US M1850 Foot Officer’s Sword


On April 9, 1850 the War Department adopted a standard pattern sword for all foot officers
of infantry, artillery, and riflemen. It was patterned after a model then in use by the French
Army and meant for company officers through the rank of captain. Officers of the rank of
major and above wore the M1850 Staff & Field Officer’s Sword; the only difference
between them being that the staff & field sword featured a pierced “US” in the guard. The
rank distinction for the two swords, however, was rarely enforced. Differences in quality
and materials are found in the foot officer’s sword and this example is of standard type with
gilded cast brass guard pierced with foliage and floral decoration, single scroll quillon and
integral knuckle bow joining the Phrygian helmet pommel with acanthus border. Grip
with sharkskin wrap and twisted brass wire. Slightly curved 30 1/2″ German blade with
broad stopped fuller extending to within 8 ½” of the point and a shorter narrow fuller at the
back edge; stamped “SOLINGEN” on the ricasso. The blade is etched with floral
decoration, stands of arms, and “E. PLURIBUS UNUM” (worn). Overall length 36 1/2″. No
scabbard. Excellent piece for the beginning collector or history buff, much like the first
sword I received which started my lifelong passion for history and collecting at the age of