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    Description

    GENERAL POLK'S UNIQUE JAMES CONNING MOBILE, ALABAMA CONFEDERATE STAFF OFFICER'S SWORD ATTRIBUTED TO LIEUTENANT GENERAL LEONIDAS POLK IN ALBAUGH. This is the exact sword pictured in FIG 31-F in Albaugh's 'Photo Supplement'. The brass guard exhibits a CS pierced in the basket along with floral and scroll motifs. There is cast decoration on the outside of the guard and on the top of the quillon. The leather wrapped grip utilizes twisted brass wire. The knuckle bow is joined to the pommel with a brass pin and has a slot for the sword knot. The pommel cap is unique in our experience exhibiting hand hammered decoration with a stippled finish. Another unique detail is the silver Christian cross inlaid on the top of the peen. The inside face of the guard is decorated with hundreds of tiny lines with a stippled border, the recessed outer face of the guard has similar decoration. Additionally there are rather crude engraved lines that radiate from the grip and an identical Christian cross is engraved at the back. of the guard where it intersects with the knuckle bow, doubtless harkening back to Polk's career as an Episcopalian clergyman and bishop. The 30 ½" straight blade has an unstopped fuller which terminates 5" from the tip and 1 1/8" from the guard. The exquisite etching is also unique in our experience. The base of the obverse has a five pointed star on a cross hatched background. Above this is a Confederate shield surmounted by a 2d national Confederate flag and a riband with "Confederate States. There are floral and scroll motifs intertwined throughout with a stand of flags and arms in the center. The reverse has a fan like motif on the same cross hatched background at the base. Above this is a stand of flags including a Confederate battle flag. The balance is covered with floral and scroll motifs with a very intricate old English CS in the center. All etching is profusely highlighted with hand engraved details. There is a cryptic mark of three dots on the obverse of the blade at the base. The iron scabbard, while period, and fitting the sword snugly is, in fact a replacement, the original scabbard as pictured in Albaugh apparently having been lost or destroyed. The scabbard has intricately pierced brass mounts which are extensively chaised and engraved with floral and scroll designs. The ring mounts display a cast laurel leaf and berry motif with brass carrying rings. Leonidas Polk was a North Carolina native and West Pointer who resigned his commission soon after graduation. He immediately took up the cloth and became an Episcopal minister being elevated to Missionary Bishop of the Southwest in 1838 and Bishop of Louisiana in 1841. At the personal urging of Jefferson Davis, Polk joined the Confederate Army and was commissioned a major general on June 25, 1861. His early service was with the Army of the Mississippi. He was commissioned a lieutenant general October 10, 1862, commanding a corps in the Army of Tennessee. Polk was engaged at Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, the Tullahoma Campaign and the Atlanta Campaign He was killed when struck by an artillery round at Pine Mountain on June 14, 1864. While not one of the shining lights of the Confederate high command, Polk was a dedicated, if reluctant, soldier, who gave his life in defense of the South. A unique sword for both its form and famous owner.

    Condition: Brass hilt with nice untouched patina. Grip and wire both tight and excellent. The blade has scattered light pitting with rather heavy pitting on the last 6" toward the tip, otherwise gray. The replacement iron scabbard is black and untouched with the mounts having an untouched patina. The bottom mount has a severe dent at the bottom and the drag is bent.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,464

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