Boyle, Gamble & McFee


Description and Photograph




     This 24 inch Confederate Short Sword is modeled after the Roman warrior’s sword of ancient times and more recently the artillery sword of the Napoleonic War era.  In fact, I have seen war time billing invoices that actually refer to these short swords as “Roman Swords”.

     It was originally intended to kill or maim charging cavalry horses, but the War Between the States weaponry rendered such a use impractical.  It was likely used more often to slay overly aggressive swine (those that could not get away) or to clear fields of fire for the artillery.

     Though many different artisans produced artillery swords for the Confederate Government, only a few patterns can be identified to a specific maker.  The artillery sword shown here is one of those few.  It was made by Boyle, Gamble & McFee, the famed sword makers of Richmond, Virginia.  These are positively identified by the few maker marked specimens.

    It seems that in nearly every case where a sword is identified to a specific maker, it is because just a few have been discovered to have the company name stamped into them.  For example, Louis Haiman & Co. manufactured over 9000 cavalry swords, but only three of their cavalry swords have shown up that had their name on them.  The same can be said of E.J. Johnston’s artillery swords or McElroy cavalry swords.  This is probably because only the examples manufactured to be submitted as samples to the Confederate Government potential purchasers were marked with the maker’s name.  There was no need to mark the swords purchased under contract and issued to the soldiers directly from the Confederate depot.

     The example shown here matches the  known marked Boyle, Gamble & McFee foot artillery sword exactly, with the exception of the name stamped into the cross guard.  This sword is in its nearly new condition; still retaining its original luster.  There a few nicks in the blade’s edge, which can be seen in the photographs, otherwise it is near minty.  It is still sheathed in its original Boyle, Gamble & McFee scabbard.  The leather is as good and strong as the day it was made.  It would be impossible to overstate the condition of this beautiful example of a genuine Confederate Foot Artillery Sword. 





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