RARE REGULATION US ISSUE LANCE FOR THE 6th PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY: RUSH’S LANCERS

$3,500.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1060-01

Very few units, north or south, were equipped with lances. The 6th Pennsylvania cavalry was one of the few to draw them and even take them into the field. This is an excellent example of the specific lance issued to this unit. Measures approx. 9' 6" in overall length. The spear head is the one specific to this pattern: a deeply fluted triangular iron blade meas. approx. 8.5" mounted in a brass socket with a swollen ring at the top to prevent the point from penetrating too far into its unfortunate target. The socket is secure to the wood shaft by two screws and is correctly stamped with a “US” and “P” inspector’s mark.

Extending down the shaft from underneath the brass socket are two narrow iron straps screwed into the shaft and intended to prevent it being cut by an enemy saber. On one side the strap is mounted with iron eyes that secured a red swallow-tailed pennant. At the other extreme, the long brass buttcap remains in place, also secured with a screw and bearing a U.S. stamp. The wood shaft is full length and in very good condition, not warped, and bearing only minor age and use chips and some tight longitudinal, tight age cracks. Rarest of all, on a rare piece to begin with, is the remains of the narrow leather shoulder/wrist strap coiled around the shaft. It is likely fragile and we have not tried to uncoil it to measure it, but few surviving lances retain even a sign of it. Winslow Homer’s famous sketch of the unit scouting in advance of Franklin’s attack on South Mountain in 1862 shows several of the waiting troopers at ease, with the lance carried behind the shoulder by the strap or the strap hanging down along the shaft.

The unit saw active service in the Army of the Potomac and Army of the Shenandoah from October 1861 to July 1865. It saw its first action during the Peninsular Campaign and lost 7 officers and 71 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded during its service. The took part in many picketing, scouting and reconnaissance tasks under fire and was also in more pitched battles such as Gaines Mill, Beverly Ford, Gettysburg, Brandy Station, Todd’s Tavern, Trevilian Station, Opequan, Sheridan’s Lynchburg Raid, and Five Forks as well. CivilWarData lists some 60 points at which they were engaged with loss of some sort. The unit retained the lance until May 1863 when the weapon was turned in and carbines uniformly issued.

This is a rare Civil War weapon with a known history of issue to and use by a specific cavalry regiment that is also well documented in period artist drawings and photographs.  [sr]

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