Old South Military Antiques

Confederate “Dog River” Foot Artillery Sword
Item #: OS-7374

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 hefty 25 inch sword has a slightly wasp-wasted blade that has never been resharpened or repointed. There is pitting on one side towards the point, which can be seen in the images. The brass hilts of Confederate artillery swords were hollow cast to save brass and this often left a hole where the brass did not fully fill the mould. The hilt was copied from the U.S. Model 1832 Foot Artillery Swords and you can see the prints in the casting of the rivets on the pattern 1832 that it was cast from. One of these was drilled by the maker and a copper pin inserted. This left a very tight bond between the blade and hilt, which has remained tight these one hundred sixty years.