Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1174: Historic Civil War U.S. Foot Officer's Presentation Sword

Auction Date: August 27, 2022

Exceptional Historic Civil War U.S. Foot Officer's Presentation Sword with Ames Scabbard Inscribed to Captain Thomas Herbert

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Estimated Price: $7,500 - $11,000

Exceptional Historic Civil War U.S. Foot Officer's Presentation Sword with Ames Scabbard Inscribed to Captain Thomas Herbert

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 172
Item Interest: Average
Catalog Page: 128
Class: Other

This beautifully presentation sword follows much the same pattern as other Model 1850 Foot Officer's swords, but with additional embellishment. The slightly curved blade is approximately 31 inches and wonderfully etched for nearly its entire length with floral scrolls, "US", stands of arms, and "E PLURIBUS UNUM" in a banner. The right ricasso is retailer marked with "PALMERS &/BACHELDERS/BOSTON" who were in operation under that name from 1856 to 1864, and were located at 162 Washington St. in Boston in 1863. The openwork of the gilded guard is made up of floral motifs and "US", eagle head quillion with jeweled eyes, D-guard, a Phrygian helmet type pommel, and a floral engraved and wire wrapped silver grip. The "AMES MFG. CO" gilded scabbard is engraved with flourishes and floral scrolls, a stand of arms and drums with a liberty cap, and the inscription "Presented to/Capt. Thomas Herbert/11 Unattached Co. Hy. Artillery Mass. Vols./by the Members of his Company/Fort Independence Oct. 1863/-'Honor the Brave'-". Thomas Herbert initially joined the Union Army as a captain in Company I of the 8th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry which performed various garrison roles from 1862 to 1863. Records indicate he mustered into the Company G (11th Unattached Company) of the 3rd Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery which was raised on 20 October 1863 as a second lieutenant, though this may be an error in the records as it is unlikely he would have been demoted and the inscription on the sword lists him as a captain. This regiment of heavy artillery also performed garrison rolls, many of them in the forts around Washington D.C., though it is likely that the Fort Independence referred to in the inscription is the one which protected Boston harbor. The records list Herbert as a captain when the regiment was mustered out in 1865.

Rating Definition:

Excellent, the exceptional blade is mostly bright with crisp etching and some scattered very light spotting. The hilt retains most of the original gilding with a few scattered patches of darker patina and an attractive antique patina on the silver. The scabbard retains almost all of the original bright gilding with a few scattered spots of darker patina and handling marks and crisp engraving. A very attractive Civil War officer's sword that was presented to an identified officer!

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