Original U.S. Civil War M-1840 Light Artillery Officer's Saber with Scabbard - Dated 1862
Original Item: Only One Available. This is an excellent example of a Civil War Model 1841 Light Artillery Officer's Saber, straight out of an old collection. There are still markings on the 32" curved bright steel blade. The sword measures 38" overall, and has a brass "D" guard enclosing brass wire bound leather hand grip. Comes complete with a curved Nickel plated steel scabbard with two hanging rings.
The blade does not appear to have any maker markings, which may have been polished off over time. It does however have the U.S. inspection markings on the other side-
"J.H." stands for either John or Joseph Hannis, a known inspector who worked at Mansfield & Lamb during the Civil War, inspecting swords there in 1862 only. The Mansfield & Lamb maker mark is often lightly struck and easily removed, so it is not uncommon to find unmarked blades such as this by that maker.
This sword blade is in great shape, and shows only light use. It is really in great shape, still retaining much of the original bright steel finish, with some staining towards the end. There are some small dents and nicks on the edge, but no major chips or other damage. The leather buffer on the guard is present, and the leather grip wrapping is in good condition, with complete brass wire wrapping. The hilt is in great shape, with a lovely aged brass patina.
The scabbard is also in great shape, with a lovely grayish patina, and both hanger rings still present. There are a few small dents, which do not interfere with sheathing the blade at all. Really a good example.
This is an absolutely genuine U.S. Civil War issue 1840 artillery saber offered in very good condition. Ready to display!
Blade length: 32”
Blade style: Curved Saber with Single Wide Fuller
Overall length: 37 3/4”
Scabbard length: 33 3/4”
Handguard: 6”x 5 ½”
History of the M-1840 Artillery Saber:
Before and during the Civil War there were two categories of artillery: The first was termed variously coast, siege, or garrison artillery and consisted of heavy large-caliber cannon on their equally unwieldy carriages that essentially remained where they had been installed in permanent positions like the brick forts prevalent for seacoast defense. The other was the field artillery that accompanied an army on the march, that from the Revolution had also consisted of relatively heavy and slow-moving pieces drawn by oxen or draft horses. Developments in metallurgy in the first half of the nineteenth century produced a new range of smaller and lighter bronze guns and howitzers that were much more mobile on the battlefield, and it was with these that the then-new flying or horse artillery completely dominated their old-fashioned enemies in battles like Buena Vista in the Mexican War of the 1840's.
The so-called foot artillery manning the garrison guns were uniformed and equipped like their brothers in the infantry, including a useless heavy sidearm called a foot artillery short sword, which for a time in the 1830's was also regulation for infantrymen. The new horse, field, or mounted artillery were uniformed and armed like their counterparts in the cavalry or dragoons, which included these handsome, sturdy curved sabers patterned from a French design of the 1820's.
When the U. S. decided to arm the new batteries of light or horse artillery, they again contracted with the N. P. Ames company from whom they had previously obtained foot artillery short swords and M.1833 Dragoon sabers; once again, a French pattern was chosen to copy for the U. S. M. 1840 light artillery saber. During the Mexican War, the U. S. artillery officers' sabers were regulation for ALL mounted officers other than those of the cavalry; today they are one of the rarest and most valuable of U. S. regulation swords, so I "make do" with my French original.
Like with other swords and sabers, the blades were inspected first, and only after they had "passed" and been stamped with the initials of the inspecting official, then sent on to be hilted. On final acceptance, they then received the US and year of manufacture stampings, which on this example were each clearly applied separately unlike modern-day replicas and fakes.
In the later Civil War-era examples from Ames and their competitors who also made them, the throats have been re-designed like those of the cavalry or dragoon sabers with a leather pad or washer acting as a sealer for the throat of the scabbard. These handsome sabers were also copied during the Civil War by several Confederate sword cutlers like Leech and Rigdon of Memphis, Tenn. and Boyle and Gamble in Richmond, Va. One would think there was probably little use of these in actual combat ( and one would be right! ); however there is a recorded case of a mounted charge by artillerymen armed with these acting as cavalry against Apaches in the Southwest ca. 1852 led by Lt. Ambrose Burnside of the 2d Artillery, who was wounded in the fray!
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