Id’d Allen and Thurber Pepperbox – Corporal Henry Ruxton 164th NY Infantry


Id’d Allen and Thurber Pepperbox  – Corp. Henry Ruxton 164th NY Infantry - 6 shot .32 caliber percussion pepper-box by Allen & Thurber   Worcester – marked as such on the barrel flute. . Hammer is marked “Allen’s Patent“. Barrel length – 3.25”.  Allen and Thurber pepperbox pistols were produced during the Grafton and Norwich periods (1837–1847), and all had smooth barrel external contours until the later Worchester and Allen and Wheelock period, when fluted barrels became the norm. Six-barrel pepperboxes usually had a standard trigger, which this pistol has, while some examples had a ring trigger. Most were double-action with the iconic ‘bar hammer’, as does this pistol, as well. Barrel length varied between three and six inches. There were four frame sizes, accommodating various calibers. Most common were .32 and .34 caliber pistols, although .28 and .30 caliber ‘pocket size’ are occasionally found. The ‘Dragoon’ model was the king, typically sporting six-inch barrels and .36 caliber. Except for early models and later Allen and Wheelock era production, most have appealing, factory engraving on the frame – this pistol does exhibit this fine engraving attribute.

This pepperbox is in overall very good condition, with considerable bluing remaining on the barrels. The engraving is strong, and the original, walnut grips are in excellent condition. The double-action hammer works, although the barrels do not index perfectly. Of importance is the name – “H. Ruxton” deeply impressed into the right grip. Ruxtion was 41 years old, when he mustered into the 164th NY Infantry, as a Corporal, on August 19, 1862. He served throughout the war, sustained a wound, returned to the ranks and was discharge, after the war’s end, on June 14, 1865. The 164th NY, also known as Corcoran’s Legion, was a New York Zouave unit that was engaged in several battles during the war.


Allen And Thurber Pepperboxes  

The pepperbox pistol holds a unique position in American firearms history. It bridged the gap between the single-shot pistol and the revolver with stationary barrel. Pepperbox guns were handy, fairly reliable, and supplied a series of quick shots. They proved popular and were carried West in great numbers during the gold rush era.

Ethan Allen saw the possibilities of a percussion pepperbox and in 1834 patented his self-cocking gun. A few years later, with the aid of his brother-in-law, he founded the Allen and Thurber Gun Co. They made guns from 1837 to 1842 in Grafton, Mass. In 1842 they moved to Norwich, Conn. Then in 1855 they moved back to Massachusetts and settled in Worcester. During all these moves, a steady flow of pepperboxes were turned out. A wide variety of models was offered. The barrels ranged from 2.25″ to 5″ in length and in calibers from .28 to .36. Allen and Thurber guns were well made. The barrels were bored from a block of cast steel. The frame was also cast. Operating parts were machined from bar stock and hardened where necessary. Walnut was used for the grips in most cases and the frames were generally scroll engraved.


Henry Ruxton

Residence was not listed; 41 years old.


Enlisted on 8/19/1862 at Brooklyn, NY as a Corporal.


On 11/19/1862 he mustered into “G” Co. NY 164th Infantry

He was discharged on 6/14/1865 at Washington, DC



He was listed as:

* Wounded (date and place not stated)




  • Private (Reduced to ranks)




164th NY Infantry

( 3-years )

Organized: Newport News, VA on 11/19/62Mustered Out: 7/15/65 at Washington, DCOfficers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 10

Officers Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 3

Enlisted Men Killed or Mortally Wounded: 106

Enlisted Men Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 126

(Source: Fox, Regimental Losses)








Nov ’62 Apr ’63 Corcoran’s 7 Department of Virginia New Organization
Apr ’63 Jul ’63 3 1 7 Department of Virginia
Jul ’63 Jan ’64 1 King’s 22 Department of Washington, D.C.
Jan ’64 May ’64 2 King’s 22 Department of Washington, D.C.
May ’64 Jun ’64 4 2 2 Army of Potomac
Jun ’64 Jul ’65 2 2 2 Army of Potomac Mustered Out








(Three Years)


One Hundred and Sixty-fourth Infantry.-Cols., John E. McMahon,

James P. McMahon, William DeLacey; Lieut.-Cols., James C. Burke,

William DeLacey, John Beattie; Majs., Michael D. Smith, John

Beattie, Bernard O’Reilly.


This was one of the four regiments forming the brigade of Irish

soldiers known as the Corcoran Legion.  The 164th was recruited

in New York, Brooklyn, Buffalo, and the counties of Niagara and

St. Lawrence, and was mustered into the U. S. service at Newport

News, Va., Nov. 19, 1862, for three years.


Col. John E. McMahon was one of three brothers, all of whom

became colonels.  He succumbed to disease in March, 1863, and was

succeeded by his brother, James P. McMahon, who was killed in

action at Cold Harbor.  Lieut.-Col. DeLacey had formerly rendered

gallant service as major of the 37th N. Y.  He was wounded

several times and rose to the rank of brevet brigadier-general.


Col. Fox, in his account of this splendid fighting regiment,

says:  “The Legion was ordered to the Peninsula soon after, where

it was placed in the 7th corps.  On Jan. 29, 1863, the brigade

started on the Blackwater expedition (Gen. Corcoran commanding

the division), during which it saw its first fighting, at the

affair known as the Deserted House.


The gallant behavior of the Legion in this engagement elicited a

general order from department headquarters which was highly

complimentary to the command.  In April, 1863, it was actively

engaged in the siege of Suffolk.  Gen. Corcoran commanded the

Legion up to the time of his death, which occurred at Fairfax,

Va., Dec. 22, 1863.


From July, 1863, until May, 1864, the Legion was stationed near

Washington, after which it joined Grant’s army at Spottsylvania,

where it was assigned to Gibbon’s (2nd) division, 2nd corps.  At

Cold Harbor it was in the assaulting column, and succeeded in

carrying the portion of the enemy’s works in its immediate front,

but with a heavy loss in men and officers.


Seven officers of the regiment were killed in that assault,

including Col. McMahon, who was shot down after having with his

own hands planted the regimental colors on the Confederate works.

The regiment, however, was obliged to fall back, owing to the

failure at other points of the line, having lost 16 killed, 59

wounded and 82 missing.  The Legion was commanded at

Spottsylvania by Col. Murphy (182nd N. Y.), who afterwards fell

mortally wounded at Dabney’s mill.  The casualties in the

regiment at Spottsylvania were 12 killed, 66 wounded and 44



The regiment suffered severely in the first assaults at

Petersburg, where its losses amounted to 63 killed and wounded,

chiefly incurred during the assault of June 16.  It was present

at Deep Bottom and Strawberry Plains, and was again hotly engaged

at Reams’ station with a loss of 9 killed and mortally wounded, 1

wounded, 9 officers and 98 men missing or captured From June 26,

1864, until the close of the war, the Legion, together with the

8th N. Y. heavy artillery, made up the 2nd brigade, 2nd division,

2nd corps.


It was in the action on the Boydton road, losing 7 men; at

Hatcher’s run in December, and closed its active service with the

Appomattox campaign in 1865, fighting at White Oak ridge, fall of

Petersburg, High bridge, Farmville and Appomattox.  It was

mustered out near Washington, under Col. DeLacey, July 15, 1865.


The total enrollment of the regiment was 928, of whom 10 officers

and 106 men-or 12.5 per cent.-were killed and mortally wounded; 3

officers and 126 men died of disease and other causes; total

deaths, 245, of whom 2 officers and 84 men died in the hands of

the enemy.


















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