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    Description

    US M1860 Cavalry Saber Doubtless the most historic US M1860 cavalry saber we have ever cataloged. The saber itself is a very scarce J. Bleckman / Germany contract in excellent untouched condition with perfect hilt / grip, scabbard smooth and dark gray with just some very minor scattered salt and peppering, and the blade smooth and clean with no rust, pitting or nicks, and crisp markings Obviously the saber was well taken care of. The scabbard is deeply inscribed in period flowing script, between the ring mounts on the scabbard, "Sgt. Al Sieber / 1st Minnesota / July 4th 1864." Sieber's remarkable military career which eventually became the 'stuff of legend', began with his enlistment in the 1st Minnesota Vols. on 3/4/62 as a 19 year old private. He served with the regiment through a year of heavy fighting at Fair Oaks, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. The greatly depleted regiment arrived on the field at Gettysburg early on July 2. Later that day, as Confederate forces began to break through the Federal lines, composed primarily of Sickles' frightened and retreating troops, Gen, Hancock, ordered the 1st Minnesota to charge the superior Confederate force. Although the fierceness of the regiment's charge did serve to halt the Confederate advance, the 1st Minnesota suffered 82% casualties, including Albert Sieber. The charge of the 1st Minnesota was characterized in "Decisive Battles of the Civil War" by the following statement, "There is no other unit in the history of warfare that ever made such a charge and then stood its ground, sustaining such losses." Sieber's wounds were grave and the result of a piece of artillery shell smashing into the right side of his head, and being simultaneously struck by a bullet that pierced his ankle and traveled up his calf to his knee. Sieber spent the next five moths in various hospitals recovering, remarkably, and was transferred to the Invalid Corps on Dec. 24, 1863. He spent the next year and a half continuing to convalesce and serving as a guard at the Elmira, N. Y. POW camp, mustering out 11/14/65. He never returned to duty with the 1st Minnesota because of the severity of his wounds.
    After the war Sieber worked as a cowboy in California, prospected for silver in Nevada and finally, in 1868 moved to Arizona, where he remained for the rest of his life. Initially he managed a ranch in Prescott, where he developed a reputation, which is local legend, as being able to 'track and catch just about anybody or anything'. As a result of this reputation, in 1871, he was hired by General Crook as Chief of Scouts with eighty Avapai-Apaches under his charge. The "wildest" Apaches were hired as scouts, recognizing that they enjoyed battle and knew their kindred's hiding places. Over the next few years, under General Crook, Sieber was involved in most major actions against the Tonto - Apaches, and was occasionally sent to Mexico as a spy. Many photographs exist of Sieber during this period, including one taken in 1877 in Camp Verde, Arizona, in fringed buckskins and looking every bit the part of the hardened Indian scout and fighter he had become. He was also sketched by Frederick Remington, a portrait that still exists. When asked how he was able to deal with the unruly Apache scouts, Sieber stated that, "I do not deceive them........When I tell them I am going to kill them, I do it, and when I tell them I am their friend, they know it. Subsequently, while dealing with a troublesome group of renegade Apache scouts, led by the Apache Kid, Sieber was severely wounded in the foot, with the resulting surgery leaving his left leg three inches shorter than his right. In December 1890, Sieber ended his career as "Chief of Scouts".
    Sieber's final job was supervising a group of Apaches during the construction of a road leading to Roosevelt Dam, and on February 19, 1907 he was killed when a huge boulder became dislodged and crushed him. The remarkable Albert Sieber was dead at the age of 63.
    Although the precise reason for the inscription on the sword is unknown, it is unquestionably period, and the saber likely accompanied Sieber through the rest of his life as a cherished memento, likely accounting for the superior condition. A great artifact, personally associated with one of the truly legendary American military figures of the 19th century.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2014
    12th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,939

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