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    Description

    GENERAL McCLELLAN'S PRESENTATION SWORD CARRIED BY HIM CURING THE CIVIL WAR. High grade M1840 Foot Officer's Sword presented to Major General George McClellan. This sword is listed in John D. Hamilton's book "The Ames Sword Company 1829 - 1935" as having been ordered by Bailey & Co. of Philadelphia for Captain McClellan (sic) on December 20, 1848 at a cost of $110.00. George Brinton McClellan was born in Philadelphia in 1826 and graduated from West Point in 1846. McClellan fought in the Battles of Contreras, Churubusco, Chapultepec and the investment of Mexico City, the actions for which this sword is presented. McClellan subsequently served as an instructor at West Point and was sent to Europe to study military organization and tactics, bearing witness to the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War. He authored several texts and manuals for the use of the US military based on these experiences. McClellan resigned from the US Army in 1857 and became president of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad in 1860. With the outbreak of the Civil war McClellan joined the Union Army and was commissioned major general in the regular US Army in May of 1861, thence appointed commanding general of the Union Army in November of 1861. McClellan exhibited consummate skills in training and organization and was thought of highly by his men, but, he suffered from, as Lincoln characterized it, 'a case of the slows'. Although achieving some success on the battlefield, and leading Union forces to a bloody victory at Antietam, his refusal to aggressively pursue Lee and bring him to battle resulted in Lincoln dismissing him in November of 1862. In 1864, running on a peace platform, McClellan became the Democratic candidate opposing Lincoln, who soundly defeated him. McClellan was governor of New Jersey, 1878 - 1881, and died in Orange, New Jersey in 1885.

    The sword is a presentation grade M1840 foot officer's. Brass hilt w/the obverse guard having a separately affixed silvered copper plaque depicting an American eagle on shield, crossed cannons and flags surmounted by a riband. Knuckle bow, pommel, grip ferrules and the face of the quillon cast with beautifully finished relief decoration. A rectangular, faceted, amethyst is set at the pommel in a chaised brass mount. The silver grip is exquisitely engraved with cannons, flags and an American shield surmounted by a liberty cap, cross hatched panels on both sides and an American eagle in the center surrounded by floral scroll motifs on the reverse. Folding brass counter guard on the reverse, characteristic of the M1840. The 32 ¼" straight blade is etched for 2/3 of its length with panoplies of arms, floral/scroll motifs and an eagle with riband and motto on the obverse. Also a panel at the base of the blade above the ricasso etched "Ames Mfg. Co./Chicopee/Mass.". The reverse of the blade includes floral/scroll motifs interspersed with panoplies of arms and flags. The back of the blade is etched with a leaf and vine motif. All engraving is highlighted with profusely applied hand engraved details. The all brass scabbard is deeply chaised and engraved with scroll and geometric motifs above the top mount, the scroll edged presentation panel between the two top mounts and below the middle mount with an 11" section surmounted by a liberty cap with a panoply of flags, American shield, and drums atop a knapsack and blanket roll. Below that are arms interspersed w/scroll motifs terminating in an arrow. All mounts with profuse decoration cast in deep relief, beautifully executed w/hand engraved details. Brass carrying rings. The seven line inscription reads as follows, "Presented to Lieut. Geo. B. Mc Clellan of the Corps of Sappers and Miners USA by a number of gentlemen as a testimonial of their high admiration for his gallantry during the War with Mexico at the siege of Vera Cruz, 2d Battle of Cerro Gordo, 3d Battle of Contreras, 4th Battle of Churubusco, 5th Chapultepec, 6th Capture of the City of Mexico". A very important and incredibly striking American sword presented to one of the Civil War's most important military leaders. This sword was carried by McClellan during the Civil War and there are a number of period photographs showing him with this very sword by his side. A rare opportunity to won one of the most important American swords in existence.

    Condition: All brass retains 95% of the original gold wash with a small section in the center of the presentation showing more significant wear but fully legible. The scabbard with a few minor dents near the tip. The silver grip and separately affixed silver plaque on the guard with dark untouched patina. The bade retains touches of the original luster, generally light gray with just a few very minor scattered stains. The entire sword is completely untouched.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,576

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