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Thread: Army NCO Sword of 1857

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Army NCO Sword of 1857

    Did the Army consider replacing the M1840 NCO sword prior to the CW? The conventional understanding is that Army NCOs were armed with the M1840 NCO swords from the time of their adoption until well after the CW. However, the illustrations in the Army Uniform Regulation of 1857 clearly show various NCOs wearing what appears to be a saber similar to the M1850 Foot Officers saber but suspended on a frog rather than a sling. Clearly including such illustrations shows the Army intended such swords to be worn by NCOs as part of the uniform adopted in 1857. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a full copy the regulations so as to read the verbal descriptions to go along with the illustrations. Do any of you ave or have access to this regulation? In 1859 the Marines adopted a modified M1850 Foot Officer’s sword for wear by Sergeants of the Corps. Did the Army do the same in 1857? If so, what happened to the change? Obviously the M1840 NCO sword was still being worn during the CW. I would appreciate hearing you thoughts on the matter.

    Name:  uniform Reg 1851 illustration 1.jpg
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Kansas City Metro (USA)
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    You will also notice that the Rifleman (with green trim} is a Musician, not a Sergeant, who is wearing the NCO saber instead of the M1840 Musician sword. Sometimes the illustrations do not strictly match the written regulations prior to the Civil War. I wonder if this is artistic license?
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  3. #3
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    Jul 2014
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    I doubt it. The sword was a major uniform item which was specifically addressed in the regulation. Since the whole purpose of the illustrations was to accurately show the various individual items of the uniform not only as a guide to the Service members but also to suppliers and manufacturers, such a clear deviation would not have been approved. (Note approval penned in lower left corner.)

    Not sure that it is apropos of the discussion but the below photo shows sergeant in what appears to be an 1858 jacket carrying a French Mle1821 infantry-style sword suspended by a frog. I have always thought this was probably a militia NCO with a non-regulation sword, but at any rate it shows some contemporary NCOs carried an officer-style sword on a frog.

    Name:  NCO with Mle1821 Foot Officer Style Sword 2.jpg
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