SWORD OF CAPTAIN MAYO-DYER, HERO OF MOBILE BAY

$3,600.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 88-167

The following historic sword was lent to the Melrose Museum in Melrose Mass. which was formerly Grant Post #4 by Mayo Dyer Hersey (August 30, 1886 – September 5, 1978) an American engineer, physicist working for several government agencies, and Professor at Brown University. He received the 1957 ASME medal, and the first Mayo D. Hersey award (1965) of Washington DC. The grouping includes the Civil War service sword of Captain Nehemiah Mayo-Dyer and his Civil war sword belt.

THE MAN: Captain Nehimiah Mayo-Dyer (b.1836 d.1910): At the age of fourteen began the life of a sailor, and from that time on for six years was in the merchant service. During the winter of 1860-61 he joined the Fourth (Massachusetts) Battalion of Rifles garrisoning Fort Independence from May to July 29, 1861, the battalion in the meantime having been recruited to a full regiment, and mustered into the United States service, July 16, 1861, for three years, and designated as the Thirteenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. Mr. Dyer was a member of Company A of that regiment, and a credit to Melrose, Mass., which town he had for several years made his home. In April 1862, Mr. Dyer was discharged by special order of the War Department, to accept an appointment as acting master's mate in the navy, and on May 2, 1862, he reported at the Charlestown navy-yard for instruction in gunnery. Ordered to the "R. R. Cuyler" on July 7, 1862, he served in the East and West Gulf Squadrons; and on the night of May 17, 1863, with a boat's crew from that ship, burned the rebel schooner "Isabel," while aground under the walls of Fort Morgan, bringing off her crew and papers. For this he was promoted by Admiral Farragut to Acting Ensign, and appointed to command the "Eugenie," renamed the "Glasgow," engaged in blockade and dispatch duty. Promoted on January 12, 1864, for further faithful and meritorious service to Acting Master. In July he was assigned to the "Metacomet," and took part in August in the passage of the Mobile forts and capture of the rebel fleet, receiving in person the surrender of the " CSS Selma." In October he was ordered to the "Hartford," the flagship of Admiral Farragut. In the winter of 1864 and 1865, as commander of the "Rodolph," he co-operated with the forces under General Grasyer. The "Rodolph" was sunk by a torpedo on April 1, 1865, and on the 22d he was promoted to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant, and, after the surrender of the rebel fleet in the Tombigbee River in May, he commanded successively the "Black Diamond," the "Morgan," the "Elk," and the "Stockdale". Mayo-Dyer's record after the Civil War was equally outstanding and he commanded the USS Baltimore at Manilla Bay!

THE SWORD AND BELT:  Mayo-Dyer's sword is a classic Civil War regulation Navy Model 1852 officer's saber. This higher quality example than usually seen came from Emerson & Silver of Trenton NJ. Both the grips and the scabbard are "fish skin" wrapped. The grips originally white are now a dirty gray and the scabbard was certainly a gray black; both show little loss. All the brass components are ornately engraved with nautical, floral and patriotic motifs. The 31-inch blade is deeply acid etched with patriotic and naval symbols (refer to our detailed photographs). Due to shrinkage of both the leather and its fish skin covering the sword when pushed into the scabbard fully sticks; this some lubricant should correct. The original bullion sword knot is attached. The wonderful condition regulation Civil War era leather sword belt has a beautiful interlocking (male-female or tongue in wreath) naval officer's buckle of the finest manufacture. The original 2 leather hangers and brass clips are intact. Glued inside the belt is a neatly penned, but faded, label which is in Mayo Dyer Hersey's hand which reads: "Sword, Scabbard & Belt of Capt. N. Mayo -Dyer, U.S.N. Entrusted to City of Melrose.".

Please find a photo of then master's mate Dyer in 1861; certainly, the sword here offered is on the table. The sword and belt are of the greatest historical importance and worthy of enshrinement in a museum.    [pe] [ph:L]

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