Original U.S. Civil War M-1860 Light Cavalry Saber by Mansfield and Lamb with Nickel-Plated Scabbard - Dated 1864

Item Description

Original Item: One Only. This is a genuine Union cavalry trooper's curved M-1860 saber. It is in very good condition with expected wear from age and storage. The markings at the base of the blade are very clear and the brass hilt is in perfect order. The leather grip binding is tight and still in place wrapped with brass wire, though parts of the leather have worn through, showing the wood underneath. The saber comes complete with the correct matched all steel scabbard, which was Nickel-Plated at some time.

This is a quality, Mansfield & Lamb saber specimen of the type issued to Federal horsemen during the American Civil War. Manufactured by partners Henry Mansfield and Estus Lamb in the village of Forestdale, Rhode Island, this saber was one of 37,500 edged weapons produced for the U.S. Ordnance Department by the firm during the war. The slightly curved saber blade measures 35" long, has a width of 1 1/16", has a 27" long, wide fuller and a narrow fuller 18½" long. Blade leather buffer washer is unfortunately missing.

This Model 1860 U.S. Cavalry Saber from the Civil War marked on the blade ricasso inside an oval:


on the reverse:


J.C.W. stands for an unknown Union inspector, who inspected swords at Mansfield & Lamb in 1864 only. His markings can be seen on Ames swords on other years. The Pommel is marked with C.E.W., for inspector Charles E. Wilson, who worked at Mansfield & Lamb from 1863 to 1865.

Condition overall is quite nice, with the expected wear of age. The blade has the usual staining and light pitting from long use and storage. There is not any major damage to the edge of the blade. The Scabbard is quite nice, with no real denting that we can see, though the nickel plate has eroded in some areas, allowing corrosion to take hold.

A nice honest Civil War M1860 Light Cavalry Saber, 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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