US MODEL 1840 GENERAL OFFICER’S SWORD IDENTIFIED TO BRIG. GEN. EPPA HUNTON

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Item Code: 1129-01

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This sword belonged to Confederate Brigadier General Eppa Hunton (1822-1908). He and William Fitzhugh Payne (1830-1904) were related through the marriage of General Hunton's son Eppa Hunton Jr. (1855-1932) to first Minerva "Erva" Winston Payne (1861-1897) and later Virginia Semmes Payne (1867-1941), both daughters of General Payne. Rossbacher notes that the swords were passed down through the family. Both men were prominent Confederate generals from Virginia and saw action during the war.

This sword has an embellished 29 1/4 inch blade with no visible markings, a spread wing eagle and lightning motif on one languet, the post-war inscription "Brig. Genl. Eppa Hunton/Army of Northern Virginia/8th Va. Infantry/C.S.A./1861-1865" on the folding languet, and floral patterns on the hilt and the brass grip. The scabbard is absent.

Eppa Hunton II (1822-1908) of Warrenton, Virginia, was the son of a War of 1812 veteran who also served in the Virginia House of Delegates. His father died while Hunton was still a child, causing his mother to sell the family plantation. He was educated at the New Baltimore Academy and worked as a school teacher before studying law and being admitted to the bar in Virginia. In addition to his law career, he also served as a colonel in the Virginia militia and later as brigadier general. When he was just 30, he owned six slaves, and as the Civil War drew near, he was a vocal secessionist and was a delegate for Prince William County at the Virginia Secession Convention. Following the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, he was commissioned as the colonel of the 8th Virginia Infantry. He led men in many of the war's most notable battles, including Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Petersburg, Cold Harbor, and Five Forks despite health problems that plagued him throughout the war. At Gaines' Mill, he reportedly took command of George Pickett's brigade when Pickett was wounded, and he was promoted to brigadier general in August of 1863 following Gettysburg where he was wounded in the leg during Pickett's Charge. He surrendered at the Battle of Sayler's Creek in April 6, 1865, and was sent to Fort Warren where he took the oath of allegiance on July 24, 1865. His family home was destroyed in 1862 by Union troops, but he returned to his legal career in Warrenton and was also a Democratic representative and senator for Virginia. In his obituary reprinted in the research paper, he was noted as "One of the Last of the Old Guard" and shown holding a sword that resembles this one.

Condition is fair with mild oxidation along the blade with some bright surfaces showing through, an added brass scabbard throat piece covering the base of the blade above the red leather washer, non-functional folding languet button, and mild aged patina on the brass. This is an interesting sword inscribed to commemorate the years Eppa Hunton spent in service to the Confederacy.

Click here to view a file of biographical material on Eppa Hunton. [ph:L]

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