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    Magnificent Jeweled Ames Presentation Sword to Captain Allen Lowd for Action at Fort Texas (Brown) in 1846
    Allen Lowd was appointed 2d Lt. in the Corps of Artillery on 1 May 1814 and promoted to 1st Lt. 20 April 1818. He was transferred to the 2d U. S. Artillery 1 June 1821, promoted to captain in 1836, and breveted major for gallant conduct in the Defense of Fort Brown (Texas), 9 May 1846. And it is for that gallantry that Lowd was awarded this sword. Lowd was subsequently commissioned major in the 1st U. S. Artillery 9 October 1853, and died in service 25 November 1854, having served 40 years in the United States Army. Construction of Fort Texas, as it was originally designated, was begun in 1846. This small, star shaped, earthen redoubt was clearly meant to taunt the Mexicans in hopes that they would commit an openly hostile act. The fort was an extension and representation of America's firm belief of the philosophy of "Manifest Destiny." Although President Polk realized that he was courting war, he was determined that Mexico should be perceived as the aggressor. Polk was quickly obliged when in April of 1846, a force of 1600 Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande, surrounded a force of 63 U.S. Dragoons, and killed or captured all but one of the Americans. Joseph Hardee, later a Confederate general, was among those captured. On May 3, 1846, Mexican artillery, based in Matamoros, began a week long bombardment of the fort. The barrage was answered by American guns and a number of Mexican cannon were disabled. Capt. Allen Lowd commanded a section of the 2d U. S. Artillery with four 18 Pdrs and his effective management of these guns, as well as the light guns of Lt. Braxton Bragg, convinced the Mexicans that a frontal assault on the fort would be far too costly General Arista then settled in for a siege of the American garrison. Arista held overwhelming numerical superiority over the small American force manning the fort, with some 5700 troops at his disposal. Several clandestine attempts by the Mexicans to assault the fort were promptly discovered and broken up by effective American artillery fire, again led by Captain Lowd. During the initial bombardment, on May 6, Major Jacob Brown was killed by Mexican artillery fire. Meanwhile, General Winfield Scott had mounted an expedition at Point Isabel, to relieve the fort. To contest the advance of Scott, Gen. Arista repositioned his forces away from Fort Texas, to the plains of Palo Alto, resulting in the first major battle of the Mexican War, a resounding American victory. Upon Scott's arrival the fort was renamed Fort Brown in honor of Major Brown who was killed in its defense. Although the American garrison suffered only two killed and ten wounded, the action at Ft. Brown turned a Mexican - American border dispute into a war, with the eventual result that some one million square miles of territory were added to the American nation.

    The sword is a consummate example of the swordsmith's art. The hilt and scabbard mounts are entirely of silver gilt. The obverse counterguard incorporates a separately affixed spread wing eagle over a panoply of arms with a wreath in its beak. The knuckle bow, pommel cap, and quillon display cast scroll motifs. A large faceted amethyst is mounted on the top of the pommel. The sides of the grip are of mother of pearl and the faces are chaised silver plaques with scroll motifs on the obverse and a faceted aquamarine mounted in the center. The reverse has scroll motifs with the central theme of an eagle surmounting a globe, really beautifully done. Folding counterguard on the back of the hilt, the sword being modeled on the 1840 foot officer's. The all brass scabbard utilizes silver gilt mounts which are decorated with deep relief cast scroll motifs and panoplies of arms. Scroll motifs engraved at the throat and a large exquisitely executed spread wing eagle between the two top mounts holding a riband in its beak with the legend "Fort Brown Texas May 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th 6th 7th & 8th 1846". A 9" section below the middle mount is chaised/engraved with scroll motifs terminating in a coiled serpent, a panoply of arms with a shield and knapsack with blanket roll, both highlighted with a lone star, doubtless representative of Texas, all of this is surmounted by a liberty cap. Silver gilt carrying rings with two on the top mount and one on the middle. The inscription is contained in a scroll edged panel on the obverse of the scabbard between the two top mounts and reads as follows, "To Capt. Allen Lowd U. S. Army from Citizens of Rochester, N. Y. as a testimonial of their respect for his virtues as a man and his Bravery as an Officer". The 31" double edged blade is of the style normally used on the 1832 General and Staff Officer's sword and is etched for 2/3 of its length with a frosted background. Obverse with floral/scroll motifs, panoply of arms and spread wing eagle with riband and motto. The reverse includes floral scroll motifs with cannon barrels, and crossed American flags and American shield in the center. A panel near the base is etched "N. P. Ames/Cutler/Springfield". All etching is profusely highlighted with hand engraved details. The sword is presented in its original maroon velvet lined and padded walnut case which is custom made and form fitted to the sword. Closure is achieved with three large flat brass hooks and screws. Although the actual inscription is not dated the use of the Ames Springfield address validates that the sword was made no later than 1847. In simple terms an absolutely beautiful sword, in superb condition, presented to a dedicated American officer who played a pivotal role in the opening engagement of the Mexican War.

    Condition: Hilt mint, mounts mint, blade mint. The brass scabbard just shows some wear to the original gold wash on both sides between the top mounts and on the reverse at the throat, otherwise mint. The case shows some wear to the velvet lining as would be expected, with a rich patina on the wood which has an old varnish finish. A small piece is missing on the lower section at the middle where the closure screw was attached, minor.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2013
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,512

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