|Description and Photograph||
Boyle & Gamble of Richmond, Virginia was the Confederacy’s most prolific maker of officer’s swords and the company’s field and staff officer’s sword is easily the most recognized sword produced during the Confederate era. The firm made swords for retail sale as well as government contracts. The company also supplied their high quality officer’s swords for resale to jewelry and military outfitter, Mitchell & Tyler, located on Main Street in Richmond, Virginia. Mitchell & Tyler did no manufacturing, but sold the very finest swords, belts, buttons, and even laces and silverware. In short, they sold everything and more, necessary for the dapper Confederate Officer. The sword shown here is an extremely rare example of the highest grade sword Boyle and Gamble made for Mitchell and Tyler.
This sword is designated a Field and Staff sword because of the C S cast into the guard. This is a throw back to the U.S. Army Regulations, where field and staff officers, major and above, were authorized to carry such a sword. There is much symbolism cast into the counter guard of this sword. The corn represents the South’s agricultural base, the laurel wreath, the valor of the Confederate soldier and the star over “C S” is the rising star of the Confederacy.
This example of Mitchell & Tyler’s Field and Staff sword retains virtually one hundred percent of its original leather grip wrap and one hundred percent of its twisted, double strand brass wire wrap. The grip and guard are tight and the guard has a deep, natural, beautiful patina. The profuse original etching on the highly polished blade retains its original luster. Far beyond Boyle and Gamble’s standard vine and flower pattern, the blade is etched with the largest font “CS” that Boyle and Gamble produced. On one side of the ricasso the blade is etched with the rising sun of the Confederacy and on the other “Boyle, Gamble & Co. Mfd. Mitchell & Tyler, Richmond, VA”. There is also a panoply of arms mounted with a shield emblazoned with the word “HOPE”, a ribbon with the motto “VICTORY OR DEATH”, a banner engraved “LIBERTY” and numerous other military motifs.
The blade is perfect; it does not have even a single nick. The sword is still sheathed in its original Boyle & Gamble scabbard. The scabbard is also Boyle and Gamble’s highest grade. It is made of wood rather than leather and utilizes the rare Boyle and Gamble decorated mounts. The sword and its original scabbard are completely original and unaltered. The brass retains its original patina and the blade its original etching and luster.
The freedom and CS mottoes, two company names, configuration and condition mark this as one of the most extraordinary Confederate swords ever on the collector’s market.
In more than thirty years of collecting and dealing, I have only seen four Mitchell and Tyler swords in this rare configuration and this one is the finest of the four.