Old South Military Antiques

Confederate Dog River Foot Artillery Sword
Item #: OS-7038

Confederate foot artillery swords were originally intended to kill or maim charging cavalry horses. The sword’s design harkens back to an earlier time, taking its shape from the Roman short sword. In Napoleon’s day, fast charging cavalry could approach smoothbore cannon so quickly that the battery had few chances to fire and no chance to hook up the teams and escape. By the time of the War Between the States long range rifled artillery had rendered the quick cavalry charge upon artillery very difficult and the foot artillery sword impractical. Still, thousands were made and issued. They were more likely used to slay overly aggressive swine that could not get away and to clear fields of fire.

The maker of the rare artillery sword shown here is unknown. It is unmistakably Confederate manufactured, hence the name "Dog River” which is a euphemism for any Confederate sword whose maker is unknown.

This 25-inch example is in beautiful, untouched condition. It has a deep, rich patina throughout. I can see that the grip was gilted by the manufacturer and many traces of it still remain, though very worn. This gilt tells us that this was made very late in 1860, or very early in 1861, as this was no doubt made for one of the first batteries formed. And the extreme wear tells us that it saw long service.

The blade is as beautiful as the grip. Its 19-inch blade is one of the less encountered blade shapes which has a very long taper to the point. There are two small nicks in the edge and the remainder of the blade is exceptionally nice, under a natural, heavy patina. The grip remains as tight as when it was made.