Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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.38 Caliber Revolver, Colt Navy Model 1895 Recovered from the Wreck of USS Maine 


One .38 Caliber Colt Navy Revolver Model 1889/1895 recovered from the wreck of the USS Maine. Significant salt corrosion.

Title: Revolver, .38 Caliber, M1895, Colt, Navy, US
Accession #: NHHC 1960-45-C
Circa: 1895
Size:
Medium: Metal, Rubber
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command

One double-action Colt “New Navy” M1895 Revolver. The revolver shows extensive damage and loss of material due to exposure to water. The trigger guard, cylinder center pin and the muzzle, including the front sight, are all missing. The trigger and hammer spur are thin and weak as are major portions of the frame. The revolver is completely non-functional due to corrosion and loss of material. The hard rubber grips are present and in relatively good condition aside from some discoloration. The grips both carry the Colt assembly number of 310 hand engraved on the reverse side. The Colt serial numbers for the Navy Model 1895 revolvers fall in the 16XXX to 18XXX range. Based on information available from Colt, the serial numbers 16310, 17310 and 18310 were all assigned to Model 1895 revolvers manufactured in 1895. This would indicate that the grips are at least appropriate to this revolver, if not original. 

The heavily corroded condition of this revolver is attributed to the approximately thirteen years it spent underwater aboard the wreck of the USS Maine (ACR-1). In 1898, an explosion caused the Maine to sink in Havana Harbor, Cuba. The ship was raised and salvaged from 1910 to 1912, at which time material was removed as souvenirs and for memorials. It is assumed that the revolver was recovered at this time as the ship was subsequently towed out to sea, scuttled and sunk.

When the USS Maine (ACR-1) was fitted out in 1895 it was provided with the latest design small arms, including the Colt “New Navy” revolvers. Small arms were carried aboard ship primarily for the use of the US Marine detachment and the ship’s company when engaged in landing party operations. Officers, Petty Officers and personnel such as signalmen, buglers and color bearers would be armed with revolvers while part of a landing force. The Officer of the Deck and the Master at Arms would also carry a sidearm while performing their duties aboard ship. 

Published: Tue Nov 19 12:04:02 EST 2019