Leech and Rigdon

The little known Leech and Rigdon company was formed within a year of the outbreak of the Civil War and they soon were producing substantial numbers of their revolvers for the Confederacy.  More than 1,500 of their pistols were bought by the Confederate Ordnance Department.  Charles Rigdon of St. Louis was a scale maker in the north but being a Southern sympathizer, he moved his equipment to Memphis, Tenn., where he joined forces with Thomas Leech.  Leech was a manufacturer of military cutlery and dabbled in small arms repair.  In 1862, Leech and Rigdon began producing swords and other military equipment.  When their company moved to Columbus, Mississippi, in 1863-64, they started turning out pistols.  About 1,500 of their revolvers were purchased by the Confederacy.  Their design was based on the Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver.  The Leech and Rigdon had an iron barrel and frame instead of steel with brass back straps and trigger guard.  Due to a shortage of steel, a lot of brass and iron parts were used in the manufacturing process.  Unfortunately, this resulted in some inferior metal casings which led to poor performing actions.  The invading Union army pushed the company from city to city and finally Leech and Rigdon quit manufacturing pistols in 1863.