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    Description

    Historic High Grade Civil War M1850 Foot Officer's Sword Presented to Captain William Donovan of the 16th Massachusetts Infantry. Donovan fought with the 16th and the Army of the Potomac, from 1861 through 1864, and commanded the regiment in The Wheatfield on the second day at Gettysburg. The 16th Mass. is included in Fox's register of 300 fighting regiments. Blade excellent with scrollwork and American eagle on the obverse and similar scrollwork and US on the reverse, all on a frosted background. The blade retains much of the original luster with just a few tiny nicks and some staining toward the tip. The regulation style hilt is perfect with traces of the original gilt visible in recessed areas. Unusual brown pebbled leather grip wrap with twisted brass wire also about perfect and unquestionably period. The all brass scabbard is beautifully inscribed below the top mount, "Presented to/ Captain Matthew Donovan/of Co. D/ 16 Reg. Mass. Volunteers/by members of his command/ April 8th 1862".The inscription was obviously applied with the mounts removed from the scabbard and a few letters are obscured by the top mount. The two upper brass mounts bear relief decoration of scroll work and military trophies. The bottom mount is heavily chaised and engraved with spread wing eagle, shield and US (the S backwards) at the base on the obverse and extensive floral and scroll work on the reverse. Brass carrying rings. The scabbard is overall excellent with just some minor dents near the bottom mount. Donovan joined the regiment at its inception in July of 1861. Its baptism by fire came at White Oak Swamp on 18 June 1862 where Donovan was captured. On June 22 Maj. Gen. McClellan sent a personal letter to Gen. Robert E. Lee inquiring as to Donovan's whereabouts and by the next day he had been exchanged and rejoined the regiment. After being heavily engaged at 2d Bull Run, the regiment entered the Battle of Gettysburg on the second day as part of Sickle's 3rd Corps. In the fierce fighting that ensued in the area of the Peach Orchard and The Wheatfield the regimental colonel was wounded and Donovan assumed command. Carr's Brigade, including the 16th, was decimated in the fighting and after the battle Donovan led the 75 survivors of the regiment to Warrenton Junction. After Gettysburg the regiment fought at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House where Donovan was wounded in the assault on the Bloody Angle. An attractive sword, steeped in history, wielded by a gallant officer through some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th-21st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,101

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