FIRST YEAR AMES US MODEL 1850 STAFF AND FIELD OFFICER’S SWORD, INSCRIBED, DATED, AND INSPECTED

$13,500.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 870-640

This rare sword is pictured on page 272 of Thillmann’s U.S. Army Swords. Not only is it from the first year of production by Ames, it is the scarce “Type-1” with shorter grip and heavier blade than later versions of the pattern, it is also one of just 150 of this pattern contracted for they U.S. government in April 1850 and appropriately dated and inspected for 1851, when manufacture actually started. It is also beautifully inscribed inside the guard to a U.S. regular army officer with long service and brevets to brigadier and major-general who was perfectly positioned to purchase it when first authorized.

Civil War period regulation U.S. Army swords don’t get more “regulation” than those contracted for by the government and inspected and accepted by ordnance officers. Ames delivered the 150 swords in three batches, in October and November 1851 and January 1852, all of which likely had blade dates of 1851, and these were the last of them until a second contract in 1861. With a small number produced and a long period of service, their survival rate is very, very low. This one is crisply dated 1851 on the reverse ricasso, and shows a crisp US over an A.D.K. inspector stamp on the obverse (which is matched on the pommel cap and scabbard drag.)

The has wonderful gilt remaining on the deeply cast and chased brass. The pommel cap is missing the small gilt brass cover piece that was characteristic of these early type-1 swords, but does show the A.D.K. and J.W.R. inspection stamps. The sharkskin grip has very pleasing deep gray color with good surface and full wire binding in place. Rest of the hilt retains its bright gilt finish as well.

The blade has good bright frosting and very visible etching. The obverse features the company address, “Ames Mfg. Co. / Chicopee / Mass.” in a circle just above the ricasso. Above that a panoply of arms is entwined with floral scrolls that lead up to a second stand of arms with a banner and spearpoints also entwined. An Ames-style U.S. eagle is positioned over that, with a foliate banner reading E Pluribus Unum. Floral scrolls then finish the frosted panel, which terminates in starburst points. The reverse is etched at bottom with latticework, just a tad light, with arcing bands above that and vine entwined panoplies of arms with floral scroll extensions top and bottom, with the correct, early, block style U.S. at center, and with the frosting ending in the same sunburst or straight flame points. Needless to say, the edge and point are fine.

The scabbard is the regulation pattern with a robust steel body, since staff and field officers would serve mounted, and brass mounts. The scabbard body is a dark purplish brown and is solid, but shows a crusty surface with overall pitting. Fortunately, however, it protected the blade. The brass mounts have a nice untouched patina. The throat is steel rather than brass and the upper brass mount does not have a maker stamp. The brass drag, however, has an A.D.K. inspector stamp tying it in with the pommel and blade.

The inside of the guard is deeply and beautifully inscribed, “W.A. NICHOLS, / U.S. Army.” in a curve following the contour of the guard. Nichols, (1818-1869) was from Pennsylvania and graduated West Point 19th in the class of 1838. He was appointed 2nd Lt. in the 2nd Artillery in July 1838 and 1st Lt. June 1844, with postings in New York, Michigan, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Virginia. He fought in the Mexican War, earning two brevets. He was regimental adjutant August 1846 to December 1847, but served also as ADC to General Quitman in 1846, and as Acting Asst. Adj. Gen. to General Garland. He was as the siege of Vera Cruz and battles of Cerro Gordo, Amazoque, San Antonio, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, Chapultepec, and the assault and capture of Mexico City. He received a brevet to captain in September 1846 for “gallant conduct in the several conflicts at Monterey, Mexico,” and to major September 1847, for “gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Molino del Rey. In 1848 he returned to duty as adjutant in the 2nd Artillery and also as acting assistant adjutant general in the 4th Military Department.

Nichols was assigned to the adjutant general’s department with an appointment as captain and Assistant Adjutant-General in 1852 with posting in Washington from 1852 to 1853, which corresponds not just with the adoption of this pattern, but the first deliveries on the contract. Nichols was subsequently assigned to New Mexico and in late 1860 to Texas, where he was captured and paroled in April 1861. He returned to service in Washington and was promoted major and then lieutenant colonel in 1861, and colonel 1864. He received brevets to brigadier general in 1864 and to major general in 1865 for “meritorious and faithful services during the Rebellion.” After the war he served as chief of staff to Sherman from 1866-1869, and briefly to Sheridan before his death in 1869.

As Thillmann remarked: “These 1851-dated Staff & Field swords have gone through significant attrition and because of the small number originally made are therefore just not available in museum or private collections.” This is a very scarce sword with a history use by an officer with a long career in the regular army and is worthy of a prominent place in any collection.  [sr]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THIS ITEM, AS WITH ALL OTHER ITEMS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEB SITE,

MAY BE PURCHASED THROUGH OUR LAYAWAY PROGRAM.

FOR OUR POLICIES AND TERMS,

CLICK ON ‘CONTACT US’ AT THE TOP OF ANY PAGE ON THE SITE,

THEN ON ‘LAYAWAY POLICY’.

THANK YOU!

Inquire About FIRST YEAR AMES US MODEL 1850 STAFF AND FIELD OFFICER’S SWORD, INSCRIBED, DATED, AND INSPECTED

should be empty

featured item

RARE CONFEDERATE MANUFACTURED 12 POUNDER IRON HOWITZER TUBE MADE BY TREDEGAR IRON WORKS IN RICHMOND, DATED 1862!

This foundry was named for the famous iron works at Tredegar, Wales; the Tredegar Iron Works opened in 1837 and was active in the foundry trade for many years in Richmond until 1952. In 1841 Joseph Anderson became involved with the Tredegar foundry… (455-09). Learn More »

Upcoming Events

24
Oct