The sword has a 31 3/4 inch long straight blade with floral scroll and martial etching and a W. Clauberg maker's mark. The gilt brass hilt has a folding languet with "US," an eagle motif on the other languet, floral and classical designs on the balance, "TLC" in a shield on the pommel, and a shagreen wrapped grip bound with plain and twisted wire. The nickeled iron scabbard has gilt brass fittings and is inscribed "Col. Thomas L Crittenden/32. Reg Inf Retired/May 19 1881 Russelville, Ky." Thomas Leonidas Crittenden (1819-1893) was the second son of statesman John Jordan Crittenden (1787-1863) of Kentucky and the younger brother of Confederate Major General George B. Crittenden (1812-1880). His father was one of the most prominent Border State politicians of the antebellum and Civil War era. During the Mexican-American War, he served as an aide to General Zachary Taylor, a close friend and political ally of his father's, and as lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Kentucky Volunteer Infantry from 1847 to 1848. After the war, Taylor became president and Crittenden used his connections to get an appointment as U.S. consul in Liverpool. He served in the Kentucky state militia prior to the Civil War and remained loyal to the Union when the war broke out and was inspector general of Kentucky. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers in part due to his father's importance in keeping the Border States in the Union and was given command of Army of the Ohio's 5th Division in September 1861 and was their commander at the bloody Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. He was promoted to major general of volunteers and placed in command of the Army of the Ohio's II Corps for the Perryville Campaign. His corps became the Left Wing of the Army of the Cumberland under Rosecrans and performed admirably at the Battle of Stones River where his wing consisted of around 14,500 men. He was among the generals to argue that they should continue the fight as 1862 came to an end ultimately turning what could have been a Union defeat into a victory. When he the Army of the Cumberland was reorganized, his men became the XXI Corps and fought in the Tullahoma Campaign. After the Union defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga, Crittenden was among the men blamed and was removed from command but later had his name officially cleared. At Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864, Crittenden was given command of the 1st Division, IX Corps after General Stevenson was killed. He continued to lead the division at the Battle of Cold Harbor and resigned on December 13, 1864. During Reconstruction and the late Indian Wars, Crittenden was briefly the Treasurer of Kentucky in 1866 before rejoining the U.S. Army as colonel of the 32nd U.S. Infantry. Camp/Fort Crittenden in Arizona was named for him in 1867, and he received a brevet promotion to brigadier general that same year. His son John Jordan Crittenden III (1854-1876) thanks to his family connections had been appointed as a lieutenant in the 20th U.S. Infantry despite failing at U.S. Military Academy and then got a temporary assignment to Company L of the 7th Cavalry and was killed in action at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. On May 19, 1881, Thomas Crittenden retired at the age of 62. Copies of records and secondary sources relating to his life and military career are included. The sword and many other family heirlooms such as the Burnside carbine and chest inscribed to John J. Crittenden in Lot 1241 were passed down through the Crittenden family. A 1992 affidavit from Jane Crittenden Harris states: "I still retain possession of a number of family heirlooms including the John Jordan Crittenden wooden trunk inscribed with his name and a dress sword presented to Thomas L. Crittenden, the Senator's son." Provenance: Col. Thomas L. Crittenden; The Crittenden Family Collection; The Kevin Hoffman Collection; Property of a Gentleman
Fine exterior with mostly silver-gray patina on the very good blade, bent tip, some minor oxidation, distinct designs throughout, aged patina on the brass, mild age and handling related wear on the grip, mix of bright original nickel and gray and brown patina on the scabbard body, and crisp inscription. Overall, a very attractive sword inscribed to Colonel Thomas L. Crittenden, son of one of Kentucky's leading men in the 19th century, a Civil War general, father of a soldier killed at the Battle of Little Bighorn, and patriotic American.