Civil-War Era Sword

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  • Item Category: Sports
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Sep 05,2008
  • Channel: Online Auction

The sword is a Model 1840 Artillery sword. The hilt is probably the earliest type, having a recess in the face of the guard at the blade ricasso. These hilts are referred to as Type 1 Hilts, used from 1840, the first S & K contract, through 1860, according to Thillman. The sword is probably an enlisted soldier's sword. The handle has a small crown over a "G". According to one of my sources from the internet, Mike McWatters, the M1840 cavalry, NCO, musician, and light artillery patterns were first commissioned from S & K, a German manufacturer. These swords all bear German proof marks (crown over date, or crown over G ) as well as their maker's mark. In fact, John Thillman in his book, Civil War Cavalry and Artillery Sabers, notes on p. 25 that the swords manufactured in the Kingdom of Prussia between 1840 and 1861 had a "crown above FW" indicating Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the king then. This sword has a "crown above FW", and "48" under that, on the top part of the blade just below the hilt . I can only assume that the "48" represents the year of manufacture, although that is just a guess on my part. The scabbard has an "S & K" on one side of the drag , which is, according to Thillman's book on page 32, a Philadelphia Drag, uniquely American and found on enlisted saber scabbards made in the Philadelphia area. However, I don't know how the "S & K" insignia on the drag factors in, as S & K stands for Schnitzler and Kirschbaum, a German manufacturer. But according to Thillman's book, this is a Philadelphia Drag based on it's shape.

The grip wrapping is perfect, black leather wrapped by gold braid. It shows little if any wear. The scabbard is steel, dark in color, and has three dents in it. Thillman's book, on page 26, indicates that the "rattling scabbard, with iron rings, made a ceaseless noise. The men finally learned to fasten the saber, scabbard and all, firmly to the near side of the saddle, parallel to the horse's body, and when mounted thown the left leg over it. It was then ready to be drawn when mounted, and was not int he way of the dismounted soldier." I guess the dents were put t to cut down on the rattling of the blade against the steel scabbard.

That's all I know about this sword. I have had it for many years, and want to sell it to someone who will appreciate it's condition and history. I have been researching it for awhile, and bought Thillman's book a year or two ago to aid in the research. Have fun!

Even though the picture does not show it, both scabbard rings are intact.

A prospective buyer asked how long the sword blade is and how long the scabbard is. The blade is 31 1/2 inches long, from hilt to blade tip, assuming I measured properly. The scabbard is 32 1/2 inches from top to the drag, and including the drag, is 33 1/4 inches long.

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