AMES M1850 STAFF & FIELD OFFICER’S SWORD PRESENTED TO 121ST NEW YORK LIEUTENANT

$4,500.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 302-69

This sword was presented to Lieutenant Henry C. Keith by the men of his Company.

The drawn sword measures a total length of 38.00 inches from point to pommel. The fine looking blade is 32.00 inches long with a 15.50 inch narrow fuller and a 22.50 inch stopped wide fuller. Both sides of the blade are profusely embellished via the acid etching process. Etchings are still very strong. Obverse flat decoration begins with foliate, a panoply of arms and a spreadwinged eagle with riband reading “E. PLURIBUS UNUM” followed by more foliate. Reverse flat starts with foliate leading to the letters “US” followed by a panoply of arms and finished with more foliate. Obverse ricasso is etched with “AMES MFG CO. / CHICOPEE / MASS.” while the reverse is blank. Blade is clean and bright. Etching is excellent overall. The true edge has no nicks. Washer is present at the base of the ricasso.

Sword features a highly detailed, two-band, cutout brass hilt with the guard and knucklebow cast in one piece. Upper band of brass hilt features prominent cutout letters “US” surrounded by finely detailed, cutout foliate. Inside band has an intricate, foliate cutout design. The guard has an ornate quillon. Covering the center-swelled wood handle is a grip of gray sharkskin, possibly rayskin, in excellent tight condition with light wear evident. Seam is tight. Double twisted brass wire is wrapped tightly about the grooves in the handle. Brass ‘Phrygian-style’ pommel cap is border-engraved in a floral pattern and exhibits a tiered cap. Hilt is tight.

The smooth blued steel scabbard is in very good original condition. There is one very small ding in the scabbard body just above the drag. The brass drag also has a small indentation. Scabbard has a brass throat and two brass mounts in addition to the brass drag. Ring mounts are decorated with laurel leaves. Both rings are present. Reverse of the top mount bears the maker’s mark of “AMES MFG. CO. / CHICOPEE / MASS.” The front of the top mount is nicely engraved with “PRESENTED TO H. C. KEITH 1ST LIEUT. CO. B 121 N. Y. V. AUG. 1, 1862.”

Henry Chipman Keith was born in Massachusetts and at some point moved to upper New York State. On August 13, 1862, at age 29, he received a commission as 1st Lieutenant in Company B, 121st New York Infantry.

The regiment left New York for the front on September 2, 1862 and was assigned to the 1st Division, 6th Corps, Army of the Potomac.

Lieutenant Keith was present with his regiment at South Mountain but the 121st was not engaged in the fighting at Crampton’s Gap, and at Antietam they were held in reserve.

During a march on November 1, 1862 Lieutenant Keith developed severe pain in his right side and leg. With difficulty he remained with his Company. On each succeeding day’s march the pain would return causing the Lieutenant to fall out of the column. His self-diagnosis was a hernia and he fought through the pain during the Fredericksburg Campaign.

During the retreat from Fredericksburg Lieutenant Keith, now walking with a cane, fell by the side of the road and in the dark was not missed until much later. Despite the cold and rainy weather some of the men from his Company went looking for him and found him laying along the edge of the road. Lifting the Lieutenant up and supporting him on either side the men succeeded in getting him back to camp. In January Keith submitted his resignation and was honorably discharged to date from January 7, 1863.

After the war Keith lived in Buffalo where he was a member of the Bidwell-Wilkeson Post #9 of the GAR. He continued to suffer from his hernia and received a pension from the Government while working as a real estate agent.

Due to ill health Mr. Keith gave up his business and occupied himself on a farm his wife owned near Buffalo. After a while he could not work the farm and had to sell it. Keith remarked to a friend that is occupation in life was gone and the fact that he was doing nothing to support his wife preyed on his mind.

On March 10, 1903 Keith told his wife he was going downtown on business and left his home. He proceeded to the Genesee Hotel where he checked into a room, stripped down to his underwear, emptied a bottle of laudanum into his stomach and using his suspenders committed suicide by strangulation. Newspapers say that his end was “undoubtedly, due to despondency.” He was 69 years old.

Keith’s body was returned to Massachusetts for burial.

Though not killed in battle Lieutenant Keith was most assuredly a casualty of the war. One of thousands who continued to suffer long after the guns fell silent. By comments made in his pension file Henry Keith was a diligent, dutiful and faithful officer and this sword, presented to him by the men of his Company, is a wonderful memorial to him and of his service to his Country.  [AD]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THIS ITEM, AS WITH ALL OTHER ITEMS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEB SITE,

MAY BE PURCHASED THROUGH OUR LAYAWAY PROGRAM.

FOR OUR POLICIES AND TERMS,

CLICK ON ‘CONTACT US’ AT THE TOP OF ANY PAGE ON THE SITE,

THEN ON ‘LAYAWAY POLICY’.

THANK YOU!

Inquire About AMES M1850 STAFF & FIELD OFFICER’S SWORD PRESENTED TO 121ST NEW YORK LIEUTENANT

should be empty

featured item

1851 PATTERN SHAKO FOR OHIO STATE ARTILLERY

Pattern 1851 shakos are sporadically encountered but it is not often that one like this comes up for sale. This particular shako is for a State of Ohio artillery unit. The shako is of the usual construction with a body of dark blue wool broadcloth… (161-08). Learn More »

Upcoming Events

20
Jul

Richmond, VA Civil War Show, 7/20 - 7/21 Learn More »