansas River and later act as scouts and raiders after the fall of Pine Bluff. In 1864, the regiment saw its second major action in countering Union General Banks’s Red River Campaign, following the retreating Federal army down the Red River and fighting numerous skirmishes with Union cavalry and infantry, with its last action at Yellow Bayou on May 18, 1864. The regiment returned to Arkansas once again, continuing to act as scouts and raiders. In early 1865 it transferred to Walter Lane’s Brigade, and disbanded in Texas in Spring 1865. Another possibility is a member of the Grahame family of Calvert County, Maryland. We note a Richard W. Grahame in the 1855-56 freshman class of St. Johns at Annapolis, and a clerk of the same name in Baltimore in 1863. The carbine is accompanied by a binder of research regarding these weapons and their relation to John Brown, as well as research regarding the service of Robert W. Grahame. This Sharps Model 1853 single shot slant breech percussion carbine features a round barrel with folding rear sight and blade front. 2 piece plain walnut stock and forearm complete with single brass barrel band, slide bar minus carbine ring, empty brass patchbox, and brass carbine buttplate. CONDITION: Good with virtually all of the original finish turned to a mottled gray patina with moderate pitting and handling marks. Stock exhibits scattered small dents and handling wear with significant chip at toe of stock at buttplate. Bore exhibits some darkness and moderate abrasion but retains sharp rifling. This is a rare opportunity to possess an artifact that was part of one of the most significant events leading up to the Civil War.
Barrel Length
.52 caliber
FFL Status
Binder of Research
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $15,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium:
Estimate: $30,000 - $60,000
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.
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