This model was the standard issue cavalry trooper’s sword until the lighter M1860 was
introduced, but continued in use throughout the Civil War by both sides. Affectionately
known as “Old Wristbreaker” by the troops due to its size and weight, it was basically a US
version of the French M1822 light cavalry sabre. During most of the 19th C the French set
the styles for swords, which were copied by most of Europe and the United States. The
US M1840 was made by many firms and many were imported or used imported blades.
This example made by the famous US firm of Horstmann Bros. & Co. During the Civil
War they sold 13,440 M1840 cavalry sabres to the US government. They purchased
5,000 blades from Emerson & Silver in 1862, which were marked with the “keystone” mark
on the ricasso (for their Keystone tool works in Trenton, NJ). This example one of those
with the Emerson & Silver blade and marked with the keystone stamp on one side and
“HORSTMANN/PHILA” on the other. Standard one-piece brass guard with knuckle bow
and conjoined two-branch side bars joining the brass capstan pommel. Original leather-
wrapped wood grip with twisted brass wire is near excellent with just a small chip in the
outer surface on one side. Smooth and bright 35 3/4″ curved single-edged blade with
double fullers; excellent with just a few tiny edge nicks. Leather blade washer. Steel
scabbard with twin carrying rings (light rust marking and some corrosion on the drag).
Overall a very nice example of this iconic Civil War cavalry sabre.