Original U.S. Civil War Model 1860 Light Cavalry Saber with Scabbard - Dated 1863

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 partly worn away, and the brass hilt is in good shape, with a lovely patina. The leather grip binding is tight and still in place wrapped with brass wire, with a bit of wear and some leather missing. The saber comes complete with the correct matched all steel scabbard, which is also in nice shape, with both hanger loops intact.

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 18 1/2" long. Blade leather buffer washer is still intact, with the expected wear from age and use, and some tearing.

This Model 1860 U.S. Cavalry Saber from the Civil War is faintly marked on the blade ricasso on the reverse:

d. f. l.

There is an additional DFL marking on the pommel cap, however we have not been able to identify this inspector, or what factory they worked at. With the maker mark worn away, there is unfortunately no way to tell who manufactured it, however it definitely is correct in every way we can see.

Condition overall is quite nice, with the expected wear of age. The blade is very nice, with some edge wear, and a lovely polished patina. There are a few edge dents, and staining and oxidation in places, but overall it is in very good condition considering the age and use, as shown.

The Scabbard is quite nice, with a nice lightly polished patina, with light surface rusting. There are however some dents on the edges, as well as "door close" dent about 16 inches up from the drag, which has also caused a crack in the scabbard.  Both hanger rings are present, and it really is a nice scabbard, with honest wear.

A nice honest used 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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