December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
William Tecumseh Sherman is both loved and criticized, as he achieved recognition for his superb military strategy and leadership, and is equally disapproved of for the harshness of some of his military campaigns. Born in Ohio, Sherman graduated West Point in 1840, served in California during the Mexican-American War, and resigned in 1853. In 1859 he became superintendent of a Louisiana academy, now LSU, a position from which he resigned when the state seceded from the Union. He returned to the army as a Colonel in May 1861 and shortly thereafter a brigadier general of volunteers, commanding a brigade at first Bull Run, and then transferred to the western theatre. He forged a close partnership with Grant, serving under him in 1862 and 1863 at Forts Henry and Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and the Chattanooga campaign. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as commander in the Western Theater, out-maneuvered or defeated both Johnston and Hood to capture Atlanta and led the March to the Sea through Georgia and take Savannah and then conducted the campaign of the Carolinas. His victories helped secure Lincoln’s re-election and undermined the ability and willingness of the Confederacy to continue fighting. Ironically, his surrender terms to his enemies at the end of the war were considered too generous. Sherman progressed through the grades of brigadier general and major general both of volunteers and in the regular army. When Grant became President 1869, Sherman succeeded him as commanding general from 1869 until 1883. He refused to be drawn into party politics and in 1875 published his memoirs, which became one of the best-known first-hand accounts of the Civil War. During his illustrious career, Sherman received many gifts from across the world as tokens of respect and admiration. He spent the first year after he was appointed Commanding General of the Army traveling around Europe and the Middle East from 1871-1872. The 1871 date of the presentation corresponds with Sherman’s ten-month tour of Europe and the Mediterranean from November 1871 to September 1872, where Spain was the first stop, visiting Madeira, Cadiz, and Gibraltar courtesy of the U.S.S. Wabash, followed by, “a general tour of Spain to Bourdeaux” by land and then through southern France, Italy, and on to Egypt, Constantinople and Sebastopol. This sword was most likely gifted to Sherman during his visit to Spain. The presentation is located on the blade and reads “AL GENERAL EN GEFE / DEL EJERCITO AMERICANO SHERMAN” (TO THE GENERAL IN CHIEF OF THE AMERICAN ARMY SHERMAN) on the obverse of the blade and “FABRICA DE TOLEDO 1871.” (TOLEDO FACTORY 1871) on the reverse. The blade is double edged and ends with a spearpoint. Referring to the blade as ornate is an understatement. The designs feature panoplies of arms and armor, foliate scrolls, and profile depictions of Spanish conquistadors. Just before the guard, is a spread winged eagle on the obverse, and a patriotic shield on the reverse, tying the Spanish and American motifs together. The hilt is constructed of brass which is cast and chased, and features decorations that nearly overshadow the blade. The guard features a soaring eagle with a patriotic shield protecting its breast, as it carries olive branches and arrows gripped between its talons. The counterguard is plain on the obverse but is adorned with oak leaves with acorns overtop of 16 stars. The quillon is cast and designed as scrolls of acanthus leaves. After the guard is a ferrule which is adorned with the faces of blaring women and the head of an eagle. Complementing the ferrule is the brass knucklebow, which features foliate scrolls and the upper body of a female warrior which is below the head of a wolf. Finally, the pommel is in the shape of an arabesque dome which is decorated with various designs. Between the brass components of the hilt is a fluted wood grip with brass wire neatly fitted in the grooves. The sword is complete with its scabbard, which is constructed of blued steel and brass mounts that depict laurel leaves with two carry rings. CONDITION: The sword presents just as well as it did to Sherman in 1871. The blade remains bright and the tip retains its point. Aging is evident on the length of the spine. There are no chips along the edge. The beautiful gold washed decorations remain nearly unmolested. The guard retains most of its gilt but exhibits a light patina. The grip is in very good condition with no chips or cracks. Brass wire remains tightly secured to the grip. The scabbard exhibits pitting throughout its length and exhibits a chocolate patina through the remaining blued surface. The mounts retain most of their gilt. Overall excellent. The sword comes with a display case that was provided by the consigner. As one of the most well-known figures of American military history, Sherman is disliked for some of his later policies in the American west, and still vilified by many for his determination to bring the war home to the south in his March to the Sea. He was nevertheless a premier combat commander and strategist who avoided political entanglements, performed his duty with a rigid honesty, and had no illusions about the price of war paid by vanquished and victor both. This is a remarkable opportunity to acquire an elegant sword actually owned by one of America's most renowned military figures. JLD
Blade Length
31 - 1/2"
Overall Length
Accessories: Display Case
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $9,600.00
Estimate: $10,000 - $20,000
Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
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