Original U.S. Civil War M1850 Foot Officer Sword by W.H. Horstmann & Sons with Sharkskin Scabbard / Grip & Etched German Blade

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Excellent, original condition model 1850 Foot Officer’s Sword with half basket brass hilt decorated with pierced floral decorations, and a custom ordered etched blade. Made by the firm W.H. Horstmann & Sons of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As used by all officers below the rank of major between 1851-1865. This sword was used by both Union and Confederate officers during the American Civil War.

The slightly curved blade of 30 1/4 inches is in good shape, with some lovely etching in the middle, with “U.S.” on one side, and a stunning military motif on the opposite side. Truly a lovely blade, with a nice aged dark patina, which is marked on one side with the maker information:


The opposite side of the ricasso is marked with the manufacturer's logo of a Königskopf (King's Head), the logo of Gebrüder Weyersberg, Waffenfabrik, founded in 1787 by the brothers Johan William and Peter to manufacture sword and knife blades. By 1850 they were located on Kölnerstrasse in the Ohligs area of the City of Solingen. From 1859 onward they operated a factory on Hochstrasse in the same area. Called "The City of Blades", Solingen is a world-renowned edged weapon area, with a history dating back to the middle ages. The Weyersberg family itself had a history of swordmaking going back at least 6 generations. The company had numerous contacts and customers in Europe, and supplied weapons to Napoleon's army, as well as to the Prussian and Russian armies during the 19th century.

The sudden death of Hermann Weyersberg in 1883 caused a management issue, and the manufacturing portion of the company was amalgamated with W.R. Kirschbaum to form the well-known firm of Weyersberg, Kirschbaum & Co. As part of this agreement the sales and trading portion of Weyersberg continued under numerous brand names. For more information please see J. Anthony Carter’s work GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS. The spine of the ricasso has the words IRON PROOF etched on it which also confirms the sword originated from Solingen, Germany and was sold by Horstmann.

Blade shows signs of multiple contact points with another sword. Whether this damage dates from the Civil War, or from child's play in the decades beyond the Civil War can be speculated.

Condition of the sword is very good, and it is offered with the original sharkskin shagreen covered scabbard, which shows signs of honest wear and storage age, with some loss of the skin and there are some bends present. There is also an area where the scabbard split through completely, and now has a glued repair. The original sharkskin grip covering is completely intact, showing some signs of expected wear, some cracking here and there and abrasion marks where fittings rubbed against the sharkskin. The blade, grip, and guard are still very solid and without any play. The brass guard and pommel have developed a very pleasant rich patina over the years.

Approximate Dimensions:
Blade Length: 31"
Blade Style: Single Edged Slightly Curved with double Fullers
Overall length: 37”
Basket dimensions: 5" width x 5” length
Scabbard length: 31”

The Model 1850 Army Staff and Field Officer's Sword was carried by all members of staff departments, Field Grade officers of Artillery and Infantry, Company Grade Officers of Light Artillery, Staff Officers and Aides-de-Camp between 1850 and 1872. It was based on a French pattern. Though other swords were by regulation allowed, this model was by far the most popular sword carried by officers during the American Civil War. The Staff and Field Officers' Sword is distinct from the Model 1850 Army Foot Officer's Sword.

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