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3 SWORDS IN TWO PARTS

 

THIS WEEK IS THE SECOND (AND FINAL) WEEK IN WHICH WE WILL BE LOOKING AT 3 DIFFERENT AMERICAN MILITARY OFFICER'S SWORDS FROM THE EARLY 1800'S. EACH SWORD IS FROM A DIFFERENT BRANCH OF SERVICE. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT FOLLOWING ARE NAVY, MOUNTED ARTILLERY AND INFANTRY OFFICER'S SWORDS. THEY DATE, RESPECTIVELY, FROM APPROXIMATELY 1808 TO 1850.

 

3 DIFFERENT AMERICAN MILITARY OFFICER'S SWORDS Obverse View
 

3 DIFFERENT AMERICAN MILITARY OFFICER'S SWORDS Reverse View

 

Left to right: Naval Officer's Eagle Head Sword 1808-1830, Mounted Artillery Officer's Sword 1815-1840, Infantry Officer's Indian Head Sword 1835-1850 (All dates approximate).

 


 

PART 2 - Sword 1 of 2

 

NAVAL OFFICER'S EAGLE HEAD SWORD

 

1808-1830

 

Naval Officer's Eagle Head Sword Obverse View

 

     This sword measures 35¼" overall. The 30" curved, single edged blade has a shallow broad fuller that extends from the ricasso to within 9" of the blade point. At the hilt, the blade is 1-3/8" wide and 5/16" thick. It is 1¼" wide for most of it length before tapering gracefully to it's point. There is no true false edge. The ricasso measures only 3/16". The blade is without decoration or scabbard. There is no maker's name or mark visible. The plain blade gives no indication of ever being engraved or heavily cleaned.

 

     The grips are carved ivory with 1 twisted and 2 single strands of gilded wire windings encircling the ivory grooving. A large fouled anchor cutout, within the lower part of a decorative figure 8 floral cutout, has been cast into the reverse P pattern knuckle bow. The flat oval shaped hand guard, which is part of the same casting, is separated into eight sections with curved brass branches extending between the outer and inner parts of the hand guard.

 

     The eagle head pommel design extends down the grip back strap in the form of incised eagle feathers. All brass parts of this sword were originally gilded and much of that gilt is still in place today.

 

Naval Officer's Eagle Head Sword Obverse View of Hilt Naval Officer's Eagle Head Sword Reverse View of Hilt
Obverse View of Hilt

 

Reverse View of Hilt

 

 
Knuckle Guard Design

 

Back Strap

 

Top of Hand Guard

 

Eagle Head Pommel

 

Close Up Of Anchor

 


 

PART 2 - Sword 2 of 2

 

INFANTRY OFFICER'S INDIAN HEAD SWORD

 

1835-1850

 

Infantry Officer's Indian Head Sword with Scabbard

 

     This sword is 35-1/16" overall. The 29-5/8" straight, single edged blade with a false edge of approximately 14" has a wide deep fuller from the ricasso to the beginning of the false edge. At the hilt, the blade is ¾" wide and ¼" thick. It tapers evenly to it's point. The ricasso measures ¾". The blade is without decoration and does not appear to have had any initially. There is no visible maker's name or mark.

 

     The grip is comprised of two pieces of mother of pearl fastened to a wood core. These panels are incised with grooves to hold the gilt twisted wire wrapping. The top of the mother of pearl panels is fitted within the base of the Indian maiden pommel. The bottom is contained by a decorated brass ferrule. The pommel is a cast brass bust of a female Indian maiden, with a circular headdress, facing the obverse or front of the sword. She is wearing a large circular medallion which causes some references to this sword as having an Indian “Princess” rather than an “Maiden” head pommel. The knuckle bow is of a baroque design which is attached at the Indian's ear and curves downward to the end of the hand guard opposite the turned down quillon. It is decorated with floral scrolling. There is no real counter guard, only an oversized langet on each side of the hand guard decorated with the federal eagle carrying arrows in the left talon and the peace branch in the right talon. All metal parts of the grip are brass.

 

Infantry Officer's Indian Head Sword - Obverse View of Hilt Infantry Officer's Indian Head Sword - Reverse View of Hilt
Obverse View of Hilt

 

Reverse View of Hilt

 

Infantry Officer's Indian Head Sword - Indian Maiden Close-up Infantry Officer's Indian Head Sword - Langet Close-up
Indian Maiden Close Up

 

Langet Close Up

 


 

     The brass scabbard is incised on the obverse only with floral scrolling at the mouth, rings, stud and drag, the drag being more of a ball, than a skid. The suspension consists of 2 brass carrying rings with the top ring being 2-1/8" from the scabbard throat and the lower ring 7-3/16" beneath the first. There is also a single shield shaped stud for attachment to a frog. It could be carried in either manner. This scabbard is missing it's throat. Other than that, it is undented and unscratched.

 

Infantry Officer's Indian Head Sword - Top Ring and Frog Stud
Infantry Officer's Indian Head Sword - Lower Ring
Top Ring And Frog Stud

 

Lower Ring

 

Infantry Officer's Indian Head Sword - Scabbard Tip
Scabbard Tip

 


 

Notes

 

      In truth, the second sword in this posting could have been carried by an officer of any branch of service. The regulations were so written as to allow almost any officer to wear anything. This plus the officer's financial position and personal tastes dictated to some degree what they would buy. Militia officers showed a disdain for any regulations and if they just happened to like Indian Princess's, that's what they bought whether they were staff, field, infantry or artillery. Navy officers also wore swords of the Indian Maiden design.

 

      Reference credits go, again, to “THE AMERICAN SWORD, 1775-1945" by Harold L. Peterson and the posting credits go, again, to my son, Reed Radcliffe, the webmaster.

 

      Well, I don't know what next weeks posting will be. It could be almost anything. I still have a way to go.

 

      See you all next week. Drive carefully and securely. You can forget your wallet and get away with it, but if you forget to buckle up, you may never have another opportunity to forget anything else... and you will never know if you cared or not.

 

     Someone, somewhere does care........ Buckle Up!

 

Dave Radcliffe