Original U.S Civil War Model 1860 Light Cavalry Saber by C. Roby with Steel Scabbard - Dated 1865

Item Description

Original Item: One Only. This is a fine Union cavalry trooper's curved M-1860 saber made by Christopher Roby of West Chelmsford, Massachusetts. It is in very nice honest matured condition, and definitely shows signs of age and weathering. The markings are mostly clear and the brass hilt totally undamaged with a nice honest patina. The leather grip wrapping is still in place, with some wear through on a few places. It still has fully intact twisted brass wire wrapping. The saber comes complete with its original all steel scabbard, which has some oxidation to the exterior.

This is a 100% original M-1860 U.S. Cavalry Saber from the Civil War, marked on the blade with the Roby maker mark, which is complete:


On opposite side of the 35" curved blade it is marked


We have had a number of Roby cavalry swords before, and among all of the makers, they seem to have the most variation in markings. We have seen at least 4 different ways that they marked the name of the firm on the blade ricasso, and often it will be stamped unevenly, so only part of it can be read. This example has a fully legible maker mark, a rarity.

The only inspector mark on the blade is A.G.M., so this sword was inspected by Alfred G. Manning, who worked at Roby from 1863 until the end of the war in 1865. There is no inspector marking that we can see on the scabbard, which seems to be typical for Roby produced scabbards. There is also a rack number 21 stamped into the pommel and guard.

Blade condition is good, with a lot of bright steel, though it definitely looks to have had past rust or water damage, now removed. The edge is pretty much nick free, and does not look to have been sharpened after manufacture. The original leather blade washer is still in place, though it is somewhat degraded. The hilt is in beautiful condition, with a nice oxidized patina.

The saber comes with the original all steel-curved scabbard and complete with both mounting rings. The scabbard has seen use, and has an overall oxidized patina. There are dents and some crushing near the drag, however this does not interfere with sheathing the sword.

Offered in wonderful collector's condition, original Civil War Cavalry Swords are getting harder and harder to find every year! 

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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