Sword and scabbard

Object Number: 
1931.66ab
Date: 
ca. 1865
Medium: 
Steel, silver, brass, gilding; silver plate, brass, gilding
Dimensions: 
Overall: 41 3/4 x 5 1/2 x 4 in. ( 106 x 14 x 10.2 cm )
Marks: 
etched: on obverse of blade: "U.S." on shield and "E. PLURIBUS / UNUM" on banner (part of eagle insignia) etched: on reverse of blade: "U.S." engraved: on obverse of scabbard: "Lieut. Wm Henry Shelton / 1st N.Y. Lt Arty / from many friends / March 31st
Description: 
Presentation sword (saber) with curved, single-edged steel blade with two fullers, one broad and one narrow, and etched designs on obverse and reverse; gilded brass half-basket hilt with two major branches with floral tendrils joining elliptical counter-guard on obverse side, and quillon with globular finial with incised scroll motifs on flattened sides; molded silver grips wrapped with wire; helmet-shaped pommel of gilded brass with an eagle clutching a shield above a leaf border centering a flower molded on front; silver-plated scabbard with gilded brass mounts, including throat with openwork scroll design, leaf-molded upper and middle bands, each with a single carrying ring, and tip with leaf-molded drag; engraved inscription between upper and middle bands on obverse.
Gallery Label: 
This sword was presented to the donor, William Henry Shelton, on March 31, 1865 and was used by him at the funeral of President Abraham Lincoln. Shelton, who would later distinguish himself as an author and founder of the Salmagundi Club, served in the 1st New York Light Artillery during the Civil War.
Credit Line: 
Gift of William Henry Shelton
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group