Between June of 1813 and August of 1814, Joseph Henry of Philadelphia was contracted to deliver 600 of his flintlock pistols to the United States Navy under the formal name of "U.S. Contract Henry Navy Pistol .54 Caliber". The type saw service in America's war against Britain during the War of 1812 (1812-1815) which netted little territorial gain for both sides. The weapon was a highly conventional flintlock pistol design with the lock plate seated along the right side. Brass was used at the trigger and butt as well as on parts of the wooden ramrod. The weapon's body was largely of wood, consistent with the period, and the grip handle integral. The action consisted of a hammer cocking mechanism holding the flint and a flash pan managing the spark necessary to ignite the powder charge. The charge and ball ammunition was loaded through the muzzle and rammed down with the included ramrod. The vital working components - including barrel - were all of metal.
The weapon was known to have been carried by US Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry - whose name adorns an entire class of surface warship in the modern US Navy - into combat during the Battle of Lake Erie. The battle - one of the largest on water in all of the war - was fought on September 10th, 1813 near Put-in-Bay, Ohio and resulted in a decisive American victory during the war. Jesse Elliot was the other notable commanding American leader.