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Thread: 1832 - 1834 General Officers Sword - American

  1. #1
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    1832 - 1834 General Officers Sword - American

    Hi guys,

    I have just acquired this sword. Please could you look at it and give me your opinions...especially on the grip and scabbard?

    Much appreciated, thank you!
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    Last edited by Simon R.; 09-24-2012 at 11:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    more pics

    some more pics...
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    .....
    Last edited by Simon R.; 09-24-2012 at 11:23 AM.

  4. #4
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    Hi Simon

    Great looking sword. I could probably still be called a neophyte of Ames lore but the sword looks fine to me. The sheet on top of the grip core is what I would expect and even the scabbard is probably fine. It is possibly a latter scabbard but the fit looks perfect and shows age aside from being all very shiny. Is there any indication to the hilt suface that cleaning has worn through the gilt? In general, it looks to be about as good as it gets. The little bend to the quillion would always bother me but at the same time something I would be bound to mess up if I tried to straighten it.


    Nice piece

    Cheers

    Hotspur; the blade etch is confusing me but my books are still unpacked from a weekend show

  5. #5
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    Glen. It would appear that the "lift' to the quillon was done intentionally for some reason lost to time. I can not think of any circumstances that would move it so much accidentally with no accompanying damage to the rest of the sword. Regards
    "Ancora imparo - Michelangelo Buonarotti"

  6. #6
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    Simon,

    From what I can see in the pictures, the sword looks good to me as well. The condition is excellent. The upturned guard would annoy me until I fixed it was well but other than that I see no problems or real red flags.

    Nice sword!
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  7. #7
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    Thank you for the insights. As always, much appreciated!

  8. #8
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    Just adding an applicable old portrait picture depicting one of these....
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  9. #9
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    Very nice. Is there more info re the portrait?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen C. View Post
    Very nice. Is there more info re the portrait?
    This is all the auction house description said about it...

    "U.S. Army: Painted Portrait of a Brigadier General in Full Uniform and Holding a Model 1832 Army General Staff Officer's Sword, Circa 1838-1842. The painting pictures an unidentified brigadier wearing a late 1830s pattern United States Army general officer's uniform. The brass crescents on the epaulettes and the epaulette buttons affixed to the collar suggest the period from 1838 to 1842. The most interesting feature of the painting is the inclusion of the Model 1832 army general staff officer's sword held in the sitter's arms. This pattern weapon is seldom pictured in period paintings. The unsigned painting, 25" x 30" and executed in oil, has been re-backed and re-stretched. It is a rare and elegant painting in very fine condition"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon R. View Post
    This is all the auction house description said about it...

    "The most interesting feature of the painting is the inclusion of the Model 1832 army general staff officer's sword held in the sitter's arms. This pattern weapon is seldom pictured in period paintings."
    An interesting aspect of this portrait is that the sword appears to have a leather scabbard. According to Thillman and most conventional wisdom, general officers wore gilt brass scabbards and leather was for lower ranking officers. I've attached photos of my M1832/4 sword and gilt brass scabbard.

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    I was also interested in the photos of your sword. I believe this is the first M1832/4 G&S sword I have seen with the Ames address and date dry needle etched on the ricasso in the same manner as the M1832 Dragoon, but then again, I don't know if I've ever seen any two of this model which were exactly the same. Does your blades engraving include Tecumsah? Some say this was an indicator of use by a higher-grade officer.

  12. #12
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    m1832 missing counter guard

    Mine has a partial leather scabbard unfortunately it is missing the counterguard. If I understand correctly you are saying yours is for generals and this one would be for Staff Officers? How can they be dated? I cannot read date on this one. Is it possible to find an after market or used counter guard? Got this one on a fluke but love the sword. It is hard to believe Nathan was making m1832 artillery and m1833 Dragoon at the same time he was making this sword and screaming eagles.Eric
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    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Schenk View Post
    An interesting aspect of this portrait is that the sword appears to have a leather scabbard. According to Thillman and most conventional wisdom, general officers wore gilt brass scabbards and leather was for lower ranking officers. I've attached photos of my M1832/4 sword and gilt brass scabbard.

    Name:  M1832 General and Staff Officer Sword.jpg
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    I was also interested in the photos of your sword. I believe this is the first M1832/4 G&S sword I have seen with the Ames address and date dry needle etched on the ricasso in the same manner as the M1832 Dragoon, but then again, I don't know if I've ever seen any two of this model which were exactly the same. Does your blades engraving include Tecumsah? Some say this was an indicator of use by a higher-grade officer.
    Yes, I did see the scabbard description for these swords as written by JT. That would stand to reason, but I have not looked up his source for that. It is quite well documented, and evidenced by existing examples, that Ames made gilded scabbard and leather scabbard for the same sword on their presentation grade swords. Presumably, leather for everyday use, and the gilded one for dress occasions. Did they do it for this model? I have not seen a definitive proof of it, but who knows?

