Original U.S. Civil War Private Purchase M1860 Light Cavalry Saber by F. Hörster of Solingen Germany with Scabbard

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Well this is something that we don't see every often! This is a very nice "Private Purchase" Non-Regulation Model 1860 Light Cavalry Saber, the principal cavalry saber used in the U.S. Civil War of 1860-1865. It roughly conforms to the M1860 pattern, except for the hilt, which is a more European steel "Dove head" pattern, with a three branch guard. It also features a lovely contoured wooden grip covered with sharkskin shagreen, held in place by wire binding. The hilt is in great shape, with a lovely patina, and only light wear to the grip.

The blade conforms quite well to the pattern, with a broad fuller in the middle of the blade, with a narrow fuller near the spin for about half of the blade. However this blade is nickel plated, and really in great shape. It shows little sign of being used, with no nicks, and only light wear and oxidation on the plating. The original leather blade buffer washer is still present, showing light age.

The curved 34 1/2 inch blade's ricasso is marked on one side with the F. Hörster address marking:-


F. Hörster & Co. was founded in 1850 by Friedrich Hörster, and was in existence until 1870, when Friedrich Emil and Fritz Hörster changed the name to "E. & F. Hörster". They exported edged weapons to America during the Civil War, and made several other bayonets and swords for the domestic market. ;For more information please see GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS by J. Anthony Carter.

The saber comes with the original all steel-curved scabbard and complete with both mounting rings. Overall the finish does show staining and light peppering, but not any major rust scaling or damage. It fits the blade well, and is pretty much free of dents.

Offered in very good condition, original Civil War Cavalry Swords are getting harder and harder to find every year, especially German-made private purchase examples such as this! Ready to display!

Approximate Dimensions:
Blade Length: 34 1/2"
Blade Style: Single Edged Curved Saber with double Fullers
Overall length: 40“
Basket dimensions: 5" width x 5” length
Scabbard length: 35 1/4”

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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