|Description and Photograph||
The cavalry sword shown here is one of the very rarest of all known Confederate manufactured swords. We know this was made by Sharp and Hamilton of Nashville, because there are a few known maker marked examples.
Prior to the War, Messrs. Sharp and Hamilton made plows, operating the Nashville Plow Works. With the coming of War the Plow Works began making edged weapons for sale to the Confederacy and even other military suppliers such as L.T. Cunningham of College Hill, Tennessee. Their later Cavalry officer’s swords were marked Nashville Plow Works rather than Sharp and Hamilton. The only swords known to bear the Sharp and Hamilton name are like this, the enlisted man’s pattern. Sharp and Hamilton were producing swords by October of 1861 and produced 299 during the month. (Captured Rebel Records, Vol. 19)
However, beyond that, all we know is from a couple of newspaper articles: Messrs. Sharp and Hamilton “Manufactured Bowie knives of the best cast steel” … “with a blade about thirteen inches long...the handle of solid brass” and described by the reporter for the Daily Nashville Patriot as the “ugliest looking weapon… for close quarters combat”.
The Nashville Plow Works continued operation until Union forces took Nashville on April 1, 1862. At this time both were taken prisoner and charged with treason against the Federal Government for having supplied arms to the Confederacy. According to the April 1st edition of the Nashville Banner: “Yesterday, Messrs. Sharp & Hamilton, of the Nashville Plough Manufactory, were also arrested, and put under bonds of three thousand dollars for their appearance. The charge against these gentlemen is treason. (which could carry the death penalty)….we believe, the charge against them is founded. Aiding and abetting the enemy, that is, the Confederate States—is the basis of the charge against the Mayor. Messrs. Sharp & Hamilton, it is reported, instead of turning ‘Swords into Plough shares,’ converted Plough shares into swords and knives for the Confederates, and thus made themselves amenable to the charge of treason against the United States.”
Fortunately, they were later freed.
The example shown here is virtually perfect. The blade remains bright, the grip wrap nearly one hundred percent complete, the original wire wrap complete and tight. The edge is nick free. Its original scabbard is virtually perfect also except for the wear to the brass ring mounts.
This is the very best of the very rare.