The LeMat revolver was one of the most interesting weapon designs to be introduced in the civil war. This revolver was designed for the confederate forces and sold to the confederate army. This was most likely one of the only double barrel revolver designs ever produced. The revolver consisted of a 9 shot cylinder that fired thru a conventional .40 -.42 caliber rifled barrel. The central cylinder pin that would normally be used in a conventional revolver was replaced by a smooth bore secondary barrel of .60-.63 caliber. This central barrel would then serve as a cylinder pin as well as the secondary barrel. Grapeshot would then be loaded into the central barrel providing a devistating charge against the union forces. A removable ramrod for use in charging the shot barrel was inserted in the rammer's lever. The revolver was constructed of blued steel, with grips of polished walnut, and was a total of 13.25 inches long. The upper, rifled barrel was 6.75 inches long; most were octagonal , though some were round. The lower barrel was 5 inches long. An extension could be attached to the lower/center barrel to form a true shotgun. This 9 shot revolver, with an additional single shot barrel wound up being a headache to produce.
Designed by Col.LeMat and Gen.Beauregard this handgun was a favorite of General J.E.B.Stewart. The first models were produced by John Krider of Philadelphia.Later during the war they were produced in Europe by various gun manufacturers.Approximately 2900 of these revolvers were produced.The second or first over seas mfg of the revolver was done by Charles Frederic Girard and Son these were so poorly made that LeMat then moved to the Birmingham Small Arms Company in England.Shipments of the guns were slipped through the Union naval blockade that barricaded the Confederate coasts.
Originally, all LeMat revolvers came in one model --.40 caliber above a .60 barrel. Later on in the war a lighter .35-caliber pistol equipped with a 28-gauge .50 caliber shotgun barrel was produced. Again this .35 caliber was a non standard size bore.
A further very problematic issue was that the guns were designed in a non standard ammunition size. .36 or .44 caliber being standard sizes for both the Union and Confederate troops. The LeMat being in .40, .42 or .35 size was a problem until the final models which were developed in standard gauge sizes. A soldier in the field, would be limited to what the arsenals could provide, or he would be forced to make his own bullets. Modern reproductions of this revolver are designed with a .44 caliber bore.
Its users included General Beauregard, Maj. Gens. Richard H. Anderson and J.E.B. Stuart, and Colonel George S. Patton.