Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1145: Capt. John Craig Model 1850 Foot Officer Sword

Auction Date: August 27, 2022

Historic High Grade Presentation W.H. Horstmann & Sons U.S. Model 1850 Foot Officer's Sword and Scabbard Inscribed to Captain John Craig from the Employees of the Schuylkill Arsenal

Estimated Price: $6,500 - $9,500

Historic High Grade Presentation W.H. Horstmann & Sons U.S. Model 1850 Foot Officer's Sword and Scabbard Inscribed to Captain John Craig from the Employees of the Schuylkill Arsenal

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Gauge:
Barrel:
Finish:
Grip:
Stock:
Item Views: 289
Item Interest: Average
Catalog Page: 122
Class: Other
Description:

This is a very high grade W.H. Horstmann & Sons sword with exceptional details throughout. The 30 1/2 inch long Damascus blade has broad and narrow fullers, a flat spine with gilded etched floral patterns, etched classical martial and patriotic designs highly in gold on both sides of the blade "W.H. HORSTMANN/& SONS/PHILADELPHIA" above the right ricasso which has the king's head trademark, and red washer. The gilt brass hilt has floral and classical martial patterns on both sides of the guard and is fitted with a silver grip with floral scroll engraving and an escutcheon on the right inscribed "Capt./John Craig/U.S.A." The scabbard is bound in shagreen and has gilt bronze fittings with inset silver medallions inscribed with an eagle and "E PLURIBUS UNUM" on the top, Columbia on the lower band, and Justice on the drag. The reverse of the upper band is inscribed "Presented by the/Employees of the Schuylkill Arsenal/To Capt: John Craig/M.S.K./March./1868." The presentation of the sword is recorded in "The Philadelphia Inquirer" on March 30, 1868. The article states: "THE FIRE DEPARTMENT - On Saturday afternoon, a sword was presented to Major John Craig an old member of the Washington Engine Company, by the employees of the Schuylkill Arsenal. The Major has occupied the position of Storekeeper to the satisfaction of all with whom he has had business connections. This honor was bestowed upon the above named gentleman previous to his departure for Vancouver's Island, to which he has been assigned to duty." John Craig was a captain in the U.S. Quartermaster Department for the Volunteers during the Civil War from May 20, 1863, through May 17, 1865. On January 1, 1865, he was assigned as a Military Store Keeper (M.S.K.) in the regular U.S. Army's Quartermaster Department and was promoted to captain in the regular army on July 28, 1866. He received a brevet to major of volunteers on March 13, 1865 for his service and was honorably discharged on December 31, 1870. He was listed as the acting assistant quartermaster at New San Diego in California when he was discharged. In documents from the Reconstruction era, Capt. Craig is listed as in charge of the clothing depot at Schuylkill and submitted reports on the arsenal's condition and its repair needs.

Rating Definition:

Very good overall with mild age and storage related wear, bright original gold, crisp etching, distinct Damascus patterns, and minor spots of oxidation on the blade; mix of bright original gilt finish and aged patina on the hilt, aged patina and distinct engraving and inscription on the grip, strong gilt finish in the recesses and protected areas of the scabbard fittings and otherwise a dark aged patina, aged patina and crisp engraving on the silver medallions, mild wear on the body, and distinct inscription from the Schuylkill Arsenal to Captain John Craig.



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