SERVICE IN FOUR MAINE REGIMENTS: 5th, 12th, 25th, and 30th: PRESENTATION M1850 STAFF AND FIELD SWORD WITH THE OFFICER’S CARVED CANE

$3,750.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 2022-732

This is a great looking group consisting of a beautiful officer’s inscribed presentation M1850 staff and field officer’s sword along with his carved wood cane. The presentation dates to his service at Savannah and the cane likely dates from that point as well, being carved with a long alligator creeping up the shaft.

The sword is in excellent condition, with the hilt showing lots of original gilt finish, a silver, facetted grip, eagle-head quillon, bright blade, scabbard showing blue on the body and gilt on the engraved mounts, and still retains its gold bullion officer’s sword knot. The blade shows the rabbit head and F.P. initials of Ferdinand Poeter (formerly thought to be the blade mark of Frederich Potter or F. Plucher.) Poeter is known to have worked for Clauberg in Solingen in 1847 and registered the rabbit head as his mark. The end date for his business is not known, but his mark appears on several types of Civil War sword. Thillmann illustrates only one 1850 foot officer’s sword to show his work. This one is far, far nicer, though of course, whether the entire sword was his work or his blade was mounted by a very talented military goods dealer is another question.

The gilt brass hilt is deeply cast and chased with the standard floral motifs on the pommel cap and in the openwork guard, which features the floating U.S. characterizing the staff and field officer’s sword. The tall quillon is cast and chased in the form of an eagle head. The inner guard is decorated with leaves on a stippled ground. The grip is silver in a simulated coil pattern with three gilt wires running in the grooves. The thin red blade pad is in place. The blade is bright, with a few light rubs to the edge near the ricasso, and vivid etching using pointed Arabesque frosted panels on either side, one with an American eagle and the other with a U.S. in Old English.

The scabbard body is smooth and retains all of its beautiful plum finish. The brass mounts include a ring mount, drag, and a separate throat, all with scalloped edges, deeply cast and chased, retaining lots of gilt finish setting off the stippled interiors of geometric and floral motifs, including diamonds, palmette, and leafy borders.

The presentation is in script, lengthwise between the ring mounts: “Presented to / Lieut. J.T. Doughty / by members of Co. I 12th Me. Vols.” Doughty’s middle initial seems to have actually been “W,” but there is no doubt about the identification. He was born 24 January 1831, died 24 February 1908, and was buried at Windham, Maine, where had been a shoe maker before the war had enlisted and received a commission as 1st lieutenant of Company I of the 12th Maine on 4/10/65, mustering out 4/18/66. He was likely aided in getting his commission by at least three previous stints in the army.

Doughty first saw service as a musician in the 5th Maine, enlisting 24 June 1861, assigned first to Co. A and then to the regimental band. He served more than a year, mustering out 7 August 1862 when the government did away with bands below the brigade level. Less than two months later he signed up again, mustering in as a private in Co. C of the 25th Maine on 29 September 1862. In that regiment he then transferred from Co. C into the brigade band in January 1863, and mustered out 10 July 1863. He enlisted a third time on 4 February 1864 as private in Co. C, 30th Maine, serving just over year, mustering out 10 March 1865. In this case, he was discharged “by order,” which likely means he specifically discharged to accept his commission in the 12th, which was officially dated to April, but likely indicates he was on duty earlier. His previous service had given him experience on campaign and on the battlefield. He was in the 5th while they fought at First Bull Run and in the Peninsula Campaign. The 25th was mostly in Washington, but the 30th was under fire in the deep south in Louisiana and at Petersburg.

The 12th Maine had been organized in late 1861 for Butler’s expedition against New Orleans and saw service in the deep south, including Port Hudson, and then in Virginia at Bermuda Hundred and in the Shenandoah, fighting at Cedar Creek and Winchester. In December 1864 they were reduced to a battalion of four companies by discharge of men whose terms had expired and assigned to duty in Savannah. It was there brought back up to regimental strength by the addition of several independent companies recruited in Maine in February and March and assigned to the 12th as Companies E through K. Doughty may have helped organize one of these companies, but the closeness in time between his discharge from the 30th and commission in the 12th suggests he may have been assigned to them.

The cane is a perfect accompaniment to the sword. There is no way to date it precisely, but it is something he might well have carried when off duty and would later have been a nice memento of service as well. The alligator would certainly have provoked some conversation in Maine about exotic climes after he returned home from the army.  [sr] [ph:L]

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