GETTYSBURG FOUND ARTILLERY SHORT SWORD

$1,850.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1000-735

The 1832 artillery short sword was initially issued also to infantry sergeants and musicians, but was eventually relegated to heavy artillery. No such units served at Gettysburg, but over the years a few of these short swords have turned up here. The explanation may lie in their usefulness in clearing brush for northern or southern light artillerymen. Newly promoted 2nd Lieutenant James Gildea of Battery L 1st Ohio Light Artillery recalled that in placing his section near Little Round Top, “I found the ground covered with scrub and brush which I directed them men to cut down so as to give a clear view to the front.” He does not specify the tools used, but an artillery short sword would have made a perfect machete and it was a problem to be anticipated by any light artillery officer, who might not have cared how his men acquired them as long as he did not have to carry them on the company books.

This one was found, “shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg along Seminary Ridge, about half a mile or so south of the Seminary” (a find location suggesting a southern origin) by Peter Geiser, a mechanic living in Waynesboro at the time of the battle. This is accompanied by a notarized letter from the well-known collector who acquired it in 1989 after Geiser’s grandson brought it into the Gettysburg Civil War Show.

The sword is the standard configuration with brass hilt with untouched patina bearing a feathered grip and eagle on either side of the pommel and a double-edged blade with a slight wasp waist and two fullers near the hilt and a single central fuller extending from them, toward the tip. The blade is gray with some brown and overall shallow pitting, but with a good edge and point, and legible markings:

“United States / 1841 / WS” and “[eagle] / N.P. Ames / Springfield,” on either side of blade near the guard, and “M.P.L.,” “ORD,” and “WS” on the hilt.

We are offering separately a percussion-conversion 1819 North pistol picked up at the same time by Mr. Geiser’s grandfather, also with a notarized letter. Please see our other listings.  [sr] [ph:L]

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