Union Sabers

Confederate Cavalry Troopers

Federal weapons, with few exceptions, exhibited advanced manufacturing techniques and excellent quality, as shown by these curved-blade, cavalry sabers. The weapons are shown in close-up (1) to (3), while the photograph shows a group of Ohio cavalrymen, rugged western Yankees, typical of many in the ranks of Union cavalry regiments, with their sabers very much in evidence. They were young, lean, and hardy young men, well-used to the outdoor life, and meant business. The great cavalry tradition was one of massed charges, using lance or saber, but the only large-scale cavalry encounter of that type occurred at Brandy Station in June 1863, when 7,000 Union and 10,000 Confederate cavalry engaged in one charge after another, both sides employing their sabers with great gusto. Nevertheless, the heavy, cumbersome saber gradually went out of fashion, with troopers giving preference to a combination of repeating carbines for long range work, revolvers for closer

Below: A group of Ohio cavalrymen with drawn sabers.

ranges, and dirks or hunting knives for hand-to-hand combat.

1 U.S. Model 1860 design of cavalry saber featuring three-bar type of grip guard

2 U.S. Model 1840 design of cavalry saber featuring variation of three-bar type of grip guard

3 Imported Model 1840 design of cavalry saber, complete with scabbard featuring a hilt fabricated from iron

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