Civil War Presentation US M1850 Staff & Field Officer’s Sword


1 in stock

SKU: SS1960 Category:


In 1850, the US Army designated two sword models for commissioned infantry officers; the
M1850 Foot Officer’s Sword and the M1850 Staff & Field Officer’s Sword. The foot
officer’s sword was to be for company-level officers of the rank of Captain and below, while
the staff & field sword was for officers of the rank major and above. However, in actual
practice they were interchangeable and ownership apparently had little or nothing to do
with rank. Both model swords followed the same basic design, with the only difference
being that the staff & field sword had a cutout “US” worked into the design of the guard.
This example features gilt cast brass guard of standard form, pierced and decorated with
classical foliate design and “US” on the upper obverse face; integral knuckle bow joining
the capstan pommel. The wood grip is covered with shagreen and wrapped with twisted
brass wire (wire broken and missing a few turns). Slightly curved single-edged 30 3/4″
blade with wide and narrow fullers, profusely etched with foliage, stands of arms, and
maker’s name “W. H./Horstman/& Sons/PHILADELPHIA” just below the guard; “IRON
PROOF” etched on the spine. Brown metal scabbard with gilt brass mounts, the upper
carry band engraved “Presented to/CAPT N. L. HAWLEY/by his Democratic friends/of
Lockport”. While he is not listed in the Civil War Database of soldiers, Norman L. Hawley
was a captain in the Lockport Light Artillery, attached to the 4th Illinois Cavalry. Illinois
records show he mustered in on July 31, 1861. The 4th Illinois Cavalry officially began
service on September 26, 1861 and was consolidated into the 12th Illinois Cavalry
Regiment on June 14, 1865. The regiment saw action at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson,
the Battle of Shiloh, Siege of Corinth, and the battles of Coffeeville and Egypt Station.
Further research would likely reveal more information about Captain Hawley, and a book was
published on the history of the 4th Illinois Cavalry in 1903, now available in reprint. Except
for the grip wire, the sword is in very good condition, with about 40% original gilding on the
hilt; the blade is very good plus, with bright frosty finish and clear markings. Overall length
36 ½”, not including scabbard.