Original Set of Three U.S. Civil War M-1840 Army NCO's Swords - 2 of 3 Marked and Dated

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Set of Three Available. This is a very nice set of three U.S. Civil War issue Model 1840 Non-Commissioned Officer's swords, offered without scabbards. The swords measure usually measure 38" overall, with 32 inch blades, though one of the three has been shortened. They also feature all-brass hilts, and "scallop" style cross guards. Each also has a "D" hand guard enclosing the knurled  hand grip.

The first sword is a very nice example, made and marked by AMES MFG. CO. of CHICOPEE, MASS. The ricasso is dated 1862, with inspector's mark ADK for Andrew D. King, who worked 1840-1865.  It also has inspector mark A.H.C. on the guard for A.H. Clark. The sword shows light use, with a lovely aged patina, and is solid.

The second sword is also nice, but has been shortened and modified from its original configuration. The blade has been shortened to 27 inches, and the inside scallop guard has been removed, probably to allow it to sit against the hip more comfortably. This example was made and marked by C. ROBY of CHELMSFORD, MASS. The ricasso is dated 1863, inspector's mark F.S.S. on the ricasso and guard, for Frederick S. Strong, who inspected NCO swords in 1862 and 1863 only. The sword shows light use, with a lovely aged patina, and is solid aside from the modificatons.

The last sword is probably the best "looker" of the three, as the blade has been polished to a nice bright steel, with a near mirror finish. Unfortunately this has also obliterated all of the maker markings and dates. However, i t bears inspector's mark F.S.S. on the and guard, for Frederick S. Strong, who inspected NCO swords in 1862 and 1863 only for Christopher Roby, so that has to be the manufacturer. The hilt has a nice worn patina, with rack number 66 stamped in several places. The blade looks great as well.

Three absolutely genuine U.S. Civil War issue 1840 Army NCO swords, offered in very nice condition. Ready to display!

History of the M-1840 Army NCO Sword:

The Model 1840 noncommissioned officers' sword was adopted in 1840. Based primarily on a sword used by the French Army, the model 1840 NCO proved somewhat heavy hilted and ill balanced. For over 70 years, it was widely used by the Army; today its usage is restricted to ceremonial occasions. The sword had a 31-inch blade (some being slightly longer), a cast brass hilt resembling the more expensive wire-wrapped leather grips, and a leather scabbard rather than the steel used by cavalry troopers and officers. Although some makers, such as Emerson and Silver issued a steel scabbard rather than leather to protect from wear. Leather scabbards were phased out beginning in 1868.

The sword was carried by sergeants during the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War; it was worn either on a white or black baldric or with an Enfield bayonet frog. A shorter version with a 26-inch blade was carried by musicians, this was called the Model 1840 musicians' sword. NCOs of the rank sergeant and above were to carry it. During the Mexican–American War, it was more likely to be carried. It wasn't always issued to volunteer regiments during the Civil War. The sword replaced the sword more commonly known as the Model 1832 foot artillery sword which was used by both the infantry and the artillery regiments from 1832 to 1840.

The primary contractor for the production of the M1840 NCO sword seems to have been the Ames Manufacturing Company. The weapon was made with a blunt edge as it was intended for stabbing rather than slashing (as in the case of a curved cavalry sabre). It was the main weapon of standard bearers (along with the Colt Army Model 1860 and Colt 1851 navy revolver) and hospital stewards, as well as a secondary weapon for infantry NCOs. The sword was also used by the Confederates who captured many after seizing state arsenals.

There was a variant of the M1840 without a handguard called the musicians' sword which was intended for use by musicians as a personal defense weapon.

The M1840 has had a long service life, seeing frontline service from the Mexican War until the Spanish–American War. In 1868 the ordnance board recommended that no more leather sword, or bayonet scabbards be purchased, so after the leather ones were used up, a black Japanned steel scabbard was substituted, along with a new pattern leather frog. It remained in service as a ceremonial weapon until general orders No. 77 dated August 6, 1875 discontinued its use. A modern version of this sword with steel scabbard is currently permitted for wear by US Army platoon sergeants and first sergeants; in practice it is rarely seen outside the 3rd Infantry Regiment (the "Old Guard") and honor guards. Some army NCOs have this sword and wear it for social occasions, regardless of duty as a platoon sergeant or first sergeant.

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