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    The Captured Sword of Lieutenant Colonel Quincy McNeil of the 2nd Illinois Cavalry Lieutenant Quincy McNeil was leading his men of the 2nd Illinois Cavalry as they occupied Holly Springs, Mississippi on December 20, 1862 when Confederate General Earl Van Dorn attacked the city, a town General Ulysses S. Grant was using as his supply headquarters.

    There are many reports of the famous raid when the Confederates routed the Union troops, many who were caught in bed, comfortable in their position of occupation of the town. Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant was even staying at the home of a Confederate officer who was away at war. Learning of the attack, she left on a rail car before she could be found.

    This 36" unmarked cavalry saber is stamped with a period stamp "Quincy McNeil" on the knucklebow. It is noted in accounts of the battle that Lieutenant Colonel Quincy McNeil responded quickly to the attack, unlike his superior officer Colonel Robert C. Murphy of the 8th Wisconsin who was relieved of his command after the invasion. Lieutenant Colonel McNeil formed a defensive perimeter with his six companies at the fairgrounds at Holly Springs and a fierce battle with Van Dorn's troops ensued. In what has been noted as one of the very few actual hand-to-hand sword battles of the Civil War, McNeil's' men were overwhelmed and were captured. It was then that this sword was taken by a Confederate soldier of Van Dorn's army.

    The Confederates paroled their captives and proceeded to take whatever they wanted or needed from the Union store and then blew up the Union munitions with much fanfare. They equipped themselves with new Union boots, greatcoats - even cigars. While the officers broke kegs of whiskey to prevent the troops from becoming drunk, bales of cotton were burned. Trains filled with the Union supplies the Van Dorn cavalrymen couldn't take with them were burned.

    This 36" blade of the sword is etched with a foliate pattern with the "U. S." device in the middle at 8" down the blade. On the reverse there is an elaborate spread-wing eagle with the "E. Pluribus Unum" ribbon in its claws. The leather washer at the ricasso appears to have been replaced.

    The guard closely resembles an Ames product with foliate designs at the knucklebow where McNeil's name is stamped. The attractive grip is made of ray skin and has 12 braided wires securing it to the wood underneath which is showing slightly at the guard end. The knucklebow shows a rosette on each side where it is loose at the pommel cap.

    This is a very interesting captured Union officer's saber from one of the most noted Union defeats of the Civil War.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2007
    24th-25th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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