Old South Military Antiques

Dog River Artillery Officer’s Sword
Item #