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July 16, 2012

Colt Army Model 1860 Revolver Owned By Mathew Marvin

Filed under: What's New — Matt Anderson @ 2:14 pm

In October 2011, the Minnesota Historical Society acquired this Colt Army Model 1860 revolved used by Mathew Marvin of Company K in the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. A native of upstate New York, Marvin made his way to Winona, Minnesota, in 1859, where he clerked in a store. At the outset of the Civil War, he was among the first to enlist at Fort Snelling in April 1861.

Marvin’s military career was mixed. While he rose through the ranks from Private to First Sergeant, he also suffered three wounds. The first was in battle at First Bull Run, the second was in camp due to an accidental discharge from another soldier’s gun, and the third occured during the 1st Minnesota’s celebrated charge at Gettysburg. That wound, caused when a bullet passed through the length of his foot, effectively ended his service and troubled him for the remainder of his life. After recuperating with his parents in Illinois, Marvin eventually returned to Winona, where he was active in veterans’ affairs. He died, at age 64, in 1903, and was buried in Winona’s Woodlawn Cemetery.

Marvin’s revolver passed on to his daughter, Mabel, who in turn gave it to a collector shortly before her own death in 1955. The collector took it with him to Nebraska, where it was auctioned this past fall. Now the gun not only returns to Minnesota, but also joins Mathew Marvin’s frock coat, canteen, personal papers and diaries, already in the Society’s collections. It’s a magnificent addition, and all the more fitting as we commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Matt Anderson
Former Objects Curator

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