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    Description

    "Victory or Death"

    1779 Revolutionary War Klingenthal Cavalry Sword.
    Traditional horseman's sword with a 36-inch straight blade marked VICTORY / OR / DEATH above a panoply of arms on obverse and DRAGOON / OF / VIRGINIA with proof, a flaming bomb and a visored helmet [as Giles Cromwell's research refers to them] on the reverse. Top edge, near hilt marked KLINGENTHAL. Brass hilted in the French style with a crude design and pattern. It is possible these swords were hilted after their arrival into Virginia, suggests Giles Cromwell, leading authority on the subject. Handle is wood and leather-wrapped.
    According to Giles' research and article, he mentions of a similar style sword to this type, which is in the collection of the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. This sword, more than likely, was fitted with a leather scabbard, no longer present. Overall length of the complete sword is 41 1/2-inches. A great article about this type of sword and French swords for Virginia can be found online at ehcnc.org [Edenton Historical Commission]. The article is titled, "The Story of French Swords Imported for the Virginia Militia During the American Revolution and their Long and Distinguished Service in post-Revolutionary Virginia" by Giles Cromwell, the leading authority on the procurement of French swords for Virginia during the Revolutionary War.

    The Continental Army was slow to accept the cavalry as an integral component of the war effort. Howe's 17th Light Dragoons were a decisive element in Washington's defeat at White Plains on October 28, 1776. Washington was forced to send out an appeal for reinforcements. Virginia sent three companies of cavalry, one commanded by a 21-year old named Henry Lee, whose exploits would earn him the sobriquet "Light Horse Harry Lee". Lee had been commissioned a Captain in the Virginia Light Dragoons that year. Washington wrote to Congress on December 11, 1776: "From the experience I have had in this campaign of the utility of Horse, I am convinced there is no carrying on the war without them and I would therefore recommend the establishment of one or more Corps... in addition to those already raised in Virginia." Though never numbering more than 500 troops, the American dragoons gave invaluable service in raiding British supplies, patrolling and scouting... often making the critical difference in a battle's outcome.

    Condition: Good for this seldom seen example. Blade with an overall patina and moderate to heavy areas of pitting. Handle a bit loose and loosening grip. Brass hilt with numerous dings and mars from age and handling wear.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2017
    10th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,163

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