An Australian with a legit American Civil War word? It makes more sense than you might think. Read up. Mad Duo
As some of you might have noticed, swords are a big part of my life. I have sixteen years of kendo under my belt, which gave me a good appreciation for swordplay (and much-needed discipline). More came later, but I’m going to keep the personal stuff in the bedroom!
The main reason I got so into swords was that my family always had swords. Traveling all over the world we collected them, as well as knives and the like, from markets and antique shops. No sword in the collection was as important or special as the one I’m going to show you.
Whilst I was born here in the Land Downunder, my father was American, from a proud military family, dating back pretty much all the way back to the Continental Army if family legend is to be believed. His family was from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and one of our ancestors was an Officer during the Civil War. This was their sword.
My family heirloom is an M1850 Foot Officer Sword made by Schuyler, Hartley, and Graham in New York, and was forged somewhere between 1861-65. (Thanks http://www.civilwarpreservations.com for the info).
The brass guard still shows signs of what is probably gold leaf in its etchings and has a real elegance to its shape, as well as being solid enough to not only keep your fingers intact but also make friends and influence people who get inside your sword-swing range. The grip is twisted wire wrapped gutta-percha which is a natural latex-based material, cutting edge for the time. It shows signs of age, with some of the wood handle peeking through.
Both sides of the 29.5″ blade are covered in amazing engraving panels, US Eagle and foliate (that’s leaves and such) on one side, with the Eagle carrying the “E_pluribus_unum” motto of the United States.
At 1.6 kg (3.7lbs) I’ve held far less wieldy blades. Somewhere in its history, its taken some heavy hits to the cutting edge. Whether in combat, or overzealous teenage uncles and great-grandfathers, I couldn’t say. It wasn’t me. At least, not THIS sword, anyway. It’s not kitchen-knife sharp, nor dagger pointy either, but even 150 years on this would ruin your day if introduced into your person with any intent.
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