Old South Military Antiques

CS & Star Confederate Artillery Sword
Item #: OS-7041




This 24 inch Confederate Short Sword is modeled after the Roman warrior’s sword of ancient times and more recently the artillery sword of the Napoleonic War era. In fact, I have seen war time billing invoices that actually refer to these short swords as "Roman Swords.”

In the Napoleonic era, cavalry were used to take batteries because of their ability to rush upon them between fires. These swords were issued to foot artillery soldiers, for the express purpose of dropping to their knees and cutting the legs out from under the enemy’s charging cavalry. While this may have occurred during the War Between the States, the rifled cannon had made these short quick dashes obsolete, just as the Minnie rifle had made the bayonet charge obsolete (even though it took three years to recognize it). This obsolescence relegated the foot artillery sword to service clearing fields of fire and beating into submission recalcitrant swine. However, as a symbol of the brutality and the close nature of War Between the States era combat, it has few equals.

It is commonly referred to as the CS & Star. It takes its name from the crudely cast C S in the cross guard and the star cast into the pommel.

This example is in very good condition. The blade is beautiful; it has not been cleaned, sharpened, re-pointed or altered in any way. There are a very few minor nicks in the blade, and part of the edge has been blunted by striking something hard, other than another blade. The blade and the hilt have a deep, natural patina. The hilt has the very desirable red patina as a result of the high copper content in the brass. This was the result of the zinc having burnt out of the alloy in great measure as scraps and leftovers were constantly being thrown back into the crucible for remelting. The grip also has a very nice blowout which was then filled with lead. It has bit of play between blade and grip, enough to make it "click” when shaken.

While nothing Confederate can be termed common, the frequency with which these swords are encountered leave no doubt as to their large-scale production. This is the most widely reproduced Confederate artillery sword. Notice the exceptionally poor casting of the hilt on this original example. The hilts were cast hollow so the original specimens often have casting flaws that penetrate to the core. These were often such drastic flaws, that often there were holes in the brass when the hilt was removed from the mold. These flaws no doubt vexed the founder, but today we appreciate the difficult times in which they were working and admire these same flaws.

A wonderful old label is still affixed to the blade that reads: "GENUINE CONFEDERATE FOOT SOLDERS …….MADE IN NEW” (ORLEANS) $200.00

The reference to New Orleans is incorrect. We don’t know for certain where these were made, but they are often in the same scabbard as those found on the unmarked W.J. McElroy foot artillery swords.

Price $3,200.00 USD