Union Officers Swords

n a universal military tradition stretching back many centuries the sword was both the officers' weapon of choice and an official indication of his status, and it is very unlikely that any officer on the Union side did not have his own sword. Nevertheless, as with the cavalry and their sabers described on the previous pages, so Union officers in general began to question the value of an implement which was cumbersome and heavy to carry, but which they almost never used in battle. As a result, by the middle of the war many officers sent their swords home for safe-keeping, or relegated them to the wagons, preferring instead to carry a reliable revolver or, in some individual cases in front-line infantry units, a rifle-musket.

Some swords were very utilitarian in design and manufacture, but others were very elaborate, although why the medical corps (12) needed a design of its own is not clear, although it was, presumably, never intended to be used. It is worth noting that the regulation Model 1840 (6) and Model 1860 (11) staff and foot officers' swords were particularly elegant, their simplicity of line making them stand out from the others; it must be presumed, therefore, that the intervening Model 1850 was something of an aberration.

Sword Model 1840
Artifacts courtesy ot The Cml «W Library aiKt Museum Philadelphia Pa

Model 1850 staff and field officer's sword

Non-regulation, steel-hilted, imported officer's sword

Non-regulation, steel-hilted, imported officer's sword

Non-regulation, brass-hilted. imported officer's sword

Non-regulaiion, steel-hilted, imported officer's sword

Model 1840 regulation foot officer s sword, with scabbard

Model 1850 foot officer's sword with

brass-mounted leather scabbard

8 Model 1850 foot officer's sword with all german silver scabbard

9 Model 1840 cavalry officer's saber

10 Model 1860 cavalry officer's saber

11 Model 1860 staff and field officer's sword

12 Model 1840 medical officer's sword, with scabbard

1860 Prussian Cavalry Sword

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