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Sword and scabbard

Object Number: 
1943.443ab
Date: 
1829-1831
Medium: 
Steel, gold, other metal; leather, brass, gilding
Dimensions: 
Overall: 33 7/8 x 4 3/4 x 1 in. ( 86 x 12.1 x 2.5 cm )
Marks: 
etched: on obverse of blade: "sr", "HORNET", and "PEACOCK" etched: on reverse of blade: "HORNET", "PENGUIN", and "JOSEPHO / SMOOT / FILIO FORTI / ET FIDELI / MARYLAND / DEBIT"
Description: 
Presentation sword with straight, single-edged steel blade with etched designs and inscriptions covering over three quarters of length on obverse on reverse; gold (gilded brass?) hilt with cross quillons in the form of two open triangles with incurving sides; oval shield-breasted eagle medallion applied at center of quillons on obverse side; four-sided grip with embossed decoration, including an oval medallion with a full-length classical figure at center on obverse and reverse; barrel-shaped pommel with geometric motifs around top, a recessed floral band at center, and ribbing around base; black leather scabbard with gilded brass throat and middle band, each with one carrying ring, and gilded brass tip; throat embossed with fouled anchor, banner, spear and other implements inside an oval wreath; middle band embossed with image of Neptune in horse-drawn chariot; tip embossed with oak leaf and acorn spray.
Gallery Label: 
The state of Maryland awarded this gold-hilted sword to midshipman Joseph Smoot for his heroic actions on board the sloop-of-war USS Hornet, when it captured the British brig Peacock off South America during the War of 1812. News of the impressive victory made the Hornet's captain, James Lawrence, a national hero. Captain Lawrence was mortally wounded months later, and became famous for his dying command, "Don't give up the ship!"
Bibliography: 
"Don't Give Up the Ship": A Catalogue of the Eugene H. Pool Collection of Captain James Lawrence (Salem: Peabody Museum, 1942), p. 68.
Credit Line: 
The Eugene H. Pool Collection of Captain James Lawrence, Gift of Dr. Eugene H. Pool
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group