PRESENTATION SWORD OF CAPT. WILLIAM BLOODGOOD, 95th NEW YORK, AIDE TO GENERAL CUTLER; TWO HORSES SHOT FROM UNDER HIM AT GETTYSBURG!

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This is an impressive sword given to an officer who was in the thick of the first day’s fighting here at Gettysburg. The 95th New York part of Cutler’s brigade, which took part in the fierce fighting of July 1 as General Reynolds sought to stave off the Confederate advance. Bloodgood was at the forefront of the fight, serving as a Volunteer Aide to Cutler and is mentioned by Cutler in his official report: “In closing, I beg leave to acknowledge my great obligations to Capt. J. A. Kellogg, acting assistant adjutant-General; Capt. William Bloodgood, acting aide; Lieut. S. W. Woodrow, of the 95th New York, and Lieut. T. W. Miller, volunteer aide on my staff. These officers all acted with the most perfect coolness and bravery throughout the whole action. Every one of my staff and orderlies were dismounted by having their horses shot; Lieut. Miller and Capt. Bloodgood twice each, and Lieut. Woodrow three times." The regiment lost 7 killed and 62 wounded, and was responsible with the 14th Brooklyn and 6th Wisconsin for repulsing and capturing a substantial part of Davis’s Mississippi Brigade at the Railroad Cut.

The 95th recruited in New York City and vicinity from November 1861 to March 1862. It saw early service with the Third Corps, Army of Virginia, losing 113 men in the fighting around Second Bull Run, before transferring with the rest of its division to First Army Corps in September 1862. In March 1864, with the consolidation of the army, it joined the 5th Army Corps, with whom it served to the end of the war. CWData lists some 80 points at which it was engaged and suffered casualties of some sort. It lost 5 officers and 114 enlisted men in killed or mortally wounded alone.

William Bloodgood was born in Perth Amboy, N.J. 4/10/1833. enrolled in the 95th at age 28 in New York City on 11/28/61 and was mustered in as First Lieutenant of Co. G, but soon after was promoted to Captain 12/28/61, mustered in as such 2/20/62 and received a commission giving him rank from 12/28/61, indicating he had been acting in that capacity at that time. His term of service covered the regiment’s first fighting in the campaign of Second Bull Run and its involvement with the Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville campaigns, Gettysburg, the pursuit of Lee, and the fighting in the Fall of 1863. Bloodgood was discharged for disability on 11/287/63, just at the opening of the ill-fated Mine Run Campaign. The rigors of campaigning must have taken a toll. He applied for an invalid pension in 1873. He died 6/12/1921 at age 88 in Portsmouth, Va., and is buried there.

The sword falls into Thillmann’s Sauerbier “Non-regulation Staff and Field Type III hilt” (US Army Swords, 358-359.) The guard is a cavalry officer’s style, but the length of the sword indicates its intended use by an infantry officer. Overall length of the sword is 37”; the length of the blade is 32”. The use of a defined ricasso on the blade indicates the blade itself was not by Sauerbier, but mounted by that firm. The spiral grip is pewter with a single strand of twisted binding wire. The pommel cap is inset with an oval portrait bust in pewter on the top that would seem to be Columbia, and an oval inset plaque on the front of the cap showing a scroll with the motto, “UNION.” The branches of the guard terminate in floral scrolls at the counterguard. The scabbard mounts are brass with typical Sauerbier geometric and floral motifs, along with a “U.S.” on the lower part of the middle mount and a Greco-Roman helmet on the drag. The upper mount has an unusual lower edge representing either flames or oak leaves (identical to that illustrated by Thillman.) The hilt has a medium patina and the mounts match. The metal scabbard was silvered with a thin silver foil, and now shows freckling here and there from the iron underneath, mostly near the mounts, but only a few small spots of loss.

The blade is bright, with vivid etching. The obverse ricasso is etched “Iron Proof;” reverse: “H. Sauerbier / NEWARK / N.J.” The blade obverse has deeply etched floral and geometric motifs with a gold wash on the lowest panel above the ricasso and showing very nicely on the wingtips, shield, and E Pluribus Unum ribbon held in the beak of an American eagle carrying an olive branch and thunder-bolt shaped arrows in the central panel. The reverse starts with gold wash on the panel just above the ricasso as well, and shows the hilts of crossed swords among the floral motifs. The central panel is etched “Presented to,” in a scroll at left, with “Capt. Wm. Bloodgood” in large letters and three line panel at right: “by his friends in New Jersey as a token of their  /esteem of his noble bearing on the field in the late / battles on the Potomac.” Below this, along the blade edge, is a separate frosted panel reading, “NEW JERSEY IS EVER PROUD OF HER SONS.” The blade has a good edge and point. The metal above the etched panels is smooth and bright, though with some small dark spots and a bit of freckling near the tip on the reverse. The reference in the presentation to “battles on the Potomac” would suggest a fairly early presentation, perhaps between Antietam and Fredericksburg, or during the period between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. This is a very pretty sword in any case, given to an officer who certainly earned it. [sr]

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