TIFFANY PRESENTATION SWORD TO WILLIAM S. MARBLE, 7th CONNECTICUT VOLS, WIA BERMUDA HUNDRED, IN COMMAND OF THE REGT. AT FT. FISHER

$18,000.00

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Item Code: 870-172

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Tiffany & Company is acknowledged as the finest producer of presentation swords in the 1860s and this is good example of their work, showing detailed craftsmanship and refined taste. The deeply cast, chased, and engraved mounts along with the gold washed etching of the blade show a restrained elegance that is ornate but avoids going over the top. The overall configuration is a US 1850 staff and field officer’s sword, but with a silver grip and crouching eagle on the pommel with raised wings and mouth open in a cry. The pommel, knuckleguard and basket follow the regulation pattern with cast and chased floral elements and scrolls. Also per regulation is the openwork guard with integral “U.S.” among the scrolls and flowers, and a short curving quillon carrying forward the scrollwork of the basket. The silver grip is cast in the form of a regulation channeled body with twisted wire binding in the grooves. Both hilt and scabbard mounts have a pleasing, mellow patina.

The silvered scabbard has deeply cast brass mounts whose designs were finished by chasing and hand engraving. The upper and middle mounts each have carrying rings whose bands are deeply cast with leaves. The upper mount has an American eagle at top with raised wings clutching arrows and olive branch, and the engraver has added a sword crossing the U.S. shield on its chest to make clear it is more than just a patriotic emblem. It is set within, and overlaps at top a heraldic belt that forms an oval frame from which it appears to emerge. Floral sprays with rounded leaves fill the lower part of the upper mount and both ends of the middle mount. The drag is deeply cast and fully engraved as well, with a combination of floral and geometric motifs set in an arabesque frame with a deeply cast “U.S.” and the very bottom and engraved cartouches bearing an entwined “U.S.” on one side and a U.S. shield on the other.

The blade is in super condition, in the bright, no edge nicks, a mirror finish, maybe the tiniest gray speck or two near the tip. Both sides have a frosted etched panel with bold central motifs that were given a gilt wash. The obverse bears a long spread-winged eagle crouching, clutching a ribbon that mixes with an extended leafy branch below, framed on either side by extended arabesque flame finials. The reverse uses the same framing for the etching, but with a large “U.S” bordered by a floral circlet on either side in the middle. At bottom above the ricasso is a simple clipped panel etched “Tiffany / & Co. / New York.”

The presentation is beautifully engraved in script on the reverse of the upper mount in a central panel on a stippled background reading:

Presented to / Lieut. Wm. S. Marble / by the veterans of Co. H / 7th C.V.

The 7th Connecticut has an interesting and very active record. CWdata lists some 102 data points where they suffered casualties, which included 11 officers and 157 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded during their service. Their service was varied to say the least. It extended sieges and work in the trenches, such as at Fort Pulaski, James Island, and Morris Island; smaller actions and expeditions; constant skirmishing and outpost duty at Bermuda Hundred in Virginia; and large engagements such as Pocotaglio, the assault on Ft. Wagner, Olustee, Drewry’s Bluff (twice,) Deep Bottom, etc. In fact, for their varied service the regiment trained not only as infantry, but as mortar crews and even for amphibious landings, being drilled as “boat infantry” for a proposed landing at Fort Sumter. They were even rearmed for additional firepower, being equipped as a regiment with Spencer carbines at the end of 1863.

Marble served with the regiment throughout the war. He was a machinist in Bridgeport when he enlisted and mustered into Co. H of the 7th as a sergeant 9/13/61. He was promoted 2nd Lt. 7/1/62 and 1st Lt. 4/11/64, still in Company H, about the time they were transferred to Virginia and assigned to Butler at Bermuda Hundred, where Marble was wounded on 6/6/64. He remained in the regiment, mustering out as lieutenant of Co. H on 10/24/64, receiving a commission as captain of Co. I dated 11/30/64. In January 1865 the regiment was assigned to the attack on Fort Fisher during which command devolved on Marble, who ended up writing the regiment’s official report of the action, and he was with regiment as they pressed toward Wilmington, mustering out with them at Goldsboro, NC, on 7/20/65, after Johnston had surrendered.

This sword is wonderful token of esteem given to Marble by his old comrades in Co. H. It might have been a gift as he left the company to take command of Company I, but could also have been presented earlier, since the men describe themselves as veterans, a title to which the older members were entitled after reenlisting in late 1863. Some three hundred and thirty-three of them were given thirty-day furloughs to Connecticut on January 13, 1864, which would have given the opportunity to select and purchase it.  The sword still retains Marble’s gold bullion sword knot and is a wonderful survivor of an active regiment and example of American craftsmanship.  [sr]

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