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Reference Items
Edged Weapons
Thomas, Griswold & Co. Cavalry Officer's Saber

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On Aug 24, 1861 Henry Thomas and Arthur Breese Griswold along with a couple of associates opened a military outfitting firm at the corner of Canal and Royal Streets in New Orleans.  The business, known as Thomas, Griswold & Co., remained in operation only eight months before closing on April 24, 1862, a few weeks prior to the occupation of New Orleans by Federal forces.  During their brief period of operations, they manufactured swords and other militaria for Southern buyers in both the governmental and private sectors. 

Swords made by Thomas, Griswold & Co. have unique characteristics on their guards, blades and scabbards that make them readily identifiable.  This example is a Confederate officer’s cavalry saber in excellent attic condition, its 35" blade exhibiting an untouched patina.  The blade has a semi-stopped fuller indicative of Griswold’s products which terminates ⅞” from the original leather washer.  The blade remains tight against the grip and has never been removed.  At the ricasso is marked in a bold arc "THOMAS, GRISWOLD & Co” over straight "NEW ORLEANS” with the superscript "o” in Co being a weak strike.  This complete marking is the most desirable of the three styles of identification markings found on Griswold’s blades.  Some of their swords are stamped only with the company’s initials while others are entirely unmarked.  Experts speculate that the unmarked swords were those sold to other retailers such as Hayden & Whilden of Charleston, South Carolina who would, in turn, occasionally place their own markings on the blades.  The swords marked only with the T. G. & Co initials are thought to be those made for sale to the Confederate government.  And the swords marked with the firm’s full name were likely intended for retail purchase by the public.  Such a purchase would have been expected for an officer’s grade cavalry saber as seen here. 

One of the more unique features common to Griswold swords is their brass scabbards.  Accompanying this saber is its solid brass scabbard which bears Griswold’s typical crude lap seam on the bottom side.  The rings, mounts and drag are also brass with patina which matches the scabbard and guard.  The drag is the characteristic Griswold version seen on all their edged weapons.  The scabbard has no dents or notable blemishes. 

The grip retains its original leather, being nearly 100% intact with its original twisted brass wire wrap.  The guard and pommel cap are the usual Griswold style manufacture. The officers grade guard, quillon and knucklebow have cast floral patterns and the pommel is also decorated. The knucklebow branch has a noticeable brazed splice characteristic of Griswold’s two piece construction and the pommel cap has a seam at its top, also a trait of Griswold swords.  

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-298

Bowie Knife - Sergeant William T. Downey

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This scrimshaw bone handle bowie knife of Sgt. William T. Downey, Company B of the 86th New York Volunteer Infantry (known as the "Steuben Rangers” and "The Fighting Regiment of the Southern Tier”) was carried by him at the Battle of Gettysburg, when on 2 July 1863 the 86th was part of Sickles salient and fought in Rose’s Woods between the Wheatfield and Devils Den. The 86th NYV is one of Fox’s fighting 300 regiments losing one-third of its numbers at Gettysburg.

The knife is 13 inches overall with an 8 inch blade and brass guard. The hand carved bone handle features several detailed scrimshaw carvings including whaling ships at sea, nautical stars and what appears to be an Indian woman with feathers in her hair, stylized in the image of the Seminole chief Osceola. Carved into the handle is "Sergt W.T.D. Co. B 86 NYV”. The "Sergt” was added after Downey was promoted to Sergeant on 1 July 1863 (he had been acting in this capacity from 20 May 1863). The pommel area of the knife bears a lead inlay with the initial "W.T.D.” inscribed. The original leather scabbard is in very sound condition with tarred facing and natural leather verso.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-241

Brig. Genl. Cornelius G. Attwood, 25th Mass Inf.

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Brigadier General Cornelius G. Attwood, 25th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, "Heckman’s Star Brigade”.

Cornelius G. Attwood was born in Bangor, Maine, in 1836. In his youth he joined a local militia unit where he began his long and illustrious military career.

In October, 1861, he was appointed captain of Co. C, 25th Mass. Vol. Inf. The regiment, merged into the 18th Corps, fought in the famed "Heckman’s Star Brigade,” becoming one of the Union army’s top fighting units in terms of casualties and fighting prowess. Capt. Attwood was promoted to Major, October 29, 1862. The first battles were fought during Burnside’s Expedition into Virginia and North Carolina where he carried the first American flag ashore in the assault on Roanoke Island.

During General Attwood’s career he acquired two swords. The first, a foot officer’s sword is inscribed "Lieut. C.G. Attwood.” The second, a staff and field officer’s sword is inscribed on the top mount "Capt. C.G. Attwood, Boston,” and is elaborately inscribed down the steel scabbard with all of the general’s promotions and battles at which he participated. In addition the Attwood collection, obtained from a Maine descendant, contains his gold bullion general’s epaulets encased in an identified carrying tin, several CDV’s, a signed regimental history, a war-dated oil painting of the then Major Attwood painted by well-known artist Alexander Ransom, and a large escutcheon in handwritten calligraphy with photo, promotions, battles and references to the GAR and Mollus.

By war’s end the 25th Mass fought in more than twenty-five battles and skirmishes. Besides Roanoke Island they fought at New Berne, N.C., Goldsboro, Drewry’s Bluff, Cold Harbor, where Major Attwood was wounded, and Petersburg. Out of the three-hundred men the 25th Mass mustered for General Grant’s futile onslaught at Cold Harbor, the regiment sustained 24 killed, including 6 officers, 142 wounded, and 49 missing. In total, 8,000 men were killed in twenty minutes.

