What are the odds souther use of ames sabre

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Aug 28, 2010
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#1
I have a Ames Model 1840 heavy cavalry sabre dated 1857. Very fine condition. I was wondering what are the odds of it being carried by a southern trooper. I know we will NEVER know for sure. But I am under the impression that a good majority of the pre war cavalryman were southern and likewise switched their allegiance to the Confederacy. In my opinion if these are true facts and not myth or wishful thinking then wouldn't that make my sword a good candidate for Southern use. As I already said it is impossible to ever know for sure. Come on guys give me some hope.
 

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johan_steele

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#2
Nope. Wishful thinking is just that. While plenty of officers resigned their commissions and headed south very few enlisted men did. It's more likely US if it's in your possession as most CS arms turned in didn't survive that long after the war.
 

Glen_C

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#3
Odds would be slim but not impossible. Believe it, or not, the m1840 type was a predominant form at the beginning of the war. One would need to start with 1857 dated and delivered contracts and then look at troop distribution of said contracts. The standing army was not that large at the beginning of the war.

Eliminating all variables and claiming southern carry during the ACW is simply a matter of concise provenance. It's not a matter or some romance or mythology, just simple fact finding.

Cheers
GC
 

Glen_C

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#10
Well Glen C, You obviously haven't owned or examined very many confederate swords.
Your statement is utter nonsense with very little basis of any evidence. Let's start with 1857 dated Ames m1840 cavalry swords.

You are correct in that I own no period confederate swords. I am not sure how that supports that a sword (any sword) sharpened point to hilt is a good indication of Southern use vs federal use during the time, as it was, and is, a quite mixed bag. I'd wager you can't the number of threads in this venue alone regarding sharps.

There is also little, aside from brief commentaries from both factions regarding sharp swords in general, let alone an 1857 dated Ames m1840.

I say your comment is utter nonsense, just as I had replied in another venue claiming that the majority of military swords were never sharpened. Followed by another stating that most weapons saw no action (worldwide). Both of those statements, as well as you stating
If the edge of the blade is "Sharp" all the way down, good indication of Southern use.
are not fighting words, so much as silliness without equal and quantitative evidence. Nonsensical.

I'd love to see your Confederate collection. All I have is a mixed bag of about sixty period swords. I don't claim any as southern, as the majority predate the Seminole wars but it is quite possible some of my sharps were from southern states, just as some of my sharps could have as easily been used in the northeast.

My one sword labeled as Confederate is a reproduction College Hill and bought as such. Yes, believe me, I made it sharp. :smile:

Cheers
GC

Replied as you were typing, so I appreciate your clarification but would still question the point to hilt, as many sharps aren't.. The forward third/half and back edges where applicable but few of my period sharps had full length sharpening.
 
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CSA Today

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#11
[QUOTE="redbob, post: 1851734, member: 8152"]Since the largest supplier of arms to the Confederacy was the Union by way of capture, anything is possible-hope springs eternal, but proof is another thing entirely.[/QUOTE]

I had a captured Ames sabre (1864) until it was stolen. :frown:
 

ucvrelics

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#12
OK now, y'all play nice.

First of all to @speedenforcer you have 2 chances on trying to tie a yankee Ames sword to the South with out provenance, inscription ext. And you what those 2 chances are S & N. We have enough trouble with Confederate swords ie Dog Rivers, repops etc to be throwing this wrench in the gears.

On the issue of the sharping of CW swords North & South we should post a separate thread on that issue and we can compare notes and photos. I have currently 11 CS swords and have owned many others as well as many Union swords.
 
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#13
I did a very un-scientific sharpened or not test of over 50 CS swords, including 4 "Dog Rivers", when taking a break from packing for the upcoming Richmond Show.

Officer models were very rarely found sharpened [in my sample] , however Boyle & Gamble and B G & McFee had a fairly sharpish edge for the first 1/3- 1/2 or so, as did the Haiman Officer swords.

