Original U.S. Civil War Bullet Grazed M1860 Light Cavalry Saber by Ames Mfg. Co. with Scabbard - Dated 1863

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of the principal cavalry saber used in the U.S. Civil War of 1860-1865. It features all brass mounts, a wood with leather wrapped sword grip and fully intact bound brass wire wrap, and a nice steel scabbard. The leather of the grip is mostly intact, but it does show age and discoloration. There is some wear through to the wood on the rear of the grip. The original leather blade buffer washer is still present, but also shows age.

It also has a great "bullet graze" chip on the spine of the blade, about 5 inches from the tip. The guard is also somewhat bent, so this is a sword that really saw some damage from action during the war.

The curved 35 inch blade's ricasso is marked on one side with the Ames standard address, which is partly faded, missing the topmost line -

[Made by]

One the other side it is marked-


The blade is in very good condition, with a lovely oxidized patina. There is some dried grease on it, which makes it look a bit darker than it really is. The edge has been fully sharpened at arsenal, and is still quite sharp. This is a sword that was setup to go into action, unlike many that we see. The bullet graze chip on the back of the blade is definitely quite old. The three branch brass hand guard is in good shape, and has a lovely polished patina, though it definitely is bent out of shape a bit. There is an additional inspector D.R. mark on the pommel, which stands for Daniel Reynolds, who inspected swords from 1861 to 1864.

The saber comes with the original all steel-curved scabbard and complete with both mounting rings. Overall the finish is a lovely dark gray oxidized patina with a lot of shine from cleaning and polishing. There are some dents and bends, but they do not interfere with sheathing the blade.

Offered in very good collector's condition, original Civil War Cavalry Swords are getting harder and harder to find every year, especially with real wear from battle! Ready to clean up or display as is!

Approximate Dimensions:
Blade Length: 35"
Blade Style: Single Edged Curved Saber with double Fullers
Overall length: 40 3/4“
Basket dimensions: 5" width x 5” length
Scabbard length: 36 1/2”

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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