December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
Nelson B. Gilbert enlisted in the Army on March 1, 1862 in Chester, Connecticut and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Company H, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery on May 22, 1861. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on December 11, 1863, transferred to Company C on January 15, 1864 and was discharged February 15, 1864. He re-enlisted in the 3rd Connecticut Light Artillery October 27 1864, first as a Second Lieutenant and was promoted back to First Lieutenant on December 6, 1864. He served with the 3rd Connecticut Light Artillery until he mustered out in Virginia on June 23, 1865. The 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery first served as infantry and were designated the 4th Connecticut Volunteers. In January 1862 they added artillery training to their regiment before joining the Peninsula Campaign in April 1862 as part McClellan’s siege train. The 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery was famous for having a feared dictator mortar, which shot a 200 pound exploding shell, mounted on a train car. At the siege of Yorktown Company H served in Battery No. 2, with 10 heavy guns. After Yorktown, 10 of the companies, including Gilbert’s, returned to infantry service in the 5th Corps, with detachments sent to temporarily fill regular army batteries during the campaign, with occasional calls for individual companies to serve heavy guns at New Bridge, Goldings Farm, Malvern Hill, and at Harrison’s Landing. Upon their return to Alexandria, they were posted to forts around Washington until the 1864 campaign, with some companies assigned field service, such as at Fredericksburg. When he re-enlisted in the 3rd Connecticut Light Battery in 1864 Gilbert rejoined a number of comrades from the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery. They were posted to the defenses of City Point, Grant’s army headquarters, a massive supply depot and transportation hub, in November 1864, manning 4 different redoubts, and armed and equipped as infantry as well as artillery for emergencies. Gilbert acted as adjutant at battery headquarters in Redoubt No. 2, with 8 4 - 1/2" siege guns commanding the railroad. He mustered out with the battery in June 1865. Gilbert passed away on June 17, 1880 in Omaha Nebraska. Gilbert’s unmarked Model 1850 foot officer’s sword is worn, and the presentation is located on the upper mount and reads “Lt. N.B. Gilbert / 1st Arty. C.V.”. Once unsheathed, the blade is revealed and exhibits its etched designs which have been muted by a gray patina. The designs feature geometric and patriotic motifs, and the blade’s obverse features geometric lines followed by an American flag that morphs into scrollwork which is halted by the letters “US” horizontally contained in a decorative vignette. The designs continue with more scrolls and lead to a more American flags and a shield, ending with a banner that reads “E Pluribus Unum” just above the unmarked ricasso. The reverse exhibits similar motifs beginning with more geometric lines ending with a large spread winged eagle with a banner in its beak that reads “E. Pluribus Unum” followed by more geometric designs and a panoply of flags arranged behind a patriotic shield just above the plain ricasso. The ricasso meets the hilt which features a brass guard decorated with open acanthus leaf scrollwork. The hilt also features a brass knucklebow and quillon that is in the form of a rolled leaf. The pommel also features foliate motifs as well as a tiered cap. In between the guard and pommel is the grip which features a grooved, center-swelled wooden handle wrapped in black leather. The leather is tightly bound to the grip with double twisted brass wire that fits neatly in the grooves of the handle. The sword is complete with its leather scabbard that features brass mounts, carry rings, and drag. The mounts are plain except for the inscription. CONDITION: The blade exhibits a dark gray patina and the etched designs have faded along the edge, erasing some of the detail. The eagle is missing its head and half of the “S” in “US” is missing. This wear continues to the ricasso. There are areas of pitting, as well as various chips along the edge of the blade which differentiate in size. The hilt exhibits a dark mustard patina along with scattered dark spots. The brass wire remains right but the grip is loose. The guard also wobbles. The scabbard leather is dry and exhibits grid-like cracking throughout its construction but the seam remains tight. The mounts appear to have been heavily cleaned and do not exhibit consistent patina with the brass components of the hilt. However, the bands and carry rings do exhibit patina that is consistent with the hilt. The lower mount exhibits various blemishes as well as two significant dents. All screws are present. The mounts remain firmly secured to the scabbard but the upper mount’s carry ring interferes with the quillon when the sword is fully sheathed. Overall fair. Accompanying the sword is a binder of research that contains scans of Gilbert's muster rolls, pension documents, and there is even a signed letter stating that Gilbert's family initially sold his presentation sword. The sword is rough, but is still a nice example of a presentation grade sword that was presented to an artillery officer who experienced extensive service throughout the Civil War. JLD
Blade Length
Overall Length
Binder of Research
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $1,968.00
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
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