Sword and scabbard
Steel, gold, other metal; leather, brass, gilding
Overall: 33 7/8 x 4 3/4 x 1 in. ( 86 x 12.1 x 2.5 cm )
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"
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.
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!"
"Don't Give Up the Ship": A Catalogue of the Eugene H. Pool Collection of Captain James Lawrence (Salem: Peabody Museum, 1942), p. 68.
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.