The LeMat Revolver was a .42 calibre revolver invented by Dr. Jean Alexandre of New Orleans. LeMat revolvers were set apart from the common Colt and Starr revolvers of the day (1860s) by a single .68" bore smoothbore barrel affixed to the bottom of the main barrel, loaded with a charge of shot.
The LeMat set itself apart from other revolvers by the existance of its nine shot cylinder, which was originally loaded from the muzzle. The large size of the cylinder also meant that the frame did not extend over the cylinder which could have potentially weakened the design.
Emerged as the era of centrefire cartridges began. Although the LeMat was never technically designed to user centrefire ammunition (or atleast use it in the interpretation of centrefire ammunition in modern times) this concept did allow the LeMat to survive a little longer. Centrefire LeMats can be distinguished, externally, by the shape of the grip.
A relatively rare version of the LeMat. A stock replaced the grip and the barrels were replaced with longer, carbine length barrels. This concept was born to the intention of placing the LeMat into direct competition with the Colt Model 1855 "Root Revolver" which also had a rifle/carbine variant (ie the Model 1855 "Root" Revolving Rifle).
Alexandre was helped to market his pistol by the flamboyant PGT Beauregard, and the weapons were manufactured in both England and France. The pistols were a favorite of Confederate officers during the American Civil War.