Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: M1840 NCO Variant

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Annandale, VA
    Posts
    793

    M1840 NCO Variant

    Charlie Cureton, who together with David Sullivan authored the book “The Civil War Uniforms of the United States Marine Corps: The Regulations of 1859”, tells us the M1840 NCO-style swords manufactured with no rear counterguards are Civil War-era USMC M1859 musicians’ swords. He notes, however, that after the Civil War the Army ordered the rear counterguards to be removed from NCO swords still in its use. He warns that care must be taken not to misidentify these altered Army swords as Marine musicians swords. Although they may appear very similar, close examination will show traces of the removal.

    There may be another even more difficult issue in identifying the swords with no rear counterguards as Marine musicians’ swords, i.e. the Army may also have used them. I have encountered two swords which seem to show such Army use of M1840 NCO swords manufactured without counterguards.

    - The first of these swords, which appears in the late Kevin Hoffman’s eBook “Swords of Honor”, was inscribed to Sergeant J. L. Mulliken of the 44th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (MVM) and dated September 23rd 1862. Its blade bears the Clauberg maker’s name and standing-knight trade mark.

    Name:  Mulliken Inscribed NCO 14.jpg
Views: 182
Size:  98.5 KB


    - The second is a sword which I have just purchased which is inscribed to Sergeant E. McElroy of the 9th Regiment MVM and is dated June 16th 1866. It bears no maker or retailer marks.

    Name:  McElroy Inscribed NCO 16.jpg
Views: 182
Size:  100.1 KB

    My question is whether the ordinary NCOs of the MVM (or any other Army unit for that matter) were issued uninscribed versions of the M1840 NCO sword manufactured with no rear counterguard. If they were, it could make it difficult to attribute such swords to the Marine Corps. The Marines may have used them, but if the Army did as well, attribution would be difficult.

    If any Forum members have information on this topic, I would appreciate hearing about it. Do any members own or know of other M1840 NCO-style swords, inscribed or uninscribed, manufactured with no rear counterguard? Does anyone have any contemporary photos showing wear of such swords? Any documentary evidence? Thanks.
    Last edited by Richard Schenk; 07-06-2018 at 12:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nipmuc USA
    Posts
    12,049
    I'm afraid the tedium of documentary information really only goes to MVM units mustered into the regular army. The first sword (Mulliken) is inscribed to a date the unit is being ferried down the coast and the McElroy sword post dating the war, with his records appearing in the 5th regiment folding into the Army of the Potomac.

    https://archive.org/stream/05250996...._3092_djvu.txt
    https://archive.org/stream/00349381...._3239_djvu.txt

    Both mustered and were fitted/uniformed in Readville and McElroy appearing both in the privates and first sergeants, which would suggest his appointment to first sergeant during the course of actions.

    Both swords are obviously presentations and whether or not Mulliken wore his once the unit reached NC might be a case of conjecture he even had the sword on September 12 1862. That date could simply relate his appointment to first sergeant. That he is shown mustered out, would mean he survived the war.

    McElroy similarly but mustered in as a private.

    In any case, we are looking at presentation swords and not swords from the quartermasters (or so it would seem to me). With the proximity of and access to Massachusetts manufacturers, Any outside source supplying troops mustering into Readville should be traceable but my hunch would be a wild goose chase. With the McElroy sword inscirbed after the war and to an entirely different unit that he mustered in with, I would think you have to look for the retail outlet inscribing the sword.

    IMO, any relation to the USMC half hilts entirely coincidental. That may not be what you wan't to read.

    Cheers
    GC

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Annandale, VA
    Posts
    793
    Glen,

    Thanks for the unit histories. Rather long, so haven’t had the chance to really go through them yet but should give some good background.

    Ref your comment “we are looking at presentation swords and not swords from the quartermasters”: You are obviously right that these are presentation pieces, but I wonder if they started life as such, or if they were originally quartermaster swords which were later custom chased and engraved for presentation purposes? If they were custom-ordered with a requirement they be made with no rear counterguard, I would think it might have been easier to have had the designs on the knuckle guard, etc included in the hilt casting in the same manner as the M1840 foot officer sword.


    Name:  McElroy Inscribed NCO 17.jpg
Views: 87
Size:  98.0 KB


    But maybe not. That’s the main reason why I was looking for further info. You also comment “IMO, any relation to the USMC half hilts entirely coincidental. That may not be what you want to read.” I agree that any resemblance to Marine swords is coincidental, other, of course, than they were both derived from the same original M1840 NCO pattern. I am indifferent to the answer, I just want to know. Actually, it would in a way be convenient if it turned out these were all Army swords. Currently there is some controversy over what the M1859 looked like. There are two patterns proposed as the M1859 USMC musician’s sword, those made with no rear counterguard whatsoever, and those with a rim with a raised scalloped edge on the rear side of the guard. Either or both might be Marine swords, but if one could be shown to have been used by the Army…


    Name:  Ames Boy Musician AZ 13.JPG
Views: 87
Size:  86.5 KB
    Last edited by Richard Schenk; 07-07-2018 at 08:46 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nipmuc USA
    Posts
    12,049
    Again, the two men were mustered into regular army at Readville.

    Personally, both the sword marked with a Clauberg mark and the other 1866 marked swords do not appear to me to have had hilt modifications (re removal of one port) but both do share long ricassos on the blades.

    There is no rhyme nor reason uninspected swords would have been kicking around Readville (re the 1862 dated piece) and the Charleston sword following the war by many months; so there is no question in my mind they were never in Army stores (later altered or not).

    I believe the only blank space in question for either sword you introduced in your first post is who the retailer(s) might have been. Good luck.

    Cheers
    GC

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Annandale, VA
    Posts
    793
    Jim McCoy of Civil War Preservations had this to say about the above-pictured McElroy sword: “ I think the sword was assembled post war using parts from 2 makers/retailers. The blade has a keystone or tombstone stamp which was used by Emerson and Silver on Trenton NJ. The mark is very faint. Dave (he is referring to Dave LaSlavic of Arizona Sword) actually looked at the sword and I told him your theory that it was a USMC musician sword. Dave’s opinion was the guard was possibly made by Horstmann and may have been made for that model. Horstmann used E and S blades early in the war so they had a business relationship. That being said it’s possible that Horstmann assembled it as the only non Horstmann component seems to be the blade so if I had to pick one I think they would be the best bet.”

    I agree this sword appears to be a Horstmann product based on style, but I am unsure of the E&S keystone mark on the blade – it is indistinct and not placed quite like usually seen. As Jim noted, however, it would not be unusual since Horstmann used a lot of E&S blades on his early NCO/musician swords. I believe it is quite possible both the McElroy and Mulliken swords were produced post-war by Horstmann using left-over wartime parts, or even already-assembled full swords. (Although the Mulliken example is dated 23 Sep 1862, it seems likely, based on information Glen provided information in his above posts, that this is a commemorative date, not the date the sword was actually presented.) My question is, were the hilts leftovers from the Marine musician sword contracts, or from some yet-unknowm Army or militia contract for NCO swords with no rear counterguards? (Or possibly even new post-war production?)

    I would still be interested in hearing from anyone with information on any other examples of M1840 NCO-style swords made with no rear counterguard. If we could see more examples, it might help clarify the issue.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    427
    Warrant officers in an Infantry militia unit during the 1860s?

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •