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Thread: need help indentifying sword

  1. #1

    need help indentifying sword

    Hi new member here so if this is in the wrong place let me know. Just recently purchased what i thought to be a Ames m1860 naval cutlass, but now I'm not sure. There are no markings on the blade itself and the handle is a little loose. The blade looks like it was never marked. There are inspection marks on the pommel along with other marks. There is also rack numbers as well. Was wondering if this could be a sword that was contracted out from Ames to fill initial order at beginning of civil war. Any info or help would be appreciated.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Hudson OH
    It is an Ames M1860. The blade has been polished and so the markings are gone. The six numbers on the hilt are were use for inventory.

  3. #3
    Hi David,
    There are a lot of reproductions and fakes of this cutlass but as far as I can tell from the pictures yours looks genuine.
    Ames did not mark the blades very deeply so quite often the markings are faded or polished out. It is the only US cutlass (possibly the only cutlass) to be serial numbered so the numbers on the hilt 15M801 is the serial number. M indicates 1000. 22000 were ordered by the US government and they decided to number after the first 600 went out. Most of the production took place in 1862 and your serial number falls into that year.
    This one is interesting as mostly the inspector's initials on the pommel was DR for Daniel Reynolds and I have not seen one before with other initials, although sometimes there are none. There was an earlier inspector RC, Rufus Chandler, at Ames, but I have no idea about the JWR. The two sets of initials may indicate that it was re-hilted at some stage to replace a damaged blade. The leather grip and wire wrap was often removed for life at sea so it is also rarer to have that still in place.
    Regards, David.

  4. #4
    Thanks david those were my thoughts too. the jwr and other inspector stamps made me second glass.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Stratford upon Avon UK
    Hi, JWR may be James Wolfe Ripley US Inspector, later Chief of Ordnance in the ACW ( ref H L Peterson 'The American Sword' ) just a guess? regards Ben.

  6. #6
    Thanks Ben,
    Sounds like a good possibility - I had not heard of that name before. Learn something new everyday, although now I'm wondering what ACW stands for! Help?
    Regards, David.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Birmingham Alabama
    "American Civil War" or sometimes called "The War Between the States"...etc.

    Ripley was opposed to modern weapons, he became very famous for this opinion.


  8. #8
    Many thanks Dale, I probably should have guessed that!
    At first it seems unlikely that the Chief of Ordnance would have his initials stamped on a cutlass hilt, but a little research shows that James Wolfe Ripley was removed from that post in late 1863 due to those opinions clashing with Lincoln and the Secretary of War and took up the post of Inspector of Armaments of Forts on the New England Coast until the end of the Civil War. Presumably there at some point he inspected this cutlass after it was repaired and stamped his initials on the hilt.
    Regards, David.

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