Civil War Cannon

U.S. Officer's Sword 

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U.S. Union Officer's Sword
Union Civil War officer's sword with US marking on hilt and engraved on blade
38" Long Total - Ornate Brass Hiltt
Wire Wrapped Leather Handle - Carbon Steel Blade and Blued ScabbardWire Wrapped Leather Handle - Carbon Steel Blade and Blued Scabbard
Sword Bears U.S. Markings Engraved Into Bladee


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  Union Officers’ Swords

The swords in the civil war were created between 1830 and 1860 and were elaborate in their designs and different in their uses. Although swords were being replaced slowly by rifles and pistols as the weapons of choice for the military soldier, many still preferred the sword as their weapon of choice, especially in the Union armed forces. The Civil War was pivotal in military strategy changing to include more long range styles of fighting from close melee fighting with sword, dagger and pistol to medium range style warfare with rifles, grenades and artillery. Yet all soldiers carried at least a dagger and most were issued at least a short sword, or more common, a sword.

Swords were awarded to the Union Officers as awards for outstanding performance in the various battles against the Rebels of the South, who although they used their swords as well, actually preferred their rifles and pistols. The higher the rank, the more elaborate the designs and accoutrements on the sword.

The most elaborate sword naturally belonged to General Ulysses S. Grant which sold for 1.6 million dollars in an auction in 2007. The silver and gold sword was adorned with a monogram of 28 diamonds and was elaborately etched on the entire 33 inch blade with battle scenes. Originally presented to Grant by the citizens of Kentucky in 1864, when he was promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, it is todayconsidered the finest work of American craftsmanship of all the Civil War swords produced.

Sword of General Ulysses S. Grant

Civil War sword of Union general Ulysses S. Grant

For those of us who are unable to collect original Civil War swords, yet wish to have a representation of a Union Officer’s swords, the sword that is offered on this site is one that is one of the most popular replicas of that era. Most Union Officer’s swords were used for giving visual clues to the troops for direction and for rallying them when necessary although many saw action.

During the Civil War there were three different types of mounted cavalry which were the main users of this type of sword: Cavalry which were the elite group, the Mounted Infantry and the Irregular Forces. The Cavalry or Dragoon divisions were the ‘elite’ branch and fought from horseback. The Mounted Infantry were foot soldiers that were also equestrian-trained who would ride into battle but would dismount to fight. It was a standard joke among the troops that you never saw a dead Calvary soldier as the foot soldiers took the brunt of the assault. The Calvary were not used in the beginning of the war for direct combat but were used more for the gathering of information behind enemy lines, carrying messages between troops and commanders and harassing enemy troops with quick in and out assaults in their camps. Later, they were utilized in combat and different types of swords were utilized that ranged from the heavier early styled saber swords popularly known as “Old Wrist Breaker, referring to the 1840 Model Cavalry Saber which was replaced in 1860 by a lighter Cavalry Saber, to this model known as the 1850 Army Staff and Field Officers Sword.

This Sword could vary in the shape of its blade depending on the owner and its use but was known by the same name due to the hilt design. The design was based on a French pattern which was typical for the time period as European smelters were more actively producing swords than the smaller ones located in the United States. Although other swords were used and allowed, this sword was the most popular. It was used by all field officers of Artillery, Light Artillery and Infantry grade, Staff Officers and administration personnel such as Aide-de-Camps and their commanders.

The hilt is a dark shagreen (a leather like suede or sharkskin) grade with a wire wrap which gave a good grip to its user. The most distinctive marking to the right side of its basket is the “US” design. The “A” of USA could not be added due to lack of room. This sword was used by both the North and the South with the only visible difference being the insignia assigned to the hilt and usually engraved on the blade as well. It was carried by many officers in the field, including General Robert E. Lee (the confederate version) and can be seen in many of the photos of soldiers on both sides.

Union Office from the Civil War Posing with Sword
Union Officer portrait shown with sword

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