December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
A native of Lyons, New York, Alanson Dunning Gaston enlisted in the Army on September 2, 1861 a the young age of 22. He began his service as the Company Quartermaster Sergeant for Company M, 1st Iowa Cavalry and mustered in on September 12, 1862. Discharged for promotion exactly one month later on August 12, 1862, he joined the newly formed 26th Iowa Infantry as a Second Lieutenant of Company A effective September 20, 1862. The regiment spent most of its service in the 15th Corps. Gaston was promoted to Captain on New Year's Day, January 1,1863, roughly dating the sword’s inscription, though it is likely this is also the sword he carried as a lieutenant. Shortly afterward the regiment lost 120 men killed and wounded while taking Arkansas Post and then joined in attacking Vicksburg directly. During the engagements around Vicksburg Gaston was wounded on May 18, 1863 and is listed to have received his wound at Walnut Hills Mississippi. In Fall the of 1863, the regiment fought at Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge and Ringgold, and in the Spring joined Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign, taking casualties at Resaca, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta and Jonesboro. Later that year, the regiment joined Sherman’s March to the Sea and fought in his Campaign of the Carolinas to the end of the war. The regiment also saw action at Bentonville which was one of the last major battles of the Civil War that was fought on the east coast in order to force General Johnston's army to capitulate and prevent a prolonged guerilla war. Gaston resigned in May 1865 and returned to Iowa after the war. Although a medical student in 1860, he took up farming, and having married in 1864, raised four children. In the late 1880s he obtained a patronage appointment through an Iowa senator as a doorkeeper in the U.S. Senate, a position he kept until his death on November 25, 1920. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery. While not as flashy as other presentation swords, this foot officer model was honorably carried by a young officer throughout his military service. The presentation which is script engraved, is located on the upper mount and reads “Capt. / A.D. Gaston / Co. A 26th I.V.”. When unsheathed, the blade reveals its etched decorations. The decorations are mostly dominated by acanthus scrolls. The obverse of the blade features acanthus and foliate scrolls with a small spread winged federal eagle at the center of the blade above a small panoply of arms that is wrapped with foliate scrolls which continue all the way to the ricasso. The reverse also features foliate scrolls that are followed by a larger panoply of arms intertwined with vegetation, that rests above the letters "U.S." followed by more foliate scrolls which lead to the ricasso. The ricasso is blank and the entirety of the sword is devoid of markings. The cast brass hilt features a guard that is adorned with the typical open foliate scrolls with scattered budding flowers. The grip features a grooved, center-swelled wooden handle wrapped in high quality sharkskin. The domed brass pommel is decorated with scrollwork of laurel leaves. The scabbard is of black leather, featuring brass mounts. The obverse features the above mentioned presentation and the reverse is marked by Ames and reads "AMES MFG CO. / CHITCOPEE / MASS." The mounts are otherwise plain and devoid of decoration. CONDITION: The blade exhibits a light gray patina with scattered areas of pitting which are prevalent towards the tip. The brass hilt has darkened with age and has blackened in some areas. The sharkskin remains intact, but the brass wire has come unfastened and is loosely wrapped in two sections around the grip. While the scabbard is complete, it exhibits heavy wear and the drag has completely separated. There are three areas on the scabbard which are reinforced with black electrical tape. The scabbard body features a plethora of scuffs, creases, and cracks. The middle and upper mounts remain firmly attached to the scabbard body and exhibit a reddish patina, most likely from handling and poor quality brass of the era. The right of the D and the V of the inscription are rubbed. Despite the heavy wear, this is a nice example of a field-used sword carried by an officer in the most important western campaigns of the Civil War. Overall good. JLD
Blade Length
30 - 1/2"
Overall Length
36 - 1/2"
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $1,680.00
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Number Bids: 6
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
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