Original U.S. Civil War Model 1860 Light Cavalry Saber with Scabbard by Ames Mfg. Co. - Dated 1864

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice service-used Union cavalry trooper's curved Model 1860 saber made by Ames of Chicopee, Massachusetts. It is in very nice honest "attic fresh" condition, just as we found it, with no cleaning or restoration attempted. The markings are mostly clear and the brass hilt is in good shape with a nice honest patina. The leather grip binding is still in place wrapped with brass wire. The original leather grip exhibits the expected wear and aging to the leather.

The saber comes in a steel scabbard, however it looks to be for a Model 1840 Heavy Cavalry Saber, indicated by the flat backed throat. It still does fit correctly, and has a nice aged patina, with some rust on the exterior.

The curved 35" blade's ricasso is marked on one side with the maker information, which is partly faded. -


One the other side it is marked-


"C.E.W." stands for Charles E. Wilson who was a Union Government Inspector AMES sword factory during the period of the Civil War. The brass hand guard exhibits a nice mellowed patina, and is tightly secured to the blade. The original leather blade buffer is still present, showing wear commensurate with age.

The blade does show use, with some nicks on the edge of the blade, and it has an overall gray oxidized patina on the surface, though no major rust. It does not look to have been sharpened much. The included scabbard is in good condition, showing rust on the exterior, and does have some denting about 7 inches up from the drag.

Offered in very nice "attic fresh" condition, original Civil War Cavalry Swords are getting harder and harder to find every year. Ready to restore or display as is!

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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