|Description and Photograph||
The foot officer’s sword shown here is marked MOSHELL; Jacob H. Moshell was a resident of Columbus, Georgia, the county seat of Muskogee County, Georgia. An article in the June 20, 1861 edition of the Richmond Dispatch quotes from an article in the Columbus Sun, “We paid visits today to the shop of Mr. Moshell, of this city, to witness the operande (sic) of sword tempering, which is now an “institution” of Columbus. Mr. M. has engaged the services of a superior work man from Tennessee, who, we believe, was engaged in the service of that State in some capacity, and whose blades were subjected to a test established by a board of competent military men. The same test is applied to the blades turned out in Mr. Moshell’s shop…Mr. M. informs us that about one hundred or more can be tempered in a a day, and one of two hundred finished blades received and ready for the final touch are turned out in a week. He is furnishing blades for the establishment of Mr. DeWitt, and challenges the Confederacy to turn out superior ones. We learn that the supply of swords since the manufacture of them has been commenced here is scarcely equal to the demand”. A. H. DeWitt swords are not normally marked by J. H. Moshell so it is unclear if this was made for DeWitt or if Jacob Moshell made it on his own hook, its scarcity would indicate the latter. Either way, it is the only known sword to be marked by J. H. Moshell.
Five days previous to this article running Jesse Hodges Sikes, a 35 year old Columbus native, enlisted in the Muscogee Rifles as Second Lieutenant. The Muscogee Rifles would become Company E, 12th Georgia Infantry. The Columbus paper noted under the heading “"Muscogee Rifles": On the 18th of June, the "Muscogee Rifles," Capt. T. B. Scott, making the tenth company, left Columbus for the Confederate service. This company had 63 men in its ranks when it left, and Lieut. Sikes left in a few days afterwards with some privates unavoidably detained. The company comprised many young men of promise and standing.”
After organizing, the unit was assigned to Brigadier General Henry R. Jackson's command and shared in Lee's Cheat Mountain Campaign. Sikes health failed him and he was furloughed from Harrisonburg, Virginia. His health not improving, he resigned the following spring. Not content to sit at home, he raised a company of partisan rangers known as Captain J. H. Sikes’ Company Partisan Rangers and reentered the service in the 7th Confederate States Cavalry. Though his service with the Muscogee Rifles had been short, the men apparently thought very highly of Sikes, so much so that they presented him with this A. H. DeWitt sword and had the presentation engraved on the top scabbard mount. It reads, Capt. S.H. Sikes Muskogee Rifles Georgia, in three lines.
When Sikes was with the Rifles he was a Second Lieutenant, so this had to have been presented on his resignation from the Rifles with an eye to reentering as Captain of Cavalry in the Seventh CSA Partisan Rangers where he commanded Company D. On September 10, 1862 the Partisan Rangers were enlisted as Regulars and Captain Sikes was promoted to Major.
The 7th CSA Regular Cavalry Regiment was formed by consolidating the 4th North Carolina Battalion Partisan Rangers and seven independent Georgia cavalry companies. It served in the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia, then in General James Dearing's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. The regiment saw action at Rodman's Point, Reed's Ferry, Quaker Bridge, New Bern, and Swift Creek, and then fought on the Bermuda Hundred front. On July 11, 1864, it was ordered to disband. Part of the regiment, including Major Sikes, transferred to the 10th Georgia Cavalry.
The 10th served in General P.M.B. Young’s Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Major General Wade Hampton’s Cavalry Corps. While serving in the 10th Georgia Cavalry Major Sikes was captured on September 30, 1864; on this day the battle of Peeble’s Farm was fought, south of Petersburg, Virginia.
Sikes Official Records do not show what became of him while prisoner of war. He last shows up in the record as in Pettigrew General Hospital, Raleigh, North Carolina on March 17, 1865. Likely he had just been released. He was furloughed to recuperate on March 17, 1865 and the War ended a couple of weeks later.
According to information found on Ancestry.com he was wounded once, captured twice, and imprisoned at Fort Delaware, though the sparse surviving records do not bear this out.
The sword is in excellent condition. The blade remains semi bright and smooth. The guard has just a little bit of play. The wooden grip is dark and retains one hundred percent of is doubled, twisted brass wire. There is no leather and it does not appear that it was ever covered, though it is impossible to say with certainty as this is the only known Moshell marked sword extant. The leather covered wooden scabbard is in perfect condition, but someone has removed the middle mount, relatively recently judging by the “ghost”.
The sword has a great history, is in great condition, and is a one of a kind Confederate Foot Officer’s sword, for only $17,000.00.