Original U.S. Civil War Model 1860 Cavalry Saber and Scabbard - Import

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. 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 leather grip binding is relatively 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.

This is a quality, imported saber specimen of the type issued to Federal horsemen during the American Civil War. The slightly curved saber blade measures 35” long, has a width of 1", has a 26 ½” long, wide fuller and a narrow fuller 18½" long. Blade leather buffer washer is unfortunately missing.

This fine example bears absolutely no markings whatsoever, which most likely indicates that it was an import during the U.S. Civil War, and the lack of markings obscures the origin.

Both North and South imported Swords and guns from Europe and European Manufacturers, mostly in Germany, and they did not want the eventual "winning side" to be able to blame them for "supplying the enemy". This is a typical example that could have been used by the Confederacy or the Union.

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 no major damage to the edge of the blade. The Scabbard is quite nice, though there is definitely some denting on both sides of the lower 18 inches or so of the scabbard. This does make the sword somewhat hard to sheathe. The exterior is now mostly an oxidized rust color with pitting present.

A nice honest Civil War M1860 Light Cavalry Saber, ready to display!

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 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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