IMPORT MODEL 1850 STAFF & FIELD OFFICER’S SWORD ID’D TO 151ST NEW YORK MAJOR & LIEUTENANT COLONEL

$4,500.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 988-10

The drawn sword measures a total length of 39.25 inches from point to pommel. The steel blade is 33.50 inches long with a 25.50 inch long stopped fuller and a 14.75 inch narrow fuller. The blade surface is bright with light scattered mottling and light pitting near the point. The true edge has numerous small nicks. Both ricassos are blank. The blade surface is embellished via the acid etching process. The etching on the obverse side begins above the ricasso with a fern decoration followed by scrollwork and a panoply of flags with a sprig of laurel followed by a spread-winged eagle with an ”E PLURIBUS UNUM” riband above it, followed by more scrollwork. The reverse of the blade has the same decoration but with a block “U.S.” in place of the eagle. The etching is not frosty but is good overall and very visible. At the base of the blade, up against the bottom of the brass guard is a complete leather washer.

The hilt has a highly detailed, two-line, cutout brass guard and knucklebow cast in one piece. The upper line of brass features the prominent letters “US” surrounded by fine case foliate. Bottom line has an intricate, foliate cutout design. The grip is covered in gray shark or ray skin and is wrapped with a very fine twisted brass wire flanked by plain wire. Grip shows slight wear and rub spots from use. The wire is complete but in a few places it has strayed from its proper position. This is due to handling. Phrygian pommel cap is border-engraved with laurel and oak leaves and with a faint “U.S.” and stars at center. Domed cap is plain. Knucklebow and guard have a slight wiggle. All brass wears a light patina.

The undented metal scabbard was finished brown but now shows light oxidation spots as well as surface rust spots on its lower third. The throat is of brass with an edge engraved with foliate. The two mounts are brass. The top mount is decorated with a patriotic “US” shield on its bottom half and a presentation engraved on its top. Presentation reads “MAJ. T. M. FAY 151ST N. Y. S. V. FROM THE LADIES OF PAVILION.” The lower mount has a patriotic shield at center. Both ring mounts are decorated with stars and both rings are present. The top ring bar shows heavy wear from the sword being carried. The drag is decorated on both sides. The obverse has scrollwork, stars and a rising sun while the reverse has just scrollwork.

Thomas M. Fay was commissioned Major of the 151st New York on October 22, 1862.

The 151st was assigned to the 8th Corps in the Middle Department and just after the battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863 it was transferred to the 3rd Corps of the Army of the Potomac and took part in the pursuit of Lee. The regiment saw service at Bristow Station and in the Mine Run campaign.

On March 14, 1864 Fay was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment and also during that month the 3rd Corps was dissolved and the regiment was transferred to the 6th Corps.

Lt. Col. Fay led his regiment through the battle of the Wilderness before yielding command to Colonel Emerson. Except for a short absence due to illness, Fay was present at Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Monocacy, Opequan, Winchester and Cedar Creek.

On October 31, 1864 Fay tendered his resignation citing three reasons, the small size of the regiment and the sufficiency of officers present, his bad relations to some of the other officers in the regiment and home business concerns. His resignation was accepted and he was honorably discharged on November 5, 1864.

Lieutenant Colonel Fay’s trouble within the regiment was with Captain Hezekiah Bowen Jr. of Company A. Apparently Fay promised Bowen his position as Major when he was appointed to Lieutenant Colonel but did not follow through. Bowen charged Fay with conduct unbecoming an officer but Fay’s explanation was found satisfactory and higher authority refused to court-martial him.

Thomas Fay was born in 1838 and died in 1870 no doubt due to illness contracted in the service. He is buried in Pavilion Cemetery in Pavilion, New York.  [ad]

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