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Auction Date: April 30, 2016

Lot 1124: Historic Horstmann & Son/Weyersberg Etched Da

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Historic Horstmann & Son/Weyersberg Etched Damascus American Officers Sword with Silver Grip, Sculpted Furniture and Scabbard Inscribed to Medal of Honor Winner Henry W. Lawton, Veteran of the Civil War, Indian Campaigns, Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War
Estimated Price: $10,000 - $20,000
Item Views 146 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Historic Horstmann & Son/Weyersberg Etched Da ManufacturerNone ModelNone
TypeOther Gauge Catalog Page72
Barrel Finish Grip
Stock ClassOther RatingSee Condition
DescriptionManufactured by the Weyersberg firm of Solingen, Germany and sold through William Horstmann & Sons of Philadelphia, this sword follows the overall American staff and field pattern of the second half of the 19th century. Measuring 38 3/4 inches overall, the lightly curved single fuller blade is 32 3/4 inches long, showing a wavy etched Damascus pattern overall, with the lower half washed in gold with raised bright etching showing patriotic designs, oak and laurel branches and floral motifs, with the Horstmann address on the right side, the Weyersberg "kings head" on the right ricasso, and "IRON PROOF" on the flat spine. The sculpted brass hilt is fitted with a "screaming eagle" rear quillion, American Eagle designs on the guard and pommel, a laurel branch running up the knuckleguard and a brass wire wrapped German silver grip. Fine sculpted brass furniture is installed on the iron scabbard with the upper suspension band decorated with Columbia bearing a sword and American shield, an arrangement of a sword, torch, horn, eagle with an olive branch and a bible on the lower band, and a soldier bearing the American flag on the tip. The backside of all three are inscribed, with the lower band marked "Lt.Col. Henry W. Lawton/From the Officers and Men of the/30th Indiana Infantry Regt.Vol./February 10,1865", and the tip and upper band bearing an extensive battle record, starting at Shiloh and running through the Battle of Nashville. Born on March 17, 1843 Henry Ware Lawton was a student at a Methodist Episcopal college when the first calls for volunteers went out at the start of the Civil War. Leaving school to enlist in Company E of the 9th Indiana Volunteers, he served as a Sergeant, and participated in some of the earliest land skirmishes of the war before the 9th's 3 month term ended. Returning home, he re-enlisted within a month, joining the 30th Indiana Volunteers. While originally accepted as a First Sergeant, he was immediately tapped for commission as a Lieutenant. As an officer with the 30th, he would see over 22 ground engagements, earn the Medal of Honor for leading a team of skirmishers to seize and defend Confederate fortifications during the Atlanta Campaign, and be breveted to full Colonel. Completing his studies at Harvard, he joined the Regular Army as a 2nd Lieutenant and once again started climbing the ranks, earning a reputation as a tenacious Indian fighter. This tenacity would come into play when he was tapped to lead the pursuit of Apache war leader Geronimo; while the formal surrender would be given to Lawton's superior officer, Lawton's unit found Geronimo and brought him in alive, with the man himself attributing Lawson's relentless, hounding chase as a factor in his decision to surrender. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War Lawton was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Regular Army and made a Brigadier General of Volunteers, leading 6,000 men as part of the spearhead of the invasion of Cuba, besieging and later being appointed military governor of the city of Santiago. Returning to the states for medical reasons, he was then sent to the Philippines as a Major General of Volunteers, where he was dubbed "General of the Night" by a leader of the Philippine forces for his skill at organizing and leading nocturnal assaults. Leading from the front during the Battle of Paye on December 19, 1899, General Lawton was killed by an enemy sharpshooter, becoming the highest ranking American casualty of the conflict in the Philippines.

ConditionFine. The very fine damascus blade shows some mild spotting, with over 75% of the fine original gold finish, strong etching and solid Damascus pattern. The guard shows evidence of being struck or battered, with a small crack just above the branch of the knuckleguard and some flattening of the counter-guard. The scabbard has turned an antique brown and gray patina, with traces of gilt finish on the furniture, sharp detail in the decoration and a slight bend in the upper suspension ring eye. A historic example of the Solingen blade arts, attributed to a major contributor to nearly a half century of American military history.
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