Lefaucheux M1858 pinfire revolver

Manufactured in France in the late 1850′s or early 1860′s and imported by the Confederates States during the American Civil War, serial number 247404.
12mm pinfire, double action, six-rounds cylinder loaded through a loading gate, manual extractor rod.

The M1858 was simply Eugène Lefaucheux’s 1854 revolver design, with few modifications like the grip for its French Navy service. The gun would go on to be an iconic design in Western Europe and be copied by various French and Belgian gunsmiths well into the 1870′s. The power of its 12mm cartridge is roughly equivalent to that of a .25ACP round today, cause black powder and all that.
Note the ledge protecting the back of the cylinder to prevent accidental discharges from hitting the cartridges’ exposed pins.


pileus–close-fitting, brimless hat worn by Roman free men.

Why isn’t the statue of Freedom on top of the Capitol building in Washington wearing a pileus?

In Roman times the pileus was worn only by free men to distinguish poor commoners from slaves.  When a slave was freed he was entitled to wear the distinctive brimless felt cap.  Centuries later during the classical revival of the 1700s and 1800s the pileus was confused with the Phrygian cap which differs from it in having a more conical shape with a pointed crown that curls forward.

The nation of France is represented as a woman called Marianne wearing a red “Liberty Cap” in the Phrygian style.  The red Phrygian cap, confused with the pileus, was adopted as a symbol of liberty after the French Revolution.  Statues and pictures of the personification of Liberty generally wore the Phrygian Cap thereafter.

The statue of Liberty on the Capitol building was originally designed to be wearing a pileus, but the then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, later President of the Confederacy, objected to it as a symbol of abolition.  He insisted that it was inappropriate to a nation that was born free and would never be enslaved.  A crest of feathers was substituted.  At first the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor was supposed to have a pileus, but the objection at that time was that the statue should be appropriate to America and not too much look like the French Marianne.

Word origin:  The Latin word pileus is from the Greek πῖλος, pilos. which referred to the same style of cap.  In ancient sculpture and painting, the Phrygian cap is an indication that the figure is either specifically from Phrygia or in general from somewhere in Asia or the east.  


The Liberty Cap in the Art of the U.S. Capitol

Kissed by Fortune: Freedmen in Ancient Rome

Tricoteuse—women who knitted Liberty Caps beside the guillotine

French National Symbols: Marianne

Historic Southern United States. The Confederate States have historically been regarded as forming “the South”. States shown in light red are considered “border states”, and gave varying degrees of support to the Southern cause although they remained in the Union. (This image depicts the original, trans-Allegheny borders of Virginia, and so does not show West Virginia separately. See the images above for post-1863 Virginia and West Virginia borders.) Although Oklahoma was aligned with the Confederacy, it was not an official state because at the time the region was Indian Territory, not a state. Drawn by Nicholas F Source en:wikipedia

The Confederate States of America (also called the Confederacy, the Confederate States, C.S.A. and The South) was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by eleven Southern slave states that had declared their secession from the United States. Secessionists argued that the United States Constitution was a compact among states, an agreement which each state could abandon without consultation. The U.S. government (The Union) rejected secession as illegal. Following a Confederate attack upon Fort Sumter, a federal fort in the Confederate state of South Carolina, the U.S. used military action to defeat the Confederacy. No foreign nation officially recognized the Confederate States of America as an independent country,but several did grant belligerent status. [Source: Wikipedia]

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