MILITIA OFFICER’S SWORD PRESENTED TO ORD. SGT. WILLIAM DALEY, 3RD MASSACHUSETTS BATTALION RIFLES; 25TH MASSACHUSETTS; MORTALLY WOUNDED AT COLD HARBOR, VA

$6,500.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 870-206

Manufactured: Chicopee, Mass

Maker: Ames Mfg. Co.

Year: 1861

Model: High grade Militia

Size: 31 inch blade length, 1 inch wide

High grade Ames Militia Officer's sword with mother of pearl grip wound with single strand brass wire. A fancy "knights head" pommel sits atop the sword. The cross guard is finely designed and cast with embellishment. The chain is missing. The oval cross-section blade is double edged with a small center fuller running 11.5 inches. The etched blade on the frost background is acorns & oak leaves a stand of American flags with a Liberty cap and the reverse has similar foliate with a stand of arms, an American eagle with E. P. U. and sun rays.

The gilt brass scabbard has double top rings and a single middle ring. The drag is a simple modified shoe style. It is engraved: “Fort McHenry Md July 25, 1861 / Presented to Wm. Daley / Orderly sergeant Co. C 3rd Battn Rifles M.V.M. / By the members of the company”.

Born in Ireland, William Daley was a 27 year old Moulder who enlisted on 4/19/61 as a 1st Sergeant. On 5/19/61 he mustered into Co. C, 3rd Massachusetts Rifles. He mustered out on 8/3/61 at Worcester, MA. On 10/17/61 he was commissioned into Co. E, 25th Massachusetts Infantry as a 1st Lieut. Promoted to Captain (declined commission). Wounded at Cold Harbor on 6/3/64; he died of his wounds on 6/23/64 at Washington, DC.

The amazing tale of Daley’s mortal wounding can be found in the pages of Volume 1 of Deeds of Valor, which contains the history of those who were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Civil War.

Following a costly Union charge at Cold Harbor, a Confederate officer wrote, it was believed that a second charge was in the works. He continued that shortly thereafter he saw but one regiment with a single officer with a drawn sword, they being the 270 men of the 25th Massachusetts, the only regiment that obeyed the order to return to the field. After most of the men had fallen back behind the Union lines, Lt. Daley was severely wounded, falling to the ground 15 yards in front of the line. Halfway between was a rifle pit where Corp. Orlando P. Boss and two others had taken position. Boss crawled out towards Lt. Daley and threw his canteen to him. Returning to the rifle pit he found one of the privates there had been wounded. Boss carried him to the rear while under fire.

Boss then became determined to rescue Lt. Daley as well. After being given permission by General Stannard to do so, Boss and a private ventured out, again under heavy fire, and reached the rifle pit. From there, they dug a trench with spoons, the only tool they had available; after 4 hours of arduous labor, they reached Daley and carried him to the rifle pit. They then again started to dig, this time back towards the Union line, and met up with those digging outwards towards them. In spite of their labors, Daley succumbed to his wounds later that month.

Hospital records indicate that Daley had a fracture of the left humerus and had a gunshot wound through the hips. His body was returned to Massachusetts; he is buried in St. John’s Cemetery in Worcester.

Daley’s military records as well as copies of the pages from Deeds of Valor accompany the sword.

A sword with a fascinating history that would be an excellent addition to any Civil War collection!  [ld]

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