1864 Union Officer's Presentation Dress Sword
This is a sword that's been in my family apparently for many years, from my great-great-great- granduncle, something like that. Apparently he was quite a proverbial hero in several battles in the Civil War with this Company C that became the 48th Regiment, I believe, in the Civil War. The number was about 40 battles, and then ended up sort of the last part of the Civil War with General Sherman in Atlanta.
And that's when he was killed.
Correct, yes, yeah. He was killed in battle when he was all of 22 years old, so it's been in my family ever since. I'm pretty proud to be part of the history where this guy is my great-great-granduncle. And this a Union sword.
Your ancestor fought for the 48th Illinois. And your ancestor uttered a rather famous quote that's been preserved right before he was shot. Are you familiar with his quote?
To paraphrase, he was told by the rebels that, "Look, you're outnumbered, you're beaten," and he basically said, "Beat, hell, the fight has just begun."
Oh, that's great. This sword is a very high grade presentation sword. And it was a dress sword. It wasn't a combat sword. The inscription here indicates that it was presented to Colonel Greathouse by the men and the officers of his command. That indicates that he was well thought of. And the fact that they spent a great deal of money at the time for this sword speaks very well of him. The sword itself, it was produced by Clauberg, which was a manufacturer of swords for export from Germany to the United States. The guard, with this rather elaborate design here of a figure, which is an American Indian, this sort of design was pioneered by Schuyler, Hartley, and Graham. They were, in 1860, the Cadillac of American arms. Schuyler, Hartley, and Graham's designs were copied by other makers, and this is one of those instances where another company unknown copied Schuyler, Hartley, and Graham's beautiful hilt. The guard here, this was... all this was brass, but this was silver plated. And of course, it's got numerous stones throughout, even in the eye here of the dragon. Those are all garnets, which, while they're not really expensive stones, it was a lot better than paste or glass, which you saw on a lot of products of that day. One other aspect of this that we should address is the fact that through rather rough treatment through its successive years, the blade here has suffered tremendously from moisture. That's why all of this rust and pitting is visible. This was gold plated in relief on the surface. You can still see traces of it, but by and large, it's gone. What kind of idea of value would you have on this?
Oh, man, I would have no idea. $500.
Oh, well, you may be pleased to know that, in its current condition, I would estimate a retail value in the neighborhood of $12,000.
With a little bit of restoration, it can go even higher.
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