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    Description

    Gold Mounted Sword Presented by the Congress of the United States to Benjamin Johnson for the Defense of Fort Stephenson at Sandusky, Ohio, August 2 1813 The blade bearing, in panel, the following etched inscription, "Presented by the President of the U.S. to Lieutenant Benjamin Johnson" the corresponding reverse panel etched " Pursuant to a Resolution of Congress of the 13th of February 1835." 30" double edge ovoid blade etched for 2/3 its length with laurel boughs, 13 stars in an arch and a panoply consisting of a shield with arrows and laurel sprigs surrounded by rays. The blade shows areas of original luster mixed with grey and dark staining. The cruciform hilt is solid gold with the crossguard displaying deeply cast acanthus leaves on a stippled background. The langets are in the form of maple leaves, the obverse bearing the legend "Groghan" and the reverse "Johnson". The gold grip is rectangular in cross section, with the obverse bearing a raised panel "Sandusky" surrounded by rays. The reverse is a plain raised panel surrounded by acanthus leaves. The sides of the grip are each decorated with 13 five pointed stars. The ovoid pommel is chased with acanthus leaves, the obverse bearing an oval panel with "U. S." and the reverse a raised American shield with "1813" in the field. Hilt is excellent showing minor dents and scratches. The fluted gilt brass scabbard utilizes solid gold mounts. The double ringed upper mount exhibits two vertical lines or arrow flechettes with acanthus leaf panels. The lower mount with an arrow like central theme terminating in a leaf/scroll motif. Scabbard excellent showing minor dents.
    Fort Stephenson was garrisoned by 160 men with an iron 6 pounder cannon, and commanded by 21 year old Kentuckian, Major George Groghan, of the regular army. General William Henry Harrison deemed the position to be untenable and ordered Groghan to abandon it. However, by the time orders reached Groghan the fort was surrounded by a force of British regulars and their Indian allies, numbering over a thousand. Groghan nonetheless, was determined to maintain the post. Upon being offered surrender terms by the British, with the warning that "our immense body of Indians cannot be constrained from massacring the whole garrison in the event of our undoubted success" the Americans responded that " When the fort shall be taken there will no one left to massacre. It will not be given up while a man is able to resist". On the afternoon of August 2 1813 the British began their assault. Croghan ordered the defenders to hold fire until the attackers were within close range. Once within range the garrison opened fire along with the fort's artillery. The attack fell back, the British tried and failed several more times leaving 120 dead and wounded on the field at a loss to the Americans of one dead and seven wounded. Finally some 22 years later, by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, Groghan was presented a gold medal, while Johnson, and the five other officers engaged at Fort Stephenson were awarded swords.
    A truly elegant and refined gold mounted sword presented by the Congress and the President of the United States to a heroic American officer for one of the more remarkable defensive actions of the war of 1812.
    The sword passed to Benjamin Johnson's daughter Anna Adelia Johnson who married William Waller in 1845 and has passed down to the current generation.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2013
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,963

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