    The sword I showed, had no Indian. I would suspect that earlier made examples would be more likely to sport the Indian as they appear more concentrated on earlier federal period swords. Again, this is more speculation on my part... as I currently stand looking at an etched Indian on an 1860 cav officer's saber!

    Cheers

  14. #14
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    Iirc, these leather scabbards with finer fittings are shown in Hamilton's Ames history book. The indian motif on blades is not uncommon at least through the Seminole wars periods and, of course, therre are the indian princess pommel swords of the 1830s and 1840s. Ames was doing a lot of swords "to order" quite early in the game. Civil War Preservations .com has had a number of Ames swords of this pattern. The Ames examples recognizable in difference from the Widmanns.

    These are quite like the older British 1796 heavy cavalry dress swords.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; the blades continue for a couple of decades with the centurion pommels

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Fairbanks View Post
    Mine has a partial leather scabbard unfortunately it is missing the counterguard. If I understand correctly you are saying yours is for generals and this one would be for Staff Officers? How can they be dated? I cannot read date on this one. Is it possible to find an after market or used counter guard? Got this one on a fluke but love the sword. It is hard to believe Nathan was making m1832 artillery and m1833 Dragoon at the same time he was making this sword and screaming eagles.Eric
    The common designation of this model as the "General and Staff Officers Sword" is somewhat misleading since it was also intended for use by Infantry, Artillery, and Ordnance Officers. The swords themselves were all the same, the difference being in the scabbards, with the infantry/artillery/ordnance officers using gilt brass-mounted scabbards like yours. Thillman quotes a letter from General-in-Chief Gen Malcomb on the subject of staff and general officer swords in which the General states "The sword the same as other officers only the scabbard is of steel. Those for General are either steel or brass that is gilt is preferred for Generals." The steel scabbards seem to be the rarest. The one pictured in Thillman's book is the only one I've ever seen.

    I have no idea how you can date these. At least some, such as the one pictured at the top of this thread, are dated. Other than that, presumably most are from the 1830s before the introduction of the new M1840 styles; not sure how long after that they remained regulation for Staff and General Officers - until the M1850 S&F? There may be clues in the etching patterns, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to really address that.

    Good luck finding parts for this sword. If you find a source, I'd like to know. The grip of my pictured sword has apparently had the original silver covering replaced with actual twisted silver wire - very well done and attractive, but probably not original.

  16. #16
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    If I remember they were still regulation until 1872 although very few were made as most officers prefered the later models. So a 40 year time span for dating. I think most were made before 1850 and very few after 1860. I will have to look that up again after I return home. I also read the pommel style on yours is the Hotstmann style but your is marked Ames and I believe there are 3 different style pommels perhaps someone knows. Although I cannot see your pommel very well. Every sword that I have viewed seems to be etched differently but I have viewed a limited amount. I may have to buy a complete sword and cast a copy for this one. It is way too nice to sit around half dressed. Thanks for your help. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Fairbanks View Post
    I also read the pommel style on yours is the Hotstmann style but your is marked Ames and I believe there are 3 different style pommels perhaps someone knows. Although I cannot see your pommel very well. Every sword that I have viewed seems to be etched differently but I have viewed a limited amount. I may have to buy a complete sword and cast a copy for this one. It is way too nice to sit around half dressed. Thanks for your help. Eric
    I'm far from an expert on these, but I believe most makers (Ames, Horstmann, Spies, Widman) used essentially the same pattern pommel, i.e. a two-part globe with a plain top half and standing leaves around the bottom half. I have two M1832/4, both Ames, and both with the same style pommel. I note the 1839-dated M1832/4 that started this thread is different in that both pommel globe halves are plain. Maybe that and the wide ricasso are diagnostic of a latter date.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Fairbanks View Post
    Mine has a partial leather scabbard unfortunately it is missing the counterguard. If I understand correctly you are saying yours is for generals and this one would be for Staff Officers? How can they be dated? I cannot read date on this one. Is it possible to find an after market or used counter guard? Got this one on a fluke but love the sword. It is hard to believe Nathan was making m1832 artillery and m1833 Dragoon at the same time he was making this sword and screaming eagles.Eric
    Eric, do you still have the 1832/34 with the missing boat-counterguard? Did you see our favorite site has one for sale with a fairly decent guard but a rusted-out blade? Might be a candidate for restoration using this blade.

    Name:  M1832 1834 General Officer Sword 2 comp.jpg
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    Dick
    Last edited by Richard Schenk; 04-20-2017 at 05:58 PM.

  19. #19
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    I have not seen it Richard, many thanks. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

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