VERY EARLY WAR PRESENTATION FOOT OFFICER’S SWORD BY ENOCH Q. FELLOWS, ADJUTANT 1st NEW HAMPSHIRE

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Item Code: 766-1548

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This Model 1850 Foot Officer’s Sword bears a presentation that must date between April and August 1861. The sword is the regulation pattern for lieutenants and captains serving on foot and follows the standard configuration with a brass hilt featuring a pommel cap with leaf decoration, knucklebow and openwork guard with cast and chased floral motifs. The grip is black leather, oxidized to brown with a twisted brass wire binding. At a few spots midway on the grip the finish has flaked and the wire is moved just slightly, but is not loose. The blade follows the standard pattern: slightly curved and single edged with spearpoint. There is some cross-polishing evident on one side above the ricasso, but the blade is plain, never etched, with smooth metal, good edge and point, and shows as a muted silver gray with darker gray spots. The scabbard is regulation also, with leather body and brass mounts: throat with upper carrying ring, middle band with ring, and drag. The leather shows good color, though with crazing and crackling to the finish and an old repair below the middle mount. The brass mounts have a nice undisturbed, aged patina that matches the hilt. The upper mount is engraved in script on the reverse: “Adjt. E.Q. Fellows / 1st N.H. Regt. / to / A.S. Bradford.”

Fellows was 35 years-old and had spent two and a half years at West Point in the 1840s. He returned to New Hampshire to take a prominent role in the state militia, rising to Brigadier General. He would later serve as Colonel of the 3rd NH and the 9th NH, but in 1861 took an active part in raising the First New Hampshire Regiment in response to Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops for three-months service on April 15 and took a commission in that regiment as a First Lieutenant, mustering into Co. K, but serving as the Regimental Adjutant. The regiment was full by April 30, the date Fellows was officially mustered in, and sent its overflow recruits into the 2nd NH and to the garrison of Fort Constitution. It rendezvoused at Concord, mustered in from May 1 to May 7, and was fully uniformed, armed, and equipped by May 14.

The regiment arrived in Baltimore May 27, marched through the city with Baldwin’s Manchester Cornet Band at its head, and was reviewed by Lincoln from the White House the next day. It was assigned to Stone’s Brigade tasked with preventing Rebels crossing the Potomac into Maryland and on June 10 was sent to Rockville. From there it went to Poolesville, MD, with part of the regiment posted at Conrad’s Ferry, where they traded occasional shots with the enemy across the river. In July it marched to Monocacy, Point of Rocks, Harpers Ferry and then Martinsburg, where it joined Patterson’s Army of the Shenandoah, which moved toward Winchester, but failed to prevent Johnston from reaching Beauregard at Manassas and returned to Harpers Ferry. With its term of service up on August 2, they returned to New Hampshire and were mustered out.

A.S. Bradford is most probably Alonzo S. Bradford, who was mustered into the regiment by Fellows on June 12 at Rockville. Bradford shows up in some rosters as Alonzo S. Brentford and in others as Alonzo B. Bradford, but cross-checking with disbursements made by towns early in the war to support families of volunteers makes clear that he is Alonzo S. Bradford, just as the presentation has it. In 1860 he was 23 years old, a resident of Keene, as he is on the muster in roll, and was a sash and blind maker with a wife and young daughter. He does not seem to have received an officer’s commission, but he was mustered into the regiment somewhat late and by Fellows personally on June 12 at Rockville as a private in Co. G. This makes it look rather like he was tagging along with the regiment in expectation of a commission, which was anticipated by Fellows as well in the gift of the sword, and simply mustered in as a private when that did not come through.

We can’t connect him with Fellows beyond the respect implied by the sword: Fellows seems to have mustered in several others who did not muster initially with the regiment. The regimental history mentions some band members were mustered in as company musicians or privates as vacancies opened, but we have no connection between Bradford, from Keene, and the band, from Manchester. Similarly, we have no indication Bradford and Fellows were in a position to know one another before the war. Some of Fellows’ papers and letters are held by a research institution, but an index does not include mention of Bradford. Our best guess is that Bradford, like Fellows, played a prominent role in recruiting the unit, but did not have enough political or social influence to gain a commission.

After mustering out with the regiment in August, Bradford joined the 6th New Hampshire in November, and seems to have served until the following July, though again only as a private. History was not very kind to him. Published records of the 1st Regiment give his name incorrectly and records of the 6th leave him out entirely. Only county histories and town records of disbursements in support of volunteers’ families make clear his service. We find him moving to California in later life, where he died in 1911. Research may yet fill in the details of this presentation and his story, but the sword is an interesting reminder of the rush to the colors in April 1861 as the nation was threatened.  [sr] [ph:L]

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