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Thread: Naval Academy Musician's Sword

  1. #1
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    Naval Academy Musician's Sword

    I just purchased Naval Academy musician's sword. It is generally the standard pattern Army M1840 musicians’ sword, but the blade is etched with old English letters “NA” in a panel on observe, a fouled anchor in panel on reverse, and “Ames Co/Chicopee/M” on base. It has a 28.5” long, 13/16”wide blade. The scabbard is blued steel with brass throat with frog hook an brass drag. Although it is an Army pattern, it is, however, a Navy sword. A letter in the Academy archive from A.W. Wise, Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, to Adm David Porter of the Naval Academy dated 29 January 1866 states “The Bureau has directed Mr. Ames of Chicopee to made and send you for the Band of the Academy, thirty (30) non commission officers swords with white enamel belts and frogs and the Academy belt plates.” This must make them about the rarest of all the Navy model. (It is, of course, the musician's, not the NCO variety.) This is the exact sword pictured on p.200 of John Thillmann “Civil War Army Swords”.

    I understand Forum member George Wheeler has another example of this sword. If so, I'd appreciate some info on it. Specifically, I would like to know if it has a steel scabbard. All other Ames M1840 scabbards are leather. Did they actually use steel for this 1866 special order, or is this possible a replacement scabbard from an Emerson & Silver M1840. I'd also know if there are any other marking.

    Do any other members know of other samples? Theoretically, there could be 28 others.

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  2. #2
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    Richard,

    Here is a link to a short discussion and pix of my NA Musician sword.

    http://www.swordforum.com/vb4/showth...+academy+sword

    My NA sword is made like yours and it does have a steel scabbard. The placement of the screws on the brass fittings are a bit different from the Emerson & Silver steel scabbards on two of my E&S swords. From that I think the steel scabbards may have been original to these very scarce swords. Congratulations on your find.
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    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  3. #3
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    Your etching is much better than on my example. You can see the design clearly enough on the blade, but the surface provides little contrast and is difficult to photo. Since the scabbards on our two example are the same, I think it is likely that the steel bodies are correct. Can I use your photos to post a question on the facebook CW Saber site to see if we can find other examples?

  4. #4
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    Yes, you have my permission.

    I also just noticed that the bottom fitting above the drags on both of our swords have the same creases and bends in about the same place. I wonder if that is because of the way they were handled and/or treated? Perhaps storing them upright in a corner or closet and banging them on the floor for instance? Perhaps soft brass fittings adapted from regular Ames fittings for a leather scabbard to the metal one? You know parts is parts for assemblers. Just a random thought mind you.

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

  5. #5
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    Richard,

    I was just handling my NA sword over the weekend and I noticed that I forgot to mention that there is no inspector marking on the brass scabbard drag on the steel scabbard. There are none on the sword itself either, so they do match.

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

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Wheeler View Post
    Yes, you have my permission.

    I also just noticed that the bottom fitting above the drags on both of our swords have the same creases and bends in about the same place. I wonder if that is because of the way they were handled and/or treated? Perhaps storing them upright in a corner or closet and banging them on the floor for instance? Perhaps soft brass fittings adapted from regular Ames fittings for a leather scabbard to the metal one? You know parts is parts for assemblers. Just a random thought mind you.

    George
    It's generaly reckoned that the two main causes of "dinged" scabbards, are sturrup irons, and train carriage doors.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Wheeler View Post
    Richard,

    I was just handling my NA sword over the weekend and I noticed that I forgot to mention that there is no inspector marking on the brass scabbard drag on the steel scabbard. There are none on the sword itself either, so they do match.

    George
    I also noted that. I believe E&S scabbards usually have inspector marks on the drag, so the lack of one on our scabbards is another indicator they are Ames.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Schenk View Post
    I also noted that. I believe E&S scabbards usually have inspector marks on the drag, so the lack of one on our scabbards is another indicator they are Ames.
    DFM inspector's initials on the reverse drag of my E&S Musician's Sword.
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