Civil War Swords: 1851-1860
During this decade, three additional Civil War swords were introduced to the army: one for Staff and Field Officers, another for Foot Officers, and another for Marine Noncommissioned Officers. Perhaps the most popular among all other swords, the Staff and Field Officers swords were carried by Field Grade members in Artillery and Infantry. The Foot Officers swords were carried by Company Grade members in Artillery and Infantry. The Marine Noncommissioned Officers swords were introduced in 1859. All of the swords mentioned above have almost similar features and design.
Civil War Swords: 1860 and beyond
As early as 1859, the Army again opted to reform the swords of all officers and enlisted soldiers. One example is the 1840 cavalry saber; it was remodeled to a lighter blade and labeled Model 1860 cavalry saber. The Naval cutlass was also remodeled to a new design that resembles closely to the French Navy sword. Other Civil War swords from different branches of the army were likewise updated.
All the swords of the previous era were used in the opening years of hostilities. As the conflict escalated to a full-blown war, both the Unions and Confederates were using the same sets of sword for weaponry. It is this situation that makes it hard for curators to classify any Civil War swords according to the faction that they belong.
Collecting American Civil War swords
Finding antique American Civil War swords is not hard to do. Appraising is. It is because, aside from evaluating the condition of the blade, there is a need to ascertain the provenance (or authentic history) of the sword. This entails the need to classify the blade according to what faction it was used during the war.
Hence, the most famous and most expensive antique Civil War swords in the antique market are those that have traceable link to famous officers and architects of the war. Such a choice is logical: there will be less doubts to clear in proving the sword’s history, and therefore its price tag. Below is the list of some of the finest American war memorabilia:
• Ulysses S. Grant presentation sword contains 28 diamonds and intricately designed, curators have lauded the sword as the peak of American silversmith. It was given to Grant by the people of Kentucky months before the end of the war. Its worth when auctioned in 2007 was 1.6million dollars. Grant was the General-in-Chief of the Union in 1864 and masterminded the defeat of Confederates. He later on became the 18th president of America.
• The sword of General Jesse Reno is considered the second most important and most expensive Civil War sword ever auctioned. The blade has intricate markings and bear classic motifs. When it was auctioned in 2001, its price was over $100,000.
• Many people find it fascinating to have a replica of the Confederate sword of a famous general of Confederates, General Joseph O. Shelby. Shelby is known for his march towards Mexico, refusing to surrender to advancing Union troops. He and his group of soldiers are now known as “the Undefeated.” Today, there are a lot of sword manufacturing companies who are selling the replica.