Withdrawn from the Petersburg trenches, the gallant 25th was mustered out October 20, 1864. Major Attwood was brevetted Lieutenant Colonel and soon thereafter, Brigadier General for "Gallant and meritorious service during the war.” Following the hostilities he was appointed Deputy Collector of the Port of Boston and later Secretary of the Board of Trade. In 1876 General Attwood was appointed Inspector General of Massachusetts where he was principally in charge of the State Militia. He held multiple GAR offices including Post Commander, National Quartermaster, and National Adjutant-General. He died January19, 1888 in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Member - Mike Shotwell
Item #: CIV-236

Inscribed Sword - Nicholas Grumbach, 149th NY

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The "Syracuse Daily Courier and Union” of September 22, 1862 recorded that "On Saturday evening Capt. Nicholas Grumbach was made the recipient of a sword, sash and belt, a present from his fellow members of the Board of Supervisors. The presentation took place at the Mayor’s room in the City Hall, and was attended by the members of the Board residing in the city, a number of Capt. Grumbach’s company and several citizens.”

Captain Grumbach was the Supervisor of the Second Ward, Onandaga County, New York, a member of the city’s war committee, and captain of the Monroe Cadets. He was instrumental in raising Company B of the 149th New York Volunteers and was elected their captain.

This sword was carried by Captain Grumbach throughout the war. He was subsequently promoted to Lt. Colonel and commanded the regiment for the last year of the war. The 149th NYV took part in the battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wauhatchie. Lookout Mountain, Ringgold, Resaca, New Hope Church, Lost Mountain, Pine Knob, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek (where Major Grumbach was wounded) and the siege of Savannah; and they were present at the battles of Missionary Ridge, Rocky Face Ridge, Averasboro, Bentonville and The Carolinas. The 149th NYV lost 133 dead and 353 wounded, placing them among Fox’s 300 Fighting Regiments.

For additional details of this magnificent battle sword, see "The 149th New York at Culp’s Hill – Gettysburg” by WCCWC member Mike Shotwell, found in the Articles Section of this web site.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-214

Inscribed Sword - Lt. William McNamara, 69th P.V.

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"A thousand fell where Kemper led;
A thousand died where Garnett bled;
In blinding flame and strangling smoke
The remnant through the batteries broke
And crossed the works with Armistead.”

Lt. William F. McNamara commanded Company I ("The Tiger Zouaves”) of the 69th Pennsylvania Volunteers. McNamara’s company held the 69th’s right flank under the copse of trees at the famous angle of the wall at Gettysburg. This spot was Robert E. Lee’s objective for General Picket’s historic charge on July 3rd, 1863. It has since been known as the high water mark of the Confederacy for the Civil War.

McNamara’s sword was presented to him by comrades of his company. It was carried that day in his hand, a hand that was subsequently extended in friendship to those of Pickett’s Division exactly 24 years later during the dedication of the 69th’s monument at Gettysburg (see the picture above).

Additional information about the 69th PVI at Gettysburg can be found in D. Scott Hartwig’s excellent article in Gettysburg Magazine "It Struck Horror to Us All”.

This fine Staff & Field Officers sword is marked "Evans & Hassal” and "Philada” at the ricasso. The German silver scabbard is inscribed "Lieut. Wm. F. McNamara Co. I 69th Reg. P.V.” Lt. McNamara carried this sword at Antietam, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Court House. At Fredericksburg he was wounded in the charge on Marye’s Heights. A Confederate bullet passed through his left thigh, striking and damaging the scabbard of his sword. The German silver repairs to the scabbard are visible on the scabbard.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-213

Inscribed Sword – Captain R. S. Seabury AAG

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Vetted Civil War General & Staff Officers swords, often referred to incorrectly as Model 1860 Staff & Field officer swords, are exceedingly rare. Those most commonly seen are of post war issue, and are difficult to distinguish from Civil War dated swords. Most of the swords documented to Civil War use were of Ames manufacture. During the Civil War this diminutive model sword was not popular with officers.

This beautiful General Staff & Officer sword bears an inscription on the clamshell guard which reads: "Presented to Captain R.S. Seabury AAG by Lieut. P.C. Rogers ADC”. The sword measures 36 inches overall, the diamond shaped blade 29½ inches with a maximum width of 11/16 inches. The blade is marked on the ricasso with a circle inside of which is "F B D” arched left, above and right respectively of a plumed Greek helmet crossed by a sword, indicating that this sword was likely an import from the French firm of F. Delacour & Bakes. The fine leather grip is wrapped with a single twisted wire strand. The 32 inch scabbard has elaborate mounts which appear to have been made from the same mold designed by master sculptor John Q. Word of New York and used by the Ames Sword Co. to fabricate a documented sword presented to General U.S. Grant in 1863. The Seabury sword could have been one of the 25 imported by Schuyler, Hartley & Graham 20 August 1862.

Captain Robert S. Seabury AAG of the 71st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was on the staff of Brigadier General Joshua T. "Paddy” Owen, first with the Philadelphia Brigade and then 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corp (1864). He received numerous commendations in the Official Records, but notably December 18, 1862 from Colonel Owens for his role on Marye’s Heights at the Battle of Fredericksburg and on March 25, 1864 from Major General Gouverneur K. Warren for his heroic actions during the demonstration on the Rapidan. Captain Seabury died May 8, 1864 from wounds received two days earlier at the Battle of the Wilderness.

The sword’s presenter, 1st Lt. Phillip Clayton Rogers, served with the 55th New York Volunteer Infantry and then with the 39th NYV ("The Garibaldi Guards”). On February 29, 1864 he was promoted Aide de Camp on the staff of General Owen; prior to this date he had been acting in this capacity. A report penned by General Owen on February 9, 1864 mentions both Seabury and Rogers as serving on his staff and having rendered "gallant” and "valuable” assistance. The above photograph of Lt. Rogers while in the 39th NYV (provided by Michael Hammerson) shows him holding a similar sword.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-205

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