July 12-14, 2022 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/12/2022
Exceptional Civil War nonregulation presentation sword, styled in the pattern of the Model 1860 Cutlass, and named to a US Marine Corps artillery officer. Horace Almy Manchester was born in Providence, Rhode Island during the year 1812. By the time of the Civil War, the middle-aged Manchester was a successful Democrat who was already well established with a prominent legal career. Nevertheless, he decided to serve when the 1st Marine Artillery was being organized. Manchester mustered in on December 1, 1861, a month after his friend Colonel William Howard was authorized to recruit the organization. Colonel Howard is recorded in “The Union army: a history of military affairs in the loyal states, 1861-65 -- records of the regiments in the Union army -- cyclopedia of battles -- memoirs of commanders and soldiers, Volume II: New York, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio” to have organized the regiment, with Lieutenant Colonel Horace A. Manchester and Major Charles E. Mears listed as his subordinates. The regiment was organized in New York City with the purpose of service on gunboats. The personnel signed on for 3 years and would be tasked with harassing Confederate lines via gunboats which were provided for them. The regiment served at Annapolis, Maryland and was attached to the 18th and 10th Corps beginning in August 1862. The regiment participated in the engagements of Roanoke Island, Elizabeth City, New Berne, Elizabeth, the Siege of Fort Macon, South Mills, Tranter's Creek, Swift Creek, Neuse River, Washington, near Shiloh, Rawle's Mills, an expedition to Goldsboro, Kinston and Folly Island, and several other minor affairs. The unit, as well as Manchester, is well covered in the publication "The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States, 1861-65..." where Manchester reported on the conducting of naval operations in North Carolina during mid-December 1862. Commander Alexander Murray, wrote of the actions led by Manchester during the Expedition Against Goldsborough, North Carolina, and stated that “This flotilla left Newburn on the evening of the 12th instant - the Alisson, Port Royal, Ocean Wave, and Wilson, in the advance under Colonel Manchester- with orders to reconnoiter, and in the case of attack or the discovery of batteries to fall back on the heavier vessels. This movement was partially strategic, and was very successful. The attack on the batteries, and the falling back of the lighter boats, the shelling of the woods, and the feint to land a force on the north bank, had the desired effect..." Manchester also wrote a detailed report regarding the action and indicated that he and his men had fired upon the Confederate batteries with their Parrott gun, "the first fire being within cannister range. Three shells were exploded within the batteries with apparent effect, as the enemy ceased their fire for some after." He later remarked about subsequent engagements "Of the enemy one was shot from the bridge and fell into the river, and two men were blown to pieces on the bank. At the log-house, 30 men are said to have been in it, when two 30-pounder Parrott's, loaded with canister, were fired through it, at a distance of two hundred feet, and at the Oldfield Bank Landing, the fire of the Ocean Wave, North State, and Port Royal was direct, and within four hundred feet of the enemy." Manchester and his men performed exceptionally well in their engagements and their actions in North Carolina were no exception. Their boats received damage, though not severe. For a daring engagement, they only they lost 1 man killed, 3 severely wounded, with at least 1 dying of his wounds, and several with minor wounds. It was recorded that Manchester lacked the qualifications to command his men, and the brazen Marine officer wrote to General Edward Canby in an effort to defend himself against these claims. Judging by the accounts of the operations in early 1863, the records surely advocate that Manchester was a capable officer. It is possible that the issues stemmed from earlier in his career, as he apparently had domestic issues as well, as he publicly forbade anyone from doing business on his behalf, especially his wife. In a letter dated January 24, 1863 Manchester was dismissed from service “Lieut Col H.A. Manchester, Marine Artillery, New York Vols. Is hereby dismissed the service for inefficiency, want of capacity, and conduct prejudicial to the public interests." Given his political affiliations and outspokenness, it would not be surprising if politics were part of the reason for his dismissal. The 1st Marine Artillery was later disbanded in March, 1863. During its service, the regiment lost a total of 90 men, 1 officer and 14 men killed in action, 2 men mortally wounded, 1 officer and 72 men died of disease and other causes. After his service, Manchester later moved to Stockton, California where he passed away in 1877. Despite his dismissal, Manchester was still a successful officer who lead his men through a variety of dangerous engagements against the enemy. His presentation cutlass is impressive and an officer of his caliber would merit such a sword. The presentation is located on the upper mount "Presented to / Lt. Colonel / H.A. Manchester / by his Friends attached / to the U.S. Marine Artillery." This sword is quite attractive and features a 31” lightly curved blade which features a single fuller which transitions into narrow double fullers at about half its length. The blade features beautiful, detailed etchings just before the double fuller on both sides of the blade. The obverse decorations feature a bold federal eagle, perched on clouds with its wings spread in front of sun rays, contained in a classical vignette and flanked by intricate scrollwork. The reverse features a similar design, with the eagle replaced by a panoply of arms. The sword is marked “Tiffany & Co. / New York” on the obverse ricasso and “P.D.L” on the reverse ricasso. The hilt is gilded and features a vast knucklebow, grooved wood shagreen wrapped grip with double twisted brass wire that fits neatly into the grooves, and a domed pommel cap. The border of the knuclebow is adorned with screws, a simple touch which makes this sword stand out. The sword is complimented by its iron scabbard which features brass mounts and two carry rings. CONDITION: The blade is bright with exceptional, unmolested etchings. Edge wear is exhibited, with a significant strike towards the tip. There are areas of verdigris and discoloration towards the tip which can be cleaned. The hilt exhibits a pleasing aged patina with the darkened brass that is complimented by the mottled gray-brown color of the knucklebow. Double twisted brass wire remains tightly in the grooves of the grip. The scabbard features the same mottled gray-brown chocolate patina. The mounts exhibit a pleasing color and remain firmly secured to the scabbard. The inscription is unmolested and remains crisp and legible. Overall very good. This is a handsome example of a Civil War Marine Corps Officer presentation sword with an interesting history. The sword is accompanied by several pieces of research. PROVENANCE: This impressive cutlass was once part of the renowned Dr. Joseph A. Murphy Collection. JLD
Blade Length
Overall Length
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,600.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $3,360.00
Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Thursday, July 14, 2022.
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