Original U.S Civil War 1860 Nickel-Plated Light Cavalry Saber with Steel Scabbard by C. Roby - Dated 1865
Original Item: One Only. This is a fine Union cavalry trooper's curved M-1860 saber made by Christopher Roby of West Chelmsford, Massachusetts. It is in very nice condition, and at some point had the scabbard and blade nickel plated for parade use. The markings are clear and the brass hilt totally undamaged with a nice honest patina. The leather grip is still mostly intact, though the brass wire binding is now missing. The saber comes complete with its original all steel scabbard.
This 100% original M-1860 U.S. Cavalry Saber from the Civil War is marked on the blade with a complete Roby maker mark:
On opposite side of the 35" curved blade it is marked
We have had a number of Roby cavalry swords before, and among all of the makers, they seem to have the most variation in markings. We have seen at least 4 different ways that they marked the name of the firm on the blade ricasso, and often it will be stamped unevenly, so only part of it can be read. This sword has the complete legible marking, which is rare to see.
The A.G.M inspection mark on the blade indicates it was seen by Alfred G. Manning, who worked at Roby from 1863 until the end of the war in 1865. The pommel is marked with G.W.C., for George W. Chapin.
The drag of the scabbard is marked with DEGGE & MUSICK / PLATERS, indicating that the blade and scabbard were nickel plated by Degge & Musick of St. Louis, Missouri. This firm operated in the late 19th an early 20th centuries.
Blade condition is very nice, with only a few small nicks on the edge, apparently from before the plating. The overall shape is nice, though the Nickel plate has started to lift in places, and also has some corrosion, though the overall look is very nice, with a lovely peppered look.
The saber comes with the original all steel-curved scabbard and complete with both mounting rings. The drag of the scabbard is not beaten up at all, with overall structural integrity excellent, with just some minor dents on the outside. The Nickel plating is about 50% and one side is quite worn, while the other is much better. This may indicate that the scabbard was not properly etched prior to plating, a common occurrence.
Offered in wonderful collector's condition, original Civil War Cavalry Swords are getting harder and harder to find every year!
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 35in 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, 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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