IDENTIFIED, IMPORTED STAFF & FIELD OFFICER’S SWORD WITH SCABBARD

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Item Code: 1043-01

The blade of the Staff & Field Officer sword is so slightly curved that it looks straight at first glance. It is single-edged with a false edge extending back about 12 inches from the point. There is a wide deep fuller which runs from the ricasso to the beginning of the false edge. The obverse side of the blade is decorated with etched designs which include an American eagle with a ribbon with the motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM." The reverse side bears the letters "U.S." The blade is marked “W. CLAUBERG SOLINGEN” with standing knight logo on the ricasso. The spine of the blade is marked “IRON PROOF”. The blade is pewter-gray in color.

The grip is constructed of a wood handle with a sharkskin cover. Wrap shows some wear across the top. Sharkskin cover is wrapped with double-twist wire flanked with additional single strands of wire.  Single strand is loose in places.

The guard is of the half-basket design filled with pierced floral designs and the letters "US." There is a single quillion atop the basket and a knuckle guard running from the basket back to a nicely engraved pommel.  All metal parts of the hilt are brass. The outside branch of the basket is hand engraved “T.W. Letton, Quincy, Ill.”  A well-worn officer’s woven leather sword knot remains wrapped around the knuckle guard.

Steel scabbard wears a smooth, dark finish. No dents. The throat, two ring mounts, and drag are all brass. All scabbard attachments are tight. Brass components are ornately engraved and show some light wear, especially the back side of the drag. Lower ring mount features a patriotic shield. Upper ring mount is engraved “T.W. Letton, Quincy, Ill.” with a “US” below.

Theodore Willis Letton enlisted as a lieutenant on September 12, 1861 in Company C, 50th Illinois Infantry.  On April 28, 1862 he was promoted to regimental adjutant.  He would also serve as adjutant for the brigade and division.  He resigned his commission at the end of his three-year term of service. A complete set of military and pension records comes with the sword.

50th Illinois Infantry -- The regiment was organized at Quincy, Illinois in August 1861, was mustered in the U. S. service on September 12.  It took an active part in the battle of Fort Donelson; was engaged in the battle of Shiloh; participated in the siege of Corinth, and was engaged in the battle at that place in the following October.  In the spring of 1863 it moved into Alabama, skirmishing at Bear creek, Cherokee and Newsome's farm.  On April 27 it moved toward Town Creek and fought the enemy under Gen. Forrest.  Engaged at Oostanaula River on May 17 - the regiment losing 1 man killed and 7 wounded.  It participated in the battle of Allatoona in October - and lost 87 killed, wounded and missing.  On Oct. 13 with its brigade it moved out on the Cave Spring road and met the enemy, with 2 pieces of artillery, driving him 4 miles, and then returned to Rome, Ga.  It participated in the march to the sea, meeting the enemy at the Little Ogeechee River, and on the Carolina Campaign fought the Confederates at Bentonville, losing 2 killed and 14 wounded.  In May, 1865, it participated in the grand review at Washington.  The regiment was mustered out at Louisville on July 13, 1865.

Accompanied by military & pension records from the National Archives. [jet]

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