Old South Military Antiques

Confederate “Dog River” Sword
Item #: OS-6632

  Early B,G & M Scabbard mounts

The Confederate maker of the sword shown here is unknown. It and its original scabbard are unmistakably Confederate manufactured, hence the name "Dog River” which is a euphemism for any Confederate sword whose maker is unknown. The term was first coined by William Albaugh when, in his ground breaking work Confederate Swords, he quoted a letter from a soldier to his sister who told her that he was camped at the sword factory on Dog River. At the time Mr. Albaugh did not know where that factory was, so he used to the term to describe any sword that had distinctly Confederate characteristics, but whose maker was unknown. Consequently, Confederate swords whose maker was unknown have been referred to as "Dog River” products for nearly seventy years!

The US/P/LS/N.Starr four line marking at the ricasso tells us the sword’s parentage. The maker of the underlying frame and blade was Nathan Starr. It was proved and inspected by Luther Sage, (LS) and purchased under U.S. contact. It is undated, but was made as a mounted artillery officer’s sword circa 1820. It would have been sheathed in a scabbard with a stud mount to be used with an over the shoulder sword belt. Later it was shipped to one of the Southern States in a dispersement under the militia act of 1808.

When the War broke out and the Southern States were desperate for arms it was converted to a cavalry sword. It was truly an excellent conversion; two branches were individually formed and then riveted to the original guard at the ricasso using iron rivets, then formed to the top of the guard where it exits the pommel cap and again riveted. A brass covering was set under the pommel that extended out over the irregularities that were necessarily created when the branches were riveted on, and a brass washer was placed under the capstan nut. The finished product was as nicely finished and serviceable as any enlisted sword made by the Confederacy. Even after these 150 years, it is as tight as when it was made.

The scabbard was updated also. First the stud for the over the shoulder sling was removed and brass bands were formed to encircle the scabbard’s body. Then individually formed iron eyes containing the rings were inserted from the back side of the brass bands. This assembly was then wrapped around the scabbard body overlapping itself and creating two layers of brass over the eye’s feet and soldered. The strength of this assembly was superior to every Confederate scabbard ever made except the iron mounted McElroy scabbards. There is a great similarity between these scabbard mounts and those found on the first model Boyle, Gamble & MacFee scabbards.

The finished product was stronger and more serviceable than any other Confederate made cavalry sword produced during the War. It was also as light and stylish as any. I don’t know if this was made at an arsenal, or by an individual blacksmith, but I do know that it is a true Confederate cavalry sword at only $2,400.00

Price $2,400.00 USD