RARE FEDERALLY INSPECTED ID’D MODEL 1852 NAVAL OFFICER’S SWORD DATED 1852, MADE BY AMES

$2,250.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: E2889

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The blade is semi-bright with light to moderate scattered mottling and light scattered pitting. Blade meas. approx. 25.75 inches long. It has 17.25 inch stopped central fuller and a 12.00 inch long narrow fuller. The edge has a few small nicks.

The markings on the ricasso are what make this sword a rarity. Martially inspected officer’s swords are not common. The obverse ricasso is marked with the date “1852” while the reverse is marked “P” over “R.B.H.”  The etching is present but faint. The obverse includes a spread-winged eagle in a sunburst followed by a fouled anchor, a riband with “USN” and a rope tied in a square knot followed by foliate. The reverse has an eagle head followed by an anchor and shield, panoply of flags and foliate. Etched on the obverse just above the ricasso is “AMES MFG.  CO. CHICOPEE, MASS.” Leather washer at the base of the blade is intact.

The grip has the usual sharkskin covering with twisted wire wrap. The pommel cap is the usual Phrygian helmet design with oak leaf border with a top consisting of a spread-winged eagle surrounded by 13 stars. The knuckle bow starts at the pommel cap and sweeps around toward the base of the grip and widens into a counterguard on each side of the grip ending in a quillon. The knuckle bow is decorated on each end with a sea serpent while the guard has the usual oak leaf design with the letters “USN” worked into it. Gilt on the hilt has darkened and some has rubbed off.

Partial leather scabbard with brass throat and mounts. Throat and mounts are worn to match the hilt. Only approx. 20.00 inches of the leather body remains. Leather surface is crazed and there is some minor surface finish loss. The drag is gone. Both mounts have a stamped brass rope tied in a square knot leading to the rings, both of which are present. Reverse of throat is marked in three lines “AMES MFG. CO. / CHICOPEE/ MAS.” Throat has a nice delicate engraving that reads “LT. COMDR HENRY W. MILLER U. S. NAVY.”

Henry William Miller was born in Morristown, New Jersey on May 8, 1836. He was the son of US Senator Jacob Welsh Miller of New Jersey.

A biography of Miller taken from “OLD NAVAL DAYS; SKETCHES FROM THE LIFE OF REAR ADMIRAL WILLIAM RADFORD” says “Henry entered the Naval Academy in 1852. After graduating he served in China on board the famous old frigate “USS MINNESOTA.”

In November, 1859, he was ordered to the “USS MOHICAN” then fitting out for the South African Squadron. The “MOHICAN” captured the last slave ship, “ERIE,” ever taken, with nine hundred Negroes on board. The “ERIE” was sent to New York, and the captain hanged in the courtyard of the Tombs for piracy.

The “MOHICAN” on her return to this country joined the South Atlantic Squadron. Miller commanded a division in the battle of Port Royal, participated in the capture of Brunswick, Ga., and Fernandina, Fla., served with Goldsborough in the Gulf, and with Nichols on the James River. He resigned in 1866. One has written of him: ' The superior grain and fine qualities of the man made themselves felt in civil life and he became a prominent and leading citizen of Morristown, where, at the old homestead in which he was born and lived, he was wont to gather about him many of the " oldsters " who ever delighted in his true hospitality. The uplifting influence of his Christian character can scarcely be overestimated; it permeated the ships in which he served, and the locality where he lived.”

For his services during the war and for his part in rescuing the crew of the “PEERLESS” off South Carolina in a storm, Commander Gordon of the “MOHICAN” presented Miller the ship’s battle flag for “duty well performed.”

After leaving the Navy Miller returned to his home in Morristown where he became president of the Morristown Savings Bank and Morristown Safe Deposit Company. He also served as the town’s mayor from 1880 to 1882.

When he died in 1904 his casket was draped with the flag from the “MOHICAN” that had been presented to him forty-two years before. Two of his pallbearers were Admiral Frederick Rodgers and the son of the famous Union Admiral David G. Farragut, Loyall Faraggut.

Henry W. Miller is buried in St. Peters Episcopal Church Yard in Morristown, New Jersey.

A file of research accompanies the item.    [AD]

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