HIGH GRADE PRESENTATION US M1850 STAFF AND FIELD OFFICER’S SWORD OF WILLIAM CHANDLER CASEY, 7th NGSNY: GOLD WASHED DAMASCUS BLADE, STRONG ETCHING, HILT AND SCABBARD MOUNTS WITH TRACES OF GILT

$4,000.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 870-652

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This is a very strong example of a US M1850 Staff and Field Officer’s Sword with a regulation guard featuring a floating U.S. with openwork floral motifs and a deeply cast and chased pommel with high relief C-scrolls and beaded bands, both with strong remnants of original gilt finish, and very good dark gray sharkskin wrap with twisted brass wire binding in place.

The blade has its red pad in place on the underside of the guard and is in the bright with good edge and point. The reverse is stamped at bottom with a standing knight and “W. Clauberg / Solingen” German blade maker’s mark. Both sides of the blade have a gold wash on the lower portion with bright etched designs featuring on the reverse a stand of arms with a U.S. shield, drum, weapons, and two tall flags with spearpoints and cords flanking a pennant on spearpoint staff, while overhead a very dynamic eagle, clutching an olive branch and thunderbolt arrows, has a long E Pluribus Unum ribbon flowing upward between its tall, raised wings, while above that a tangle of interwoven floral scrolls closes out the gold wash panel that terminate with leafy ends. The obverse starts with a similar, shorter, stand or trophy of arms and then two similar tangles of interwoven scrolls frame the bright etched motto, “For the Union” with flourishes along the top and bottom. Above the gold washed panels on both sides, the blade then displays open, water pattern Damascus decoration with the blade showing metal and a subdued silver gray.

The scabbard is equally nice. The scabbard body is black leather with deeply incised border lines. The brass throat, middle mount and drag are in place, plain on the reverse, and cast and chased on the obverse with flower and rounded arch motifs. The ground seems to have been darkened to accentuate to the raised motifs. There is a fair amount of gilt left, more on the reverse than the obverse from handling. The leather is solid, with just minor scuffs and handling marks, and one old crease just above the middle mount.

The reverse of the upper mount is professionally engraved with the recipient’s name in Old English and the rest in block letters: “Lieut. W. C. Casey / H Co. 7th REGt. N.G.S.N.Y. / FROM / RECRUIT CLASS /FEBRUARY / 1872.” Born in Middletown, CT, in 1838, Casey had enlisted in Co. H (8th Company) of the 7th NY State Militia in 1861 (redesignated during the war as the National Guard of the State of New York) and served with it during their 1862 and 1863 tours of active duty at Baltimore and Frederick, MD. He was elected First Sergeant in 1863; 2nd Lieutenant in 1864; and 1st Lieutenant in 1868. His special ability seems to have been with recruits, enlisting volunteers and keeping them enrolled, essential to the continuation of militia organizations, many of which in New York became defunct in immediate postwar years. This led to invitation from Company I to become its Captain in April 1873, which led to a complete renaissance of the organization, during which he would have carried this sword: “Under his administration that Company rapidly increased in numerical strength and improved in drill and discipline until it was as perfect and complete in every particular as is possible in the volunteer military service, and had obtained a reputation second to none in the country.” (The First Hundred Years of Company I.) Casey retired in 1886. He had been a clerk in New York before the Civil War, and eventually opened a successful storage business. “In person he was tall, erect and graceful, with a handsome and intelligent face and easy and captivating manners. He was a delightful companion, a steadfast friend and an accomplished gentleman; and as an able, devoted and successful officer he must always rank among the most distinguished of the 7th Regiment.” Casey died in 1905 and was interred in Connecticut. We show him in a group of Company I men and a formal portrait as Captain soon after receiving this sword. (The dates on that photo refer to his term as commander of Co. I.)

This is an impressive sword presented to a remarkably well-regarded officer of a famous, elite, militia regiment.  [sr] [ph:L]

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