INSCRIBED SWORD OF CAPT. HENRY WARREN, 7th MAINE, KIA SPOTSYLVANIA

$3,950.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1117-116

This 1850 foot officer’s sword is nicely inscribed on the face of the pommel, “Henry Warren / 7” Maine / Regt.” The hilt and blade are regulation, with brass pommel cast and chased with leaves and a rosette at the lower face, and the openwork guard filled with floral scrolls. The grip is bound with twisted brass wire and wrapped with a thin leather, oxidizing toward brown and showing wear spots down to the wood on the right side where the upper part of one’s palm would hold it. Overall the hilt has nice aged patina. The brass shows just a few traces of thin gilt on the inside of the guard.

The sword is housed in its original, non-regulation brass-mounted metal scabbard, which is eminently more practical for field use than the more fragile, regulation leather. The upper part of the scabbard has a smooth plum surface. The lower portion shows plum also, but with some small dents and surface pitting. The brass throat, ring mounts, and drag are all in place and have a medium patina with just some stains on the drag.

The blade has a good edge and point. The metal shows some dark spots and slight pitting for a few inches back from the point, but from above the fuller down to the guard the surface is good and the etching very visible. Both sides are extensively etched with grape vines, leaves and clusters of grapes starting from a set of floral chevrons above the ricasso. The obverse features a tall, vertical U.S. amid some floral scrolls. The reverse shows a broad eagle with wings out, and slightly downturned, holding a banderole in its beak reading E Pluribus Unum, but with the words oriented upside down to the eagle. The ricasso on each side has blank rectangle, likely intended for a retailer’s address. The blade pad is missing. The inscription on the face of pommel is simple, but unambiguous. Henry H. Warren was the son of Asa Warren, a farmer in Bangor, Maine. As a boy he had been employed at the Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, and at the outbreak of the war was a student at Bowdoin College. His name appears in connection with local war meetings and prospective volunteer companies early on, but he was not officially enlisted until 8/21/1861, when mustered into Company H of the 7th Maine, initially as private then sergeant soon after. He was promoted to lieutenant in early 1862 (though possibly with a date of rank to sometime in 1861.)

The regiment left the state 8/23/61 and served in Baltimore and then Washington, in the divisions of Smith and Dix, until the institution of army corps in March, when it was assigned to the 4th until May, and lastly to the 6th Corps, where it remained. It served on the Peninsula, coming under fire at Lee’s Mills, Yorktown, Williamsburg and Mechanicsville, and in the Seven Days at Savage Station, White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill.

It suffered heavily at Antietam, where it was ordered by the brigade commander into a charge that subjected it to fire from three sides, causing a loss of 111 out of 181 officers and men engaged. The regimental commander reported: “The color-sergeant was killed, and all the guard shot but one, who brought off our flag riddled with balls. Fifteen officers and 166 men went into the fight, and our loss was as follows: Enlisted men known to be killed, 12; wounded and brought off, 60; fate still unknown, 16. Lieutenants Brown and Goodwin and Sergeant-Major Parsons, killed; Captains Jones, Cochrane, and Cook and Adjutant Haskell, wounded and missing; Lieutenants Shorey, Benson, and Emery, wounded. But one officer, Lieut. Nickerson, emerged untouched in clothes or person, and but very few men. Capt. Channing and Lieut. Webber each had three bullets through their clothes. The adjutant and myself both had our horses shot under us.” Warren was among the captured. He was imprisoned briefly and was paroled by October, though when he was exchanged is unclear. He seems to have rejoined the regiment in Portland, Maine, where it had been sent to recruit, and he was commissioned captain of Company G in January 1863. A battalion of five companies returned to the army later that month, but Warren was among those still on recruiting duty until after Gettysburg. It was not entirely restful, however: he was among the members of the 7th Maine who joined in the successful pursuit of the captured Revenue Cutter “Caleb Cushing” from Portland harbor in June on board two commandeered vessels.

Disagreements over recruiting duty almost side-lined him from the 1864 campaign. When the regimental commander determined to send another captain home on recruiting duty, he ordered Warren to take command of that officer’s company. Warren was willing to do so on a temporary basis, but asserted that as his commission had been given by the Governor and specified assignment to Company G, he could not be permanently reassigned without his consent. He was court-martialed twice. The first resulted in acquittal, but the second found him guilty of disobedience. A newspaper report says the verdict was set aside by the Secretary of War, but Warren was still under arrest when the campaign began. “He was under no obligation to take an active part in the fight, but like a true and brave man as he was, solicited his sword, that he might serve his country, a favor that was granted. In that battle, and under those circumstances, he gave his life for his country.”

For two weeks, from May 4 through May 18, the regiment was constantly engaged with the enemy at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, with particularly heavy losses at the Wilderness on May 6 and in the attack on Salient on May 12. A letter to the Bangor newspaper listed some 261 casualties up through May 12, including Warren, wounded in the “arm and foot, slight.” Grant, however, ordered one last assault at dawn on May 18 near the old Salient, which he thought had been weakened by Lee in response to his movements. The Sixth Corps retraced its steps and alongside the Second Corps attacked positions that had been strengthened by Ewell and were well defended by infantry and artillery. Federal infantry were kept at a distance by obstacles in front of the earthworks and Confederate artillery tore apart the assault. By CWData’s count the regiment added another 22 to its casualty figures for the campaign. Warren was “killed instantly” in the attack according to his old paper, which eulogized him, saying that from the day of his enlistment, “to the day of his death he has followed the path of duty, never shrinking from any task, however unpleasant, that his conscience approved. Brave to a fault, always faithful, his fills a soldier’s grave, and his friends are left to mourn his early decease.

We show an image of Warren from an online source. We believe the original is in the Maine state archives.    [sr]

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