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George Washington's Pistols go on Display


A pair of ornate French combat saddle pistols given to the first U.S. president George Washington by Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette go on display Sunday for the first time.

The 46-centimeter-long guns are walnut set in steel with gold and silver inlays.

Mr. Lafayette gave them to his mentor in 1778 after crossing the Atlantic Ocean to fight in the American Revolutionary War. General Washington had them strapped to his saddle during key battles.

Nearly 50 years later, a Washington heir gave the pistols to Battle of New Orleans hero Andrew Jackson, who later became the seventh U.S. president. He had them eventually returned to Mr. Lafayette's son, George Washington Lafayette, in France.

The guns remained there until 2002 when they were purchased at auction for nearly $2 million by the Richard King Mellon Foundation and donated to a U.S. museum at Fort Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

Some information for this report provided by AP.