IMPORT NON-REGULATION M1850 STAFF OFFICER’S SWORD ID’D TO OFFICER IN 1ST NEW HAMPSHIRE CAVALRY

$4,250.00 SOLD
Originally $4,500.00

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 34-121

This finely crafted sword was manufactured by the Henry Sauerbier Company of Newark, New Jersey. When drawn from the scabbard the overall length of the sword is approx. 39.00 inches measuring from point to pommel. The blade itself meas. approx. 33.75 inches from point to the base of the ricasso. Blade surface is bright with only very minor scattered mottling. There is no visible pitting on either side of the blade. The true edge has two small nicks. The blade has a 25.50 inch unstopped wide fuller and a 23.25 inch narrow fuller. Blade is strongly and clearly etched with foliate and arms on the obverse and foliate with a large, wide “US” on the reverse. The reverse ricasso is etched with “H. SAUERBIER / NEWARK, N.J.” The thin leather washer at the base of the ricasso is worn but present.

The finely cast, large American eagle brass French embellished guard / hilt displays a detailed, non-regulation Eagle and Medallion style guard. The intricately cast face of the large guard displays the eagle on a shield device, a pennant with seven stars, oak leaf scrolls, acanthus leaves, and flows into a multi-cutout decorative branch that terminates into a strong knucklebow. Brass hilt is strong and tight on the blade tang. It exhibits a very fine, mellow patina that has not been cleaned. The back-swelled handle is a grip of a standard design made of ribbed wood covered in leather that is in very good condition. This is wrapped by a twisted brass wire flanked on each course by plain brass wire. Base has a plain brass ferrule. Wire is tight. Phrygian pommel cap exhibits a finely cast border with an ornate oak leaf and scrollwork pattern. Quillon is markedly turned forward and down.

The iron scabbard was blued but is turning a pleasing plumb brown. There are several scattered small spots of surface pitting but no dents. The brass throat is plain with a scalloped bottom edge. Both mounts are also of brass with a crosshatched design at center. Both rings are present and also made of brass. The brass drag is decorated with arms and a scrollwork border.

Between the first and second mounts of the scabbard is an engraved brass plaque that reads “PRESENTED TO / CAPT. JOHN L. THOMPSON /TROOP 1, 1ST N.H. CAVALRY / BY HIS BROTHER OFFICERS / DEC. 3 1861”Engraving is light but readable with scroll decorations at borders.

John Leverett Thompson was born February 2, 1835 at Plymouth, New Hampshire. He attended Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School being admitted to the bar in 1858. He studied abroad in Berlin, Munich and Paris returning to the United States in 1860 and settled in Chicago.

When the Civil War broke out Thompson enlisted as a Private in Battery A, 1st Illinois Artillery. Thompson served three months with the battery until ill health caused him to leave the battery. He returned to Worcester to recover his health and as soon as it was restored he was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant of a cavalry battalion made up of one New Hampshire battalion and two Rhode Island battalions called the First New England Regiment. Later the name was changed to the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry. The regiment was commanded by Colonel Robert B. Lawton and then Alfred N. Duffie. Lieutenant John L. Thompson served as Captain of Company K before being promoted to Major on July 3, 1862 and Lieutenant Colonel on July 11, 1862 when assumed command of the regiment.

The 1st Rhode Island took part in the fighting at Second Bull Run, Port Royal, Cedar Mountain, Chantilly, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and under Sheridan at Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek.

During the fight at Middleburg during the Gettysburg Campaign, the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry was hit by a large force of combined cavalry, infantry and artillery and the whole command was captured or cut to pieces. Thompson along with 18 men cut his way out of the trap and reached Union lines. On March 24, 1864 Thompson, now a Colonel, resigned to take command of the 1st New Hampshire Cavalry serving with the 3rd Division of the Cavalry Corps.

With the New Hampshire regiment Thompson saw action around Petersburg before moving into the Shenandoah with Sheridan. At Tom’s Brook a timely charge by the New Hampshire troops caused Custer to send an orderly to Thompson telling him “General Custer sends his compliments, and says you, with your regiment have saved the battle.”

At the battle of Waynesboro in March of 1865 the 1st New Hampshire was the first to enter the Confederate breastworks. General Sheridan honored the small regiment with the duty of escorting 1800 Confederate prisoners a distance of one hundred miles back to Winchester. Colonel Thompson requested his old regiment, the 1st Rhode Island to join the New Hampshire troopers and with a total of 800 men he escorted the Confederate prisoners back to Winchester fighting Tom Rosser’s cavalry along the way and capturing 25 more men from him.

On March 13, 1865 Thompson was promoted to Brigadier General by brevet for distinguished and meritorious service. He was mustered out of the Army on July 15, 1865. Thompson was offered a commission in the Regular Army but he declined.

Thompson returned to Chicago and began to practice law. From 1876 to 1878 he served the city as Alderman. He was also a member of the Union League Club, The Military Order of the Loyal Legion and numerous other veterans’ organizations.

John. L. Thompson died at his home in Chicago on the morning of January 31, 1888 after a stroke. He was buried in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois.

The sword comes with all military records as well has numerous pages of other information relating to the regiments Thompson served in.

This handsome sword once owned by a distinguished and honorable officer would certainly enhance any Civil War cavalry or edged weapon collection.   [ad]

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