***** HERE ***** HISTORIC "GONE WITH THE WIND" CASED PAIR OF 80 BORE WILLIAM THOMAS, GUNMAKER, CASED SET OF PERCUSSION DUELING PISTOLS
HERE ***** HISTORIC "GONE WITH THE WIND" CASED PAIR OF 80 BORE WILLIAM THOMAS, LONDON GUNMAKER, DUELING PISTOLS W/ ACCESSORIES & PROVENANCE NVSN Also included is their original walnut case with a wood inlay of plumes (coat of arms of the Manigault Family of Charleston, South Carolina. In his advertisement in the Charleston Paper Happholdt says that he deals in dueling pistols (copy included)
"In the early morning hours of September 8th., in the Fall of 1862 two Confederate soldiers stood facing each other on the grounds of The Washington Race Course (now Hampton Park & Gardens) on the Charleston peninsula. One was William Ransom Calhoun, nephew of John C. Calhoun, The other was Major Alfred Rhett, son of Barnwell Rhett, editor of The Charleston Mercury newspaper.
Both were artillery officers stationed at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Calhoun in command and Rhett his immediate subordinate. On April 23rd., 1862 while sitting around the officer's club in Charleston discussing the merits of the officers of the "Old Army" (the U.S. Army) who graduated from West Point (as Calhoun did) .verses those who either came up through the ranks based on family and privilege (as did Rhett) some of Calhoun's friends overheard Rhett refer to Calhoun as "that damned puppy" (a genteel way of refering to someone as a son of a bitch) Calhoun, when informed by his friends asked for "satisfaction".Rhett, being the challenged party, had the choice of weapons. Not having pistols of his own he sent his Second into Charleston to Happholdt's to obtain a set.
At the "hostile meeting" on August 9th., 1862r, after their seconds attempting to resolve "this matter of honor" without the effusion of blood, the two parties met along with their Seconds and a doctor at the Washington Race Course, then the accepted dueling grounds. Ten paces apart the both brought their pistols up and between the count of one and three both fired and both missed. That should have settled the issue. However, Calhoun insisted on another shot. This yime he missed but Rhett (an accomplished dueler) did not. Rhett received the .80 caliber ball in the stomach and lingered for a full three days in excruciating pain before dying.
Rhett was tried before a courts martial as well as criminal court for Charleston County and was acquitted of all charges.Both because of the
of the family of the person killed and the fact that dueling had been outlawed in the Confederate Services Rhett wrote a small book outlining the causes of the duel and testimony of all participants and those present. This booklet was published by Evans and Cogswell in Charleston (a photocopy is included) along with a copy of the copy of the handwritten page outlining the "terms of dueling" in Rhetts own hand.
After the duel the pistols were returned to Happholdt's and were kept in the family until the 14th., of March 1963 when they were sold by Mrs. E.E. Shubrick of Greenville, South Carolina, whose husband was a grandson of Happholdt, to Dr. C. Conrad Smith of Augusta Georgia. The pistols were subsequently traded to Dr. Luther Martin of Summerville, South Carolina about 1965. At the time of Dr. Martin's death they came into the possession of Mr. Victor Mewihsen of Augusta, Georgia. I purchased them from Mr. Mewishen sometime in the early seventies. This duel was written about in Mary Boykin Chestnut's "Diary From Dixie" as well as in Margaret Mitchell's composite character of Rhett Butler in "GONE WITH THE WIND" who was forced to leave Charleston because he had killed someone notable in a duel.
I have compiled more documentation on the duel and these pistols to supplement what the previous owners had done and it leaves no doubt in my mind that THESE ARE THE PISTOLS THAT WERE USED IN THIS DUEL..
Condition: Very Good to Excellent overall.