Those with the most prevalent sharpening were the enlisted Cavalry and Artillery sabres, running about 50%.

The issue here is when was the sharpening done. I've put some pretty good edges on a few swords when I was a kid coming up in Virginia.
 
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#14
First of all to @speedenforcer you have 2 chances on trying to tie a yankee Ames sword to the South with out provenance, inscription ext. And you what those 2 chances are S & N.
An exception might be the 1200 M1860 Ames cavalry sabers Buchanan's Secretary of War, John Floyd, directed be sent to Virginia in early 1860. There are two variations of these Southern sabers: The most desirable (to me) have the normal inspection markings, i.e. "U.S./(inspector's initials)/1860", but also have an additional mark, the so-called "Southern Star", stamped on the pommel. The second has just the date, "1860", with no inspector's initials or "U.S.". John Thillmann, in his book Civil War Cavalry and Artillery Sabers, suggest these sword with no inspector's marks were early shipments made before Ames received the memo from Chief of Ordnance Craig instructing them that the Virginia swords were to be inspected in the same manner as usual, and that Virginia would pick up the cost for the inspections. These “Virginia” Ames sabers were used to arm JEB Stuart's 1st Virginia Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.

Here is an example of the second variety with no inspection:

M1860 Ames Virginia Sword.JPG
 
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thomas aagaard

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#15
But I am under the impression that a good majority of the pre war cavalryman were southern and likewise switched their allegiance to the Confederacy..
Few privates left the US army.
And if they did (without deserting) they would obviously have had to return all issued equipment that was not their property. (like weapons)
 
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#16
[QUOTE"Richard E. Schenk, An exception might be the 1200 M1860 Ames cavalry sabers Buchanan's Secretary of War, John Floyd, directed be sent to Virginia in early 1860.

You're spot on there Richard.

Also Ames did modifications on 1000 of the old style Virginia Manufactory, circa 1805- 1820 ish, "scimitar" blade dragoon sabers. Blades were shortened [and re-edged] and scabbards were modified shorter with copper [bronze] mounts and new drags. This contract also included the 1000 buff leather Dingee belts and Ames "Virginia" buckles. Finding a complete rig is a real challenge.
 

ucvrelics

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#17
What @speedenforcer ask was can you tie an 1857 model 1840 Ames wrist breaker to the South. Without inscription (period), or some other type of provenance the answer is NO.
There were model 1860 Ames that were sold to Va in the very early stages of the CW and Ive seen the different marking variations, the star etc. In my 45 years of collecting I have seen several that were "purported to be" and have only seen 2 that "WERE". It is also to be noted when we discuss very early CW period weapons procurement, Sam Colt swore he never sold guns to the South after the war started.:D
 

Jobe Holiday

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#18
My cousin has one of the 1st Virginia Volunteer Cavalry 1860 dated sabers. It also has the "Southern Star" on the pommel cap, and is "JT" inspected. It is heavily worn, with the upper part of the guard bent forward. The best part is he bought it just for the date, not knowing anything about the "Star", or them having been issued to Virginia. When he showed it to me I asked him if he had seen the name scratched on the upper hand guard? He was shocked to say the least. I looked the name up for him, and yes, it was a match with one of the 1st Virginia Volunteer Cavalry troopers! I now have first refusal on the sword.
J.
 
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#19
It also has the "Southern Star" on the pommel cap, and is "JT" inspected. It is heavily worn, with the upper part of the guard bent forward.
J.
I suspect the inspector's mark is "JH" not "JT". Those are the initials usually found on these swords. Most of these Virginia Ames are found in pretty rough condition, probably reflecting their hard use from the beginning to end of the war.
 

Jobe Holiday

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#20
I just looked at the sword again this morning. It is definitely and clearly marked "US/ JT/1860". I don't have any photos at this time. When I am able to do so I will post a photo of the markings for your database.

Perhaps "well worn" wasn't accurate, maybe well used would be a better description!
J.
 

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