PRESENTATION AMES M1850 FOOT OFFICER’S SWORD WITH SCARCE ENGRAVED GILT BRASS FACTORY SCABBARD - CAPT. N. H. KEMP, 6TH & 1ST MASSACHUSETTS MILITIA

$3,750.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 870-645

Shipping: Determined by Method & Location of buyer

To Order:
Call 717-334-0347,
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This Model 1850 foot officer’s is nicely etched by Ames on the blade ricasso and also stamped by the company on the reverse of the gilt brass scabbard near the throat showing the scabbard was not added or replaced by a retailer. The sword is the regulation 1850 pattern for foot officers with brass hilt having open work floral motifs in the guard and the grip wrapped with gray rayskin and bound with twisted brass wire. The company address is etched in block letters on the reverse ricasso: “Ames Mfg. Co. / Chicopee / Mass.” This is followed by floral scrolls, a block US, and a stand of arms (crossed cannon, crossed pikes with banners, etc., that is entwined with a leafy vine that extends upward to purely floral motifs ending the panel. The obverse starts with a stand of arms at the ricasso with floral scrolls leading up to a second stand or trophy of arms that it entwines. Over that is a US eagle with spread wings and E PLURIBUS UNUM etched in a foliate scroll that extends into loose floral scrolls ending the panel. The panels on both side end with flamboyant terminals imitating both flames and the upper leaves of the floral elements just below them.

The sword is a scarce Ames product not only in having a metal scabbard, instead of the regulation leather, but one of gilt brass. It is complete with throat, two ring bands, and drag. The  ring bands are cast and chased with nested flowers, and the drag has a deeply incised border along its blade. The scabbard has been further ornamented by by engraved, short floral scrolls extending up and downwards on either side of ring bands. Below the lower ring band is also engraved a trophy of arms including a drum, US shield, crossed stars and stripes flags, with a Liberty Cap on a pole rising at center, all with a sunburst glory overhead. From the bottom of that extends short floral scroll that is picked up in another panel extending down into the drag, which has a deeply engraved border on the blade. This is an impressive scabbard.

Professionally engraved in a combination of script and block letters between the ring bands is the presentation: “Pre­­sented to / Capt. N.H. Kemp / by the / members of Co. A 1st Regt. M.V.M / April 5th 1869.” Kemp was born in 1846 and was living in West Roxbury when he enlisted at age 18 as a private in Co. H of the 6th Mass. Militia Infantry at Boston on 14 July 1864 and mustered in on July 17 at Readville. He was a dry-goods clerk by profession and described as standing 5’8” with light hair and eyes and a dark complexion. This regiment was federalized several times during the war. This time it as a 100-day unit. They left the state July 20, arrived in Washington July 22, and were assigned to garrison duty at Fort. C.F. Smith on Arlington Heights in the defenses of Washington until August 21. They were then transferred to Fort Delaware to relieve the 157th Ohio as prison camp guards until October 19, when they returned to Massachusetts to muster out October 27. They lost ten men to sickness or disease. Kemp may have come close to joining them: an October 16 muster roll lists him as sick in the Columbian Hospital at Washington. He was officially mustered out with the regiment on October 27.

Whether he remained in that regiment after being discharged from Federal service is unclear, but he seems to have remained in the militia, being commissioned a 1st Lieutenant in November 1867 and Captain of Co. A 1st Regiment Massachusetts Militia on 16 December 1868. (Records are a little unclear since he seems also to have been 1st Lieutenant and then Captain of the “Boys in Blue,” a quasi-military organization of veterans supporting the 1868 presidential ticket of Grant and Colfax.) In any case, newspapers pick him up as Captain of Company A First Regiment Mass Militia, undoubtedly wearing this sword, during the welcoming ceremonies for President Grant in Boston in June 1869.

Kemp was reelected Captain of the company in 1872 and served until December 1875 when he moved to Maine and was discharged. He was active there in the GAR and held a number of civic offices while running a sardine packing company in Eastport, where he died in September 1896.

Kemp’s sword remains in excellent condition, with bright blade showing just a few dark spots and fully visible blade etching. There are significant remnants of gilt finish in recessed areas of the hilt and a good deal on the scabbard which shows scattered age spotting but no dents or dings and both scabbard and hilt have nicely patinaed brass in areas where the gilt was rubbed by handling over the years. significant gilt left on the hilt and lots of gilt on the scabbard with nicely patinaed brass where the gilt has been rubbed by handling over the years. The blade pad is still in place on the underside of the guard. The wire and grip wrap are complete. The grip shows narrow, lengthwise shrinkage gap on the underside that seems common among Ames swords.

This was formerly in the collection of Kevin Hoffman, who had great taste, and would make a very good addition to a collection of Ames swords in particular.    [sr] [ph:L]

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