Officers Swords and Sabers

These Confederate officers' swords reflect some of the best work by Southern sword makers. Boyle, Gamble and Co. was the premier sword maker of the Confederacy and the example shown here (5) is unusual in that it has no "fuller." Another fairly large-scale manufacturer was Leech & Rigdon, which was also known as the Memphis Novelty Works. At least six major types of Leech & Rigdon swords have been identified, of which two are shown here (2, 3). A third sword maker was W. J. McElroy of Macon, Georgia, who manufactured sturdy but unrefined edged weapons (6); the metal scabbard is etched with the letters "CS" in Gothic script between the ring mounts.

Three engineer swords are shown. One is modeled on the US Army Model 1839 Topographical Engineer's saber (1), while the second (9) was made by Haiman and has the silvered letters "CSA" on the guard. The third (12) was a presentation item, the sword having the engineer branch insignia in brass on the guard, while its scabbard is engraved: "Capt. Jno. L. Saffarrans From his Friends in Honor of his services at the battle of Belmont, Memphis, Feby,22,1862."

The Louis Haiman sword (8) has an etched blade with the State of Georgia seal on the obverse and the letters "CS" surrounded by a wreath on the reverse.

Revolutionary War Swords And SabresLeech Novelty Sword

1 Boyle, Gamble and Company engineer officer's sword with brass mounted metal scabbard

2 Leech and Rigdon staff and field officer's sword, variant

3 Leech and Rigdon staff and field officer's sword

4 Thomas, Griswold and Company, cavalry officer's saber

5 Boyle, Gamble and Company, cavalry officer's saber

6 W J McElroy cavalry officer's saber

7 Agruider Dufilho of New Orleans staff and field officer's saber, with ivory handle and brass-mounted german silver scabbard

8 Louis Haiman lion pommel officer's saber

9 Louis Haiman engineer officer's sword.

10 E.J. Johnston and Company, foot officer's sword, made in Macon. Georgia

11 Thomas. Griswold and Company foot officer's sword, featuring an etched blade

12 Thomas, Griswold and Company engineer officer's sword.

Relic Sabre Confederate 1861 1865

Confederate Officers' Swords and Sabers (continued)

Among these Confederate officers' swords, item 6, the College Hill sword, was made in Nashville, Tennessee; item 9 was owned by Edgar G. Dawson, who rose to become major n the Terrell's Light Artillery; and item 12, the foot officer's sword, was made by Boyle and Gamble of Richmond.

Cavalry saber of Gen. George W. Rains, made by Leech & Rigdon at the Memphis Novelty Works Kraft, Goldsmith & Kraft staff and field officer's saber

Kraft, Goldsmith & Kraft deluxe lion pommel saber carried by Col. William Lowther Jackson, 19th Virginia Cavalry Confederate States Armory officer's sword made by Louis Froelich in Kenansville, N.C.

College Hill foot officer's sword made in Nashville, Tennessee College Hill staff and field officer's sword

Thomas Griswold foot officer's sword

Richmond Virginia Gamble Hill

belonging to George Sweet

8 Louis Haiman and Brother foot officer's sword carried by Capt. Edgar G. Dawson of the Terrell Light Artillery of Georgia.

9 Louis Haiman saber carried by Dawson Terrell of the Light Artillery

10 Louis Haiman and Brother saber.

belonging to Brig. Gen. Archibald Grade, Jr., killed at Petersburg, 1864

11 W. J. McElroy foot officer's sword made in Macon, Georgia

12 Foot officer's sword, used by Governor Letcher of the State of Virginia

William Dawson England Knife

ty <>.' 'he Museum ol the Conlederacy, Richmond, Va 1.2. ! !0. I2 Virginia Histoncal Society. Richmond. Vu 3. 6. 8. 9:

Mcelroy Mine

ty <>.' 'he Museum ol the Conlederacy, Richmond, Va 1.2. ! !0. I2 Virginia Histoncal Society. Richmond. Vu 3. 6. 8. 9:

The Confederate naval officer's sword (5) belonged to Capt. William Maury of C.S.S. Georgia, and was retailed by Firmin and Sons, of London, England. Apart from the decorations, this is virtually identical with the Royal Navy officer's sword which is still in service today.

