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Auction Date: April 29, 2016

Lot 137: Historic and Identified Emerson & Silver Staf

Sold for Historic and Identified Emerson & Silver Staf
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Historic and Identified Emerson & Silver Staff and Field Officer Sword with Scabbard Inscribed to Captain Richard Foster of the First Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers, Fatality of the "Bloody Angle" at Spotsylvania Courthouse, with Display Case and Research
Estimated Price: $2,500 - $4,000
Item Views 168 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Historic and Identified Emerson & Silver Staf ManufacturerNone ModelNone
TypeOther Gauge Catalog Page59
Barrel Finish Grip
Stock ClassOther RatingSee Condition
DescriptionSold by Emerson & Silver of Trenton, New Jersey, this sword follows the overall regulations for the United States Army Staff & Field Sword, though with the higher degree of fit and finish associated with privately purchased sidearms. In overall length the sword is 38 inches, with a lightly curved 32 inch double fuller blade decorated with light scroll and patriotic themes and bearing the Trenton address on the right side near the ricasso. The guard and pommel are gilt brass, with a sculpted floral pattern on the guard, laurel accents on the pommel, and a copper wire wrapped sharkskin grip. An iron scabbard with engraved brass fittings completes the set, with the reverse side of the throat inscribed "PRESENTED/TO/CAPTAIN R.FOSTER/By the members of/Compy K. 1st.Regt/N.J.V./Jany 18th 1864." An Englishman by birth, Richard Foster migrated to America and set up shop in Pequannock Township, New Jersey. A painter by trade, he answered the call to service as a Private with the 2nd New Jersey Infantry in May of 1861. During his service he was wounded and captured during the Battle of Gaines Mill in June of 1862, and was in Confederate custody in Richmond until he was exchanged in July. Returning home to New Jersey to recuperate, he again answered the call of the State, organizing a company of volunteers from Pequannock, which would be dubbed Company K and made part of the 1st Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers, with him as their Captain in January of 1864. In May of 1864 the 1st would participate in the Battle of Spotslyvania Courthouse; ordered to assault the "Bloody Angle", the western segment of the Confederate salient dubbed the "Mule Shoe" and home to some of the most vicious close-quarters fighting of the Civil War, Foster exploited a wooded section near the Angle to approach the Confederates unseen, but as soon as they moved out of cover the enemy opened fire, blowing through Foster's left knee on the first volley. Transferred off the battlefield to a hospital in Washington, D.C., an amputation of the leg was insufficient to save his life, and Captain Foster passed away on June 14, 1864, five months to the day after the presentation of this sword. Included with the lot is a glass-sided hardwood display stand with spaces for sword and scabbard, and a binder of consignor research, including a photograph copy of Capt. Foster holding a sword and information from sources in New Jersey as well as the National Archives.

ConditionVery good overall, with the blade showing mild spotting and areas of brown patina with a slightly bent tip, The hilt shows a fine mix of gilt finish and well aged brass on the high points and areas of hand contact. The grip wire has loosened slightly, with a visible seam on the front of the wrapping. A fine aged brown is showing on the body of the scabbard, with a matching color to the brass, traces of gilt finish in the low areas, and a few scattered dents. Overall a fine American officer's sword, quite likely field-used at one of the notable battlefields of the American Civil War.
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