Confederate Model

Virginia Manufactory


Description and Photograph




     Beginning in 1804, the Virginia Manufactory located in Richmond, Virginia manufactured rifles, muskets, pistols and swords for the state of Virginia.  The manufactory fell into disuse after 1822 and was not revived until January of 1861 when war seemed eminent.

     During the years between 1804 and 1821, the manufactory produced three styles of Cavalry Sabres.  The First Model with a huge 40.5 inch blade, used a square nut capstan; the Second Model had a similar blade, but a peened bird’s head pommel, and a Third Model with the same guard as the Second, but a shorter 36 inch long blade.  The Third Model was introduced in 1808 and with some interruption, continued until 1821.

     As originally made these swords were carried on an over the shoulder crossbelt with frog attachment.  By 1860, cross belts had been largely replaced by sword belts equipped with hangers, whenever possible.  As a consequence, Virginia contracted with James T. Ames of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts in 1860 to have the blades of 1000 Third Model Virginia cavalry swords slimmed to a light cavalry sword and re-sheathed in a custom made iron scabbard with brass mounts.  Fortunately Ames was prompt and had the swords finished and returned to Virginia prior to the blockade cutting off commerce between the two countries.

     Swords were in short supply and high demand; many Cavalry units went to war unarmed.  The finely finished Third Model Swords like that shown here were issued to the earliest Virginia Cavalry Regiments. 

     The sword’s condition is stellar!  The leather grip wrap found on this sword pattern is virtually always gone, so while this example does not have an absolutely perfect grip, it would likely take many, many years of searching to find a better one, if at all possible.  With the exception of a few small pieces of leather missing the grip is entirely complete.  The guard is tight.  The original wire wrap is complete and tight.  This is one the best grips I have ever seen on one of these swords.  The blade is bright and beautiful.  The scabbard is virtually perfect; without repair or flaw, not even a single ding. 

     Because of this alteration, this is positively identified as a primary Confederate weapon.  This is a wonderful and rare Confederate Cavalry Sword.   




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