A selection of knives is also shown. This includes a spear-point knife (1), some side-knives (4, 9, 17) and a short stabbing knife (14). The short stabbing knife (14) has a pillow pommel with a shark-skin grip, silver mounts and silver scabbard (13) replete with nautical motivs. The blade is inscribed "Presented to John

T Ward" on the reverse and "From his shipmates aboard CSS Virginia March 9, 1862" on the obverse. The side-knife (4) is inscribed "Relic of the Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia, May, 1862.'" The side-knife (17) and scabbard (16) are of particularly high quality, and the scabbard is inscribed with owner's name and unit: Arthur Babcock, 43rd Battalion, Mosby's Command.

The artilleryman's brooch (10) is inscribed "2nd Co., Washington Artillery, Try Us, Capt. T. L. Rosser, 7th June 1862." The knife (1) and spurs (2) belonged to John Boston Hill, the brother of Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill.

Gamble Foot Officer SwordDufhilo KnifeIron Raker

1 Spear-point side knife

2 Pair of iron "raker" spurs

3 An oil-cloth storage and carrying case for items 5 and 6. The case is lined with chamois leather

4 and 15 Burger Brothers side-knife and scabbard.

5 and 6 Regulation Confederate States

Navy officer's sword and scabbard 7 and 8 Foot officer's sword and scabbard made by Agruider Dufilho of New Orleans

9 Side-knife made by Boyle, Gamble and Company, Richmond, Virginia

10 Gold, jeweler-made pin, with artillery insignia

11 and 12 Light artillery officer's saber and scabbard 13 and 14 Presentation naval dirk with silver mounts 16 and 17 Boyle, Gamble and Company of Richmond, Virginia, side-knife with etched blade, complete with leather and brass scabbard. _continued

The Confederate capital. Richmond, was one of the primary ordnance manufacturing locations within the South. The most prolific manufacturer of edged weapons was the firm of Boyle, Gamble and Company (which was also known as Boyle, Gamble and McFee) which operated there throughout most of the war. The firm made swords copied from Federal models, swords of its own design, and also embellished captured swords or blades.

Boyle, Gamble and Company staff and field officer's sword.

Boyle, Gamble and Company staff and field officer's sword

Mitchell & Tyler staff and field officer's sword

Boyle, Gamble and Company staff and field officer's sword

Boyle, Gamble and Company foot officer's sword, variant

Boyle, Gamble and Company foot officer s sword

Boyle, Gamble and Company foot officer's sword

Boyle. Gamble and Company deluxe

Swords CreekStaff And Field Officer Sword

staff and field officer's sword

9 Boyle. Gamble and Company foot officer's sword

10 Model 1850 U.S. staff and field officer's sword, with blade etched by Boyle, Gamble and Company

11 Boyle, Gamble and MacFee foot officer's sword

12 Belt with two-piece interlocking State of Virginia seal plate, belonging to Brig. Gen. John B Floyd

13 Belt with two-piece "CS" plate accompanying item 6

14 Boyle, Gamble and MacFee naval officer's sword

Mosby Rangers Swords

There were clearly greater opportunities and more money available in the North for presentation swords, but that does not mean that the practice was entirely abandoned in the South, as these swords show.

Presentation grade sword of Maj. William Norbonne Starke, presented to him by the men of Co. E, Louisiana Infantry Regt.. 1861 Silver spurs given to Lt. Gen. Ambrose Powell Hill

Silk sash of Brig Gen. Nathan George Evans

Cased sword presented to Evans by

1850 South Carolina Army Uniform Photo

South Carolina, when he was a captain in the Federal Army

5 Prewar non-regulation militia staff and field officer's sword of Brig. Gen. Patrick Theodore Moore

6 Cased Model 1852 U.S. naval officer's sword with two scabbards, presented to Lieutenant Robert B. Pegram by the state of Virginia

7 Cased silver spurs engraved to Colonel Robert A. Crawford

8 Snuff box of Maj. Gen. Sterling Price

9 Presentation grade sword given to Maj. Gen. Sterling Price by the ladies of New Orleans

10 Maj Gen. Price's gold medal, presented by the St. Louis Grays

Confederate Hand Grenades

While the North seems to have been quite adventurous with its hand-grenades and tried out new designs of tail and fuzes, the Confederates appear to have stuck mostly to the tried-and-tested spherical grenade. This may well have been because they simply did not have the time or resources for experimental programs. A copy of the

Federal Ketcham grenade was produced under the name "Rains Grenade" (1) which had a split wooden tail and paper flights, but it also had a cloth streamer, intended to give stability in flight. The other advanced design was the "Adams hand-grenade" with a similar body and fuze to the Rains grenade, but with a paper streamer for stability. J

Rains GrenadeRains And Adams Grenade

1 Confederate Rains hand-grenade. Of the same basic design as the Federal Army's Ketcham 5lb (2.27kg) hand-grenade, but with a modified plunger head and light cloth streamer

2 Confederate spherical hand-grenade

3 Confederate Rains hand-grenade variant with paper streamer-type tail

4 Confederate spherical hand-grenade

5 Adams hand-grenade

6 Confederate spherical hand-grenade

It is a curious characteristic that many weapons inventors become so bound up with their inventions, and suffer from such an overwhelming desire to see it in use, that they will even sell it (or allowed it to be sold) to their enemies. Thus it was with this very odd weapon which was the brainchild of General Origen Vandenburgh of the New York State Militia. Having failed to sell it in the United States he went to England in 1860, where the weapon was put into production by Robinson and Cottam, in London.

Vandenburgh failed to sell it to the ] British forces and somehow at least one copy was sold to the J Confederates, although whether this was with, or without, the j inventor's knowledge is not known. 1 This particular casting contains j eighty-five individual 0.5in (12.7mm) barrels, each of which had to be loaded in turn until complete whenj the breech was closed and tightened j by means of the massive handles, ] thus creating an air-tight seal with the I weapon's firing-chamber. All the ] barrels were then fired simultaneously by means of a

Percussion Ring Firing

percussion cap located in the center of the breech block. (It should be noted that, at first sight, it appears that the Vandenburgh operated like a machine-gun, with the barrels being fired in turn by the rotating handles. This is not so; all barrels fired together, like a scatter-gun, and the handles were solely for closing the breech.)

Excellent artillery collections may be viewed at the West Point Museum, N.Y., Gettysburg and Petersburg National Military Parks, and the Washington Navy Yard in the District of Columbia.

1 View of the muzzle of the Vandenburgh Volley Gun, showing its multiple barrels. In this particular example, the eighty-five rifled barrels are of .50 caliber

2 Breech view of the Volley Gun, showing the handles of its screw breech mechanism. When tightened, the screw forced the breech holding the individual loaded rounds into an air-tight seal with the weapon's firing chamber. Note the large metal lugs at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock, which limited the travel of the handles. All the barrels were fired simultaneously by means of the percussion cap, which can be seen located in the center of the breech handles.

Ward Burton Breech Loading Rifle

3 Side view of the brass, breech-loading Volley Gun, showing the large gun-sight on the top of the barrel, and the breech secured in position. This particular weapon was made by Robinson and Cottam, London, and is marked 85 No. 4, the first number presumably referring to the number of barrels, the second to the individual's place in the production run. The gun is only 36 inches (91cm) long, but weighs 400 pounds (181kg). It was captured by Union cavalry near Salisbury, North Carolina, in April. 1865.

Cottam CarriagesArmstrong Cannon Sight

mported English ordnance was among the finest in the Confederate arsenal, with those from Armstrong and Whitworth being considered to be the most modern types, having exceptional range and accuracy. This large garrison piece, officially designated an "Armstrong 8-inch Iron Rifle," was made in 1864 in England and shipped to the Confederacy, its transport managing to evade the U.S. Navy's blockade. With a caliber of 8 inches (203mm), the weapon itself weighed 15,7371b (7.87 US tons] [7,138kg)), which did not include the] wheeled barbette carriage, which! was designed to provide easyl traverse and a controlled recoil whenl the rifle was fired.

The piece was one of those! arming Fort Fisher, the fortress! protecting Wilmington, Northj Carolina, which by late 1864 was the last major port still open to the Confederacy. An initial assault by ] Federal forces during December 24- I

Wilmington Fort Fisher 1864

25, 1864, ended in failure, but a second attempt was begun on January 13, 1865, led by Admiral David D. Porter and General Alfred Terry. A massive naval bombardment from over 600 guns from fifty-nine warships heralded a land assault by 8,000 Federal troops, which cut the Fort off from Wilmington and any possible chance of relief from 6,000 Confederates under the command of General Braxton Bragg, who had been sent to the area in October

1864. Faced with continued bombardment and attacks from two sides, the fort's commander, Colonel William Fisher, surrendered his garrison of 1,900 men on January 15,

1865. The town of Wilmington fell five weeks later

Captured trophies such as this large Armstrong rifle may be seen at West Point. The Washington Navy Yard, and Forts Sumter and Moultrie at Charleston, SC., also have captured English ordnance.

Washington Navy Yard Officers Club

The Richmond Arsenal was the most productive in the Confederacy, and fabricated a wide variety of ammunition and explosives. In general, however, the Confederate ordnance facilities were never able to master the manufacture of metallic cartridges, which seriously hindered their war effort, while the lack of standardization and the wide variety of calibers (as witnessed in these pages) wasted a lot of manufacturing effort.

Surviving examples of Confederate small arms ammunition are extremely scarce, even though millions of rounds were manufactured. However, the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond has a fine collection of this material.

1 Bullet mold for a British made .557 i caliber rifle

2 Richmond Arsenal .69 caliber buck | and ball cartridges

3 A pack of .58 caliber cartridges, still neatly tied.

4 Augusta Arsenal .69 caliber round ball cartridges

5 Columbus Arsenal Enfield or Minié

Buck Ball CartridgeWhitworth Rifle Bullets Molds

Rifle cartridges, .557 or .58 caliber

6 Richmond Arsenal .58 caliber cartridges

7 Lynchburg Arsenal .69 caliber cartridges

8 Macon Arsenal .54 caliber cartridges

9 and 10 Two packets of Merrill's Carbine cartridges

11 British .577 caliber rifle-musket mold

12 Richmond Arsenal .44 caliber pistol cartridges

13 and 14 Two packets of .36 caliber pistol cartridges 15 and 16 Cannon friction primers

17 Cannon quill primer

18 Friction fuze

19 Richmond Arsenal friction primers

20 and 21 Richmond Arsenal five second fuzes

22 Individual three-second fuze

23 Selma Arsenal friction primers

Macon Arsenal Ammo BoxesBritish 76mm Projectiles

As with small arms, there were great technological advances with artillery. Smoothbore pieces were becoming obsolete and shells and other projectiles had to be designed to be fired from rifled barrels. The Confederates were not isolated from such progress, but the U.S. blockade and the shortage of resources in the South made it difficult to keep pace.

1 101b (4.5kg) Parrott shell

2 3in (76mm) Mullane shell

3 3in (76mm) Reed-Broun shell

4 101b (4.5kg) Parrott shell

5 121b (5.4kg) British Britten shell (sabot portion is missing)

6 3in (76mm) Reed-Parrott shell

7 121b (5.4kg) British Whitworth shell

8 1 in (25mm)Williams solid bolt projectile

9 121b (5.4kg) British Whitworth solid bolt projectile

10 3in (76mm) Burton shell (sabot portion is missing)

British ProjectileReed Shell Artillery76mm Shell Projectile

Iron shell in 8lb (3.6kg) caliber with copper rings to grab rifling Lead-saboted 12.31b (5.6kg) shell 12.21b (5.5kg) wrought iron bolt for a Whitworth breechloading rifle

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  • irene
    What does CSA mean on an american officers sword?
    8 years ago
  • ANNIINA
    What did the mosby rangers use for weapons?
    7 years ago
  • Who used the u.s. ward burton carbine?
    6 years ago
  • liviana
    What belt plates did mosbys rangers use ?
    5 years ago
  • askalu
    How was swords and sabers made?
    4 years ago
  • erik
    Who was boyle gamble mcfee of richmond virgina?
    7 months ago

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