|Description and Photograph||
The names Froelich and Kenansville have become synonymous, but there was a Froelich before there was a Kenansville. Louis Froelich opened his first militaria manufactory in North Carolina’s largest city; the seaport town of Wilmington, North Carolina where he was known as “a thoroughly educated and scientific mechanic”.
In September of 1861 Froelich went into partnership with Bela Estvan and set up the “Wilmington Sword Factory”. The “LF 1861” cast into the knuckle bow tells us that this was done just prior to September 1861 when the partnership was formed. This change accounts for the extremely small number of these swords produced. It is speculated that these were produced only on special order. While the exact number manufactured are not known, only seven are known, and one of the seven is a relic, one is in the Greensboro Museum, and another lacks the “LF 1861”, (indicating that it was made after the formation of the “Wilmington Sword Factory”). This leaves only four known “LF 1861” marked swords potentially available to the collector’s market.
Froelich plainly copied Richmond, Virginia’s Boyle & Gamble Field & Staff Pattern when making this sword though it is not a direct casting. He seems never to have again made this pattern after the fall of 1861. After the partnership with Estvan dissolved, he produced at his privately owned Confederate States Armory in Kenansville, North Carolina a distinctive pattern of his own design that had the largest CSA cast into the counterguard found on any Confederate sword.
Of the four known scabbards accompanying these swords there are three different patterns. This scabbard has by both tradition and fit and condition always been assumed to have been with this sword since the War, though it is not believed that Froelich made it. He may have acquired it elsewhere and sold it with the sword, or the sword’s owner may have replaced a damaged original with a battlefield pick up.
This exact sword and scabbard are shown on pages 42 and 43 of John W. McAden, Jr. and Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr.’s Louis Froelich Arms Maker to the Confederacy.
This is a bargain at 22,500.00.