Old South Military Antiques

1st Georgia Infantry, Oglethorpe Light Infantry Sword
Item #: OS-6906


  The laurel bordered presentation panel is engraved “Oglethorpe Infantry to James O Clarke Captain Commanding June 1861"

  The Georgia State Seal, the Constitution, resting on the pillars of Justice, Wisdom and Moderation

  The Lion Head Pommel Staff Officer’s Sword is coin silver mounted, with a gold washed blade

  Another view of the basket with silver inlay

  The sword features an exquisitely engraved, coin silver grip

  The panoply of Arms is etched in deep relief, and brought out in stunning clarity with a gilt background

  Another blade etching featuring a Roman Soldier; after etching the panel was chased to add detail

  Still another beautifully etched and chased panoply of arms

  The ornately cast brass mount is inset with an engraved silver scene depicting mankind confidently climbing the hill of adversity, while carrying a flag that is engraved with “Excelsior”


  Excelsior means "Ever Upward"

  The scabbard’s lower mount has a silver inset engraved with lady liberty, holding a Liberty Cap on a spear. This was a patriotic motif that all of the era recognized.

  The brass, cast drag is little less ornate that the mounts themselves

  The scabbard is silver plated in all areas not covered in brass.

The thirty-three year old Methodist Preacher, James Osgood Andrew Clarke, enlisted in the Georgia Volunteers, on March 16, 1861 as Captain of the Oglethorpe Light Infantry. He had previous military experience from serving in the Mexican War. The 1stGeorgia Volunteers, CS (Ramsey's) was formed at Camp Oglethorpe in Macon, Georgia, in April, 1861, with the Oglethorpe Light Infantry as Company D. Clarke was signing as Lieutenant Colonel as early as April 30, 1861, though the official card showing his official promotion date is missing.

The men were raised in the towns and cities of Macon, Newnan, Perry, Augusta, Sandersville, Atlanta, Bainbridge, Quitman, Dahlonega, and Columbus. After being stationed at Pensacola they moved to Virginia, served under R. S. Garnett and H. R. Jackson, then during Lee's Cheat Mountain Campaign was attached to General D. S. Donelson's Brigade.

From its formation at Macon, Georgia the regiment went to Pensacola, Florida, then Richmond, Virginia. Richmond sent them to Western (now West) Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. Ramsey’s regiment meets with initial success in a minor skirmish in the Allegheny Mountains at Laurel Hill, but then is involved in a disastrous retreat and the rear guard fights at Kalers Ford and Corricks Ford, during which six companies are cut off from the army and become lost in the rugged Alleghenies, starving to the point of contemplating cannibalism. They served under General Robert E. Lee during the Cheat Mountain Campaign. They fight well in the Confederate victory at Greenbriar River. Subsequently, they were sent to the Shenandoah Valley to serve under General Thomas J. "Stonewall” Jackson. The 1st suffers horribly dealing with the winter ice and snow as the regiment marches to Bath, Hancock, and Romney. After being left in fetid and isolated winter quarters in Romney, the army to which the Georgians belong comes near to mutiny. When one of his men beat the Devil out of General Taliaferro, charges were preferred against Colonel Clarke, causing him to resign his commission in November, 1861. He, and soon the regiment, returned to Macon and mustered out of service. Most members joined other commands and came back to Virginia.

Clarke reentered service as a Lieutenant and Drill Master at a Georgia Camp of Instruction. He was already serving, but his official appointment date was July 29, 1862. He continues in that position through 1863 at the least, but due to the dearth of records, his discharge date cannot be determined, but I assume that he served through the remainder of the War.

Colonel Clarke had a remarkable career in ministry after the War, and I find hundreds, if not thousands, of newspaper accounts mentioning him and referring to him as a professor, Minister and doctor.

He went to his reward on September 4, 1894; his earthly remains are buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia.

The "Captains” ornate sword was presented to him by the men of the Oglethorpe Light Infantry in June of 1861. It was manufactured by Horstmann & Sons, Philadelphia. The sword and its scabbard are ornately decorated with solid silver, engraved patriotic Georgia motifs, and has an engraved silver grip. The blade is deeply etched with more patriotic motifs that are brought out into strong relief with a gold overlay on the recesses.

The sword and its scabbard are in near new condition, still glowing with its original beauty.


The following is taken from Biographies of Notable Americans 1904:

"CLARK, James Osgood Andrew, clergyman, was born at Savannah, Ga., Oct. 6, 1827; son of Josiah Hayden and Henrietta (Gindrat) Clark. He was descended on his father's side from Josiah Hayden, a major in the Continental army, and on his mother's side from a French Huguenot family. He was prepared for college in the Boston high school and at Phillips Andover academy, and in 1847 entered Yale, where he remained one year. In 1848 he entered Brown university and was graduated in 1851, then returning to his native state. In 1851-52 he taught school and studied law at Perry, Ga., gaining admission to the bar in the latter year. He practiced in Savannah for two years, leaving his profession in 1854 to study theology. In 1856 he was ordained a deacon, and in 1858, an elder in the Methodist [p.223] Episcopal church. For twenty years he was a presiding elder, and was often a delegate to general conferences. In 1878 he was sent to Europe as commissioner to the various Methodisms of Europe and America, and in 1881 was a delegate to the Methodist ecumenical conference. From 1868 to 1872 he held the chair of Latin in Emory college, and was chairman of the state committee on the unification of the University of Georgia with the denominational colleges. He was a trustee of Wesleyan female college in Georgia. Mr. Clark was active in educational work throughout Georgia and was the chief instrument in building the Nannie Lou Worthen institute of Wrightsville. He received the degree of D.D. from Emory college in 1871, and from Brown university in 1892; and that of LL. D. from the University of Georgia in 1875. His published writings include The Wesley Memorial Volume (1880); Elijah Vindicated (1885); Esther: A Sequel to Ben Hur (1892); and numerous sermons and addresses. He died at Macon, Ga., Sept. 4, 1894.”

Price $38,500.00 USD

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