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George Washington's correspondence includes dozens of references to purchasing pistols and to receiving them as gifts from friends. His executors recorded four pairs of pistols and "7 Guns" in his Study after his death. This pair of flintlock holster or traveling pistols survived in good condition until the mid-19th century, when family history maintains a curious servant fired one.


One of a pair of smoothbore flintlock pistols. Octagonal brass barrel. Walnut stock with fish tail shape grip or butt. Cast and engraved brass side- and lockplate, escutcheon, trigger guard, and stirrup-shape butt cap with grotesque mask. Escutcheon and sideplate feature military trophies; trigger guard forward finial embellished with an acorn. Silver wire inlay at tang of a shell surrounded by scrolls. Iron flintlock firing mechanism with gooseneck hammer. Bridled flash pan.

One of a pair, W-480/A-B.


c. 1780




Walnut, brass (barrel), paktong, silver wire inlay, steel


Overall: 5 7/8 in. x 14 3/4 in. x 2 1/8 in. (14.92 cm x 37.47 cm x 5.4 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mary Mildred Sullivan and George Hammond Sullivan, 1917


Stamped twice on proper left side of barrel at breech with a crown above two crossed sceptres (Tower of London private proof marks). Engraved on top of barrel at breech: "London", and on lockplate: "Woolley".

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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