While the M1840 NCO sword is quite common, the officer’s version is far more scarce, as it
was superceded by the M1850 Foot Officer’s and Staff and Field Officer’s models in 1851.
After that time, it was generally carried only by generals and there is a well-known
photograph with Union General Ambrose Burnside carrying this model during the Civil War.
That exact same sword sold at auction recently for over $40,000. While of comparable
quality and condition, the sword offered here unfortunately has no inscription or
provenance to link it with a specific officer. There was a great deal of variation in this
model, as each one was individually purchased. The model follows the basic style of the
M1840 NCO sword in that it has a straight single-fullered blade and a cast brass hilt
featuring straight single quillon, D-guard knuckle bow, cast brass simulated wire grip, and
plain shell guards. The sword offered here differs in that the pommel and knuckle bow
have raised floral decoration, the counter guard folds (as do some examples of the NCO
sword), the grip is silver-plated, the 32 3/8″ blade is lightly etched with floral decoration and
stands of arms, with “E Pluribus/ Unum” in script (etching worn), and the scabbard is brass.
Scabbard features engraved acanthus decoration and a wrigglework border, with twin
carrying rings (some examples had three) and decorated frog stud. This example has no
drag and possibly never had one or it was intentionally removed, as it is still longer than the
blade and shows no signs of having been broken or worn off. Sword in very good
condition, as carried in the field, with wear and patches of light pitting on the blade and the
guard slightly loose. The scabbard has a number of shallow dents on both sides on the
lower half. Brass on hilt and scabbard with a pleasing mustard brown age patina. Overall
length 38 5/8″, not including scabbard. The first example of this officer’s model we have
had in nearly 25 years of business.