sidearm was developed in New Orleans in 1856 by Jean Alexander LeMat.
He entered a partnership with P.G.T Beauregard (a major in the U.S.
Army). When war broke out, LeMat received Confederate contracts for the
production of 5,000 revolvers, and plans were laid to manufacture the
gun abroad and then import them into the Confederacy, which lacked the
necessary facilities to produce the weapon locally.
runners were able to slip shipments of the gun through the Union naval
blockade and it is estimated that about 2,500 made it into Confederate
General Beauregard's personal engraved LeMat, which he carried
throughout the war, is preserved at the Museum of the Confederacy in
The distinguishing characteristic of LeMat's revolver is
that its 9-shot .44 cylinder revolves around a separate central barrel
of larger caliber than the chambers in the cylinder proper. The central
barrel is smooth-bore and can function as a short-barreled .20 gauge
shotgun (hence the name "Grape Shot Revolver") with the shooter
selecting whether to fire from the cylinder or the smooth-bore barrel by
flipping a lever on the end of the hammer. Flipping the lever up caused
the movable striker to fall upon the primer set directly under the
hammer, discharging the lower shotgun barrel. (The eyelet "lanyard ring" on the walnut handle base fits a lanyard and was to prevent the weapon
from being snatched away during the heat of battle).
Manufactured by FLLI