|Description and Photograph||
The elaborate sword shown here was made by Thomas, Griswold & Company in New Orleans, Louisiana sometime between mid 1861 and the spring of 1862. It has a verbal history passed with it that it belonged to Lieutenant Abe Leverich, 5th Company, Washington Artillery.
Thomas, Griswold & Co. has long been recognized to have manufactured some of the very finest swords of the Confederate era. This was due to their pre-war experience as Hyde & Goodrich, military manufacturers and importers New Orleans, Louisiana. Hyde & Goodrich was started in 1853 and in August of 1861 it became Thomas, Griswold & Co. the new principles being Henry Thomas, Jr., A. B. Griswold, A. L. Abbott and Henry Ginder, the last two only rating an “& Co.” in the company’s moniker.
There are several notable characteristics of the company’s products; the first is that the blade is highly unusual for a Confederate made sword. It has a stopped fuller as a result of the manufacturers having acquired the necessary equipment and skills in the pre-war years. Another notable feature is the high quality scabbard made entirely of brass from throat to drag. Both of these characteristics are commonly found on their “production” swords. This workmanship displayed in this beautiful Fort Hilt goes far beyond their already high quality swords.
The sword of course gets its name from the masonry fort cast into the counterguard. We do not know for sure what fort was used as a model or if it was a generic fort, but it is generally assumed it is to be representative of Fort Sumter. So rare is this sword even the renowned William Albaugh during the many years of searching out and photographing swords for his several books on Confederate edged weapons never had the opportunity to photograph one of this rare pattern. So rare is it in fact, it is not pictured in Collecting the Confederacy, The Commanders Series, American Swords and Makers Marks, American Swords and Sword Makers, all of which are highly sword focused. The closest I could find was a similar sword in Echoes of Glory. The sword is so rare that I know of only one sale, and that was around 2004 for $75,000.00.
This is considered the holy grail of sword collecting, it is the one sword that all sword collectors want, but only a very, very few ever achieve. Not only is this the most desirable of swords, it is a higher grade than others of this pattern; having a silver plating on the entire sword and scabbard. The dark areas of the scabbard’s surface are tarnished silver and if cleaned would look as bright as the day it was manufactured. The mounts are ornately decorated with beading. It is perfect; it does not have a single dent from throat to washer. The buff sword knot appears to be original to the sword, and it too is in excellent condition.
Most of the silver on the guard has worn off and only remains in the less exposed areas. The leather wrap is original and is in one hundred percent perfect condition. The twisted wire wrap is original and remains tight. The guard remains tight, the throat washer remains. The blade is beautifully decorated with a prominent script CS etching on one side and an elaborate artillery scene on the opposite side. The remainder of the blade is profusely etched flower and vine patterns. It is in excellent condition, its only flaw is a few pin pricks and minor splotching of carbon. There is not a single nick in the blade.
So beautiful is this sword it transcends the world of Confederate collecting and enters into the realm of art. This sword could be the centerpiece of any collection or the centerpiece of any room and will instantly become a historical heirloom to be treasured for generations.