Original Set of Two U.S. Civil War M1860 Light Cavalry Sabers by Mansfield & Lamb dated 1864 - Relic Condition
Original Item: One Only. Just received out of an old collection, along with about a hundred other antique swords, many in similar condition. This is a set of two genuine Union cavalry trooper's curved M-1860 sabers. Both were made by maker Mansfield & Lamb, and are of the type issued to Federal horsemen during the American Civil War. One of these comes with a scabbard, while the other is without.
Manufactured by partners Henry Mansfield and Estus Lamb in the village of Forestdale, Rhode Island, these sabers were two of 37,500 edged weapons produced for the U.S. Ordnance Department by the firm during the war. The slightly curved saber blades measure 35" long, with a width of 1 1/16". Each has a 27" long, wide fuller and a narrow fuller 18½" long near the spint. The blade leather buffer washers are still intact, with the expected wear from age and use.
Both model 1860 U.S. Cavalry Sabers from the Civil War is marked on the blade ricasso inside an oval:
on the reverse:
The sword with the scabbard is inspector marked J.M., for inspector John Maggs, who inspected swords at Mansfield & Lamb in 1864 only. The other is marked J.C.W. / 2, who is an unknown sword inspector that also worked at the factory in 1864 only. There are no other inspection marks on the sword we can see.
The condition of both is best described as "battle worn" or relic. The sword with the scabbard does however have a beautiful blade. The grip wrapping is quite worn, with the brass binding loose, and the leather quite degraded, showing the wooden grip base. The scabbard is nice, but dented in areas to the point that the blade can get stuck.
The sword without the scabbard is definitely in worse shape, but has a lovely babble worn patina. The grip is completely missing the leather and wire, showing just the worn wooden ribbed grip base. The blade shows a lot of specking and past pitting and wear. Most interesting of all, the guard is quite deformed, with the outer branch bent all the way back across the inner branch. The upper cross guard is also bent.
If you were looking for a nice set of Civil War cavalry sabers to hang on the wall or over the door, these are it! Ready to display!
The Model 1860 Light Cavalry Saber (also known as the M1862, as this was when the first 800 were issued) was used by US cavalry from the American Civil War until the end of the Indian wars; some were still in use during the Spanish-American War. It was 41in long with a 35 in by 1in blade and weighed 2 lb 4oz alone or 3 lb 10oz with iron scabbard.
During the Civil War there was no light or heavy cavalry in the US army. Instead there were "Dragoons" (founded 1830) "Mounted Riflemen", (founded c.1840) and "Cavalry" (founded 1856), distinguished by the orange, green or yellow piping on their uniforms. In 1861 these mounted regiments were renamed cavalry and given yellow piping.
The M1860 saber received its name to distinguish it from the larger and heavier Model 1840 Heavy Cavalry Saber that it replaced. Like its predecessor it had a brass guard, leather-wrapped grip and steel scabbard but unlike the M1840 it was smaller and easier to handle.
By the end of the Civil War over 300,000 1860 sabers had been produced: 200,000 by Ames, 32,000 by Roby and many more by firms such as Tiffany and Co, Glaze, Justice, Mansfield & Lamb, and Emerson and Silver. M1860s were carried not only by cavalry but also by many infantry and staff officers as the regulation Model 1850 Army Staff & Field Officers' Sword had to be privately purchased. High-ranking officers, like their European counterparts, often had their swords ornately engraved with gilding and foliage. Famous users included George Armstrong Custer and J.E.B. Stuart.
Later in the Civil War large cavalry charges became less common and the cavalry took on the role of skirmishers. Many replaced their sabers with extra revolvers, or left it in the saddle while fighting on foot with their repeating Henry rifles and Spencer carbines.
This is the sword the cavalry use in Westerns, many being original antiques purchased by the movie industry in the 1920s when surplus Civil War equipment was cheap.
This model is currently used in some U.S. Army Cavalry units in Color Guards, or when in period type uniforms. Most are given as PCS (Permanent Change of Station) or ETS (Expiration of Term of Service) gifts to a departing Cavalry Trooper. Usually engraved on the scabbard with his name, rank and dates of service. Some are also worn, in full Dress Blues, (when earned on a "Spur Ride" or combat tour) with Stetson and Spurs.
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