The Sisterdale revolver is one of the most original designs of the Confederate revolvers. It was devised by a group of Texans led by one Alfred Kapp, son of a German immigrant in Sisterdale, Texas. He and his compatriots made six of these revolvers on the Kapp homestead with the intention of obtaining a contract to make them for the Texas government and for their own armament during the Civil War.
The plan came to naught, most likely because the revolver’s design left much to be desired. In particular, it features a long flat spring as a cylinder stop on the top strap, and an external hand to rotate the cylinder. Of the six apparently manufactured, only this example is known to exist today, having been passed down for decades by the Kapp family.
Hi guys thanks for tuning in to another Video on Forgotten weapons calm I mean I Am here today at the James D Giulia Auction house up in Maine and I’m taking A look at some of the guns that are Coming up for sale in their March of 2016 auction and the one I have here in Front of me today is really quite a Remarkable piece of unique firearms History so this dates to the Civil War And more specifically Texas during the Civil War it may be a stereotype but one Might say that Texans are always kind of Doing their own thing and trying to Trying to do it bigger and better than Everyone else well this is kind of a Good example of that this is a revolver Made in the small town or settlement of Sister Dale Texas by actually a group of German immigrants so the story goes back To 1849 when a fellow named dr. Ernst or Ernest cap moved emigrated to the United States from Minden in Germany he was a Doctor there been some political unrest Wasn’t a good place decided to leave and He moved to Texas where sister Dale was Actually kind of an established German Community so a lot of other German Immigrants already there he’d joined in And and it didn’t take long for him to Kind of become one of the pillars of Society after about ten years of course The civil war breaks out he ends up Being assigned recruiting officer for
The area Texas of course is under Martial law Texas is part of the Confederacy and Various Confederate military units are Conscripted and/or recruited in the area And cap son happens to be in one of them Company F of his local forces and here’s The problem they didn’t in rural Texas Supplies arms are kind of an issue there Wasn’t any real serious fighting going On in Texas related to the Civil War This wasn’t Virginia or Georgia the we Didn’t have major battles going on it Was kind of the outskirts of the war Well cap has they’re they’re having some Trouble getting arms and equipment and Cap son Alfred happens to have done he’d Spent some time traveling on the east Coast of the US and actually for a short Time worked for the Colt company In Hartford where you had gained some Experience in manufacturing and handguns Well what should he do he gets the good Idea that by gosh if he can’t get guns For his men Well they’ll make guns and his plan was To make guns not just for his own use But to attempt to sell them to the state Of Texas as far as we can tell Now the documentation on the Documentation on this story is largely Based on a series of letters that Remained in the family which did do a Remarkably good job of documenting the
Process of of what was going on with These guys a small group of men cap and Now this would be Alfred cap the son and A number of his compatriots and also This kind of mysterious German Blacksmith figure who’s alternatively Named either Schmidt vilhelm Orville Heme Schmidt the documentation is really Quite unclear as to which order his name Is supposed to go in at any rate he is a Quite skilled blacksmith Alfred Cap has this experience working for Colt Making handguns in between the two of Them they set up to start baking Revolvers so they make there’s no Official name for this because they only Manage to make six of them in total and This as far as we know is the only Surviving example so it’s typically Called a sister Dale revolver and it Shares features of a number of different Guns that it’s got a solid frame unlike A colt but then it has external controls For positioning the cylinder which we’ll Take a look at in a moment it’s a seven And a half inch barrel it’s 44 caliber So this is an army caliber pistol and Apparently at least one or two of the Guns that they plan to make or did make We’re navy caliber guns so 36 caliber The plan was to make six and take them To San Antonio and try to interest the Texas government in them whether that Actually happen or not we really don’t
Know as I said this is the only Surviving example which remained in the Cap family until it appears like the 1950s is when it was originally started Being documented oh really a literally a Totally unique revolver it’s got Elements of a lot of different things in It clearly someone’s create Effort so why don’t we go ahead and Bring the camera back and take a closer Look at all the rather unusual and cool Features of this thing all right so to Start out of course this is not a Duplicate of any existing pattern of Revolver there are a number of things we Can see in it and some interesting Little quirks to the story that we can Get from the cat family letters for one Thing this is a machine frame according To the letters they actually initially Planned to cast frames probably out of Bronze but apparently they made the Molds and they were too impatient to let The molds dry long enough to to make Good castings must have been rather Humid at the time they mentioned it Would have taken several days for these Molds to dry and they they tried a Couple and and every time you know they Just weren’t the multum aren’t quite Ready and they ended up with bad Castings and finally someone suggested Look let’s just mill this thing out of Out of a block and that didn’t act work
Much better for them so milled frame Here you can see obviously the barrels Threaded in I mentioned external controls two of the Things that you have to do on a revolver Are well in order to control the Rotation of the cylinder you typically Need a hand and a stop and the idea is When you [ __ ] the hammer the hand pushes On a ratchet on the back of the cylinder Which rotates it and then the stop locks It in place so that the cylinder and the Barrel are lined up when you’re ready to Fire typically these controls are all Inside the gun and usually they’re Exposed only at the back of the cylinder Inside here where they won’t get messed Up you know Full of dirt gunk etc well on this guy They’re both external so this is the Hand when I [ __ ] the hammer you can see That when I [ __ ] the hammer you can see That this little bell crank pushes up on This hand which rotates the cylinder and Then this spring-loaded piece is the Cartridge stop you can hear it clicking There it’s dropping into these locking Notches so interesting that these Controls would both be external on the Gun we also have a rear sight a up here Actually on the cartridge stop not a Particularly good sight the rear sight Notch is substantially smaller than the Front sight
Itself which would make this a rather Difficult gun to aim but of course that Was probably the least of their concerns At this point in manufacture Unfortunately at this point the story of These revolvers kind of goes dry there Doesn’t appear to be any formal report Or acknowledgement that’s been found About these being presented to Texas or What the Texas government may have Thought about them which probably isn’t Surprising as is cool and as interesting As this project is and as remarkable of A you know basically this was these were Produced by a couple of dudes in a Blacksmith shop on a farm which is Really quite impressive however they are Not up to the standards either in Quality or design of a proper factory Made revolver and that probably would Have been quite clear right off the bat To any ordnance authorities that took a Look at them So when or why exactly these guys Stopped working on the guns we don’t Know my guess is they probably ran out Of money I had other things that had to Get done and the project probably just Languished and ended but for the time Being we don’t know what happened to the Other guns that they may have made this Particular one as I mentioned stayed in The family well for over a hundred years Until it ended up donated to a museum or
Loan to to a museum and then later on The private market thanks for watching Guys I hope you enjoyed the video it’s Always interesting to look at well I Mean this is a combination of several Things it’s a Texas gun it’s a Civil War Gun it’s a Confederate gun it’s a unique Gun you name it Very interesting piece definitely and Kind of blurs the line between military And handmade so if you’re interested in Having this yourself as I said it is the Only one of its kind known to exist Check the description text below you’ll Find a link to the julia auction house Catalog page on the gun can take a look At their documentation and provenance on It as well as their high res pictures And if you decide you just can’t live Without it and need to say take it back To texas with you well you can come down Here come up here rather comein and Participate in the auction live or A bit online thanks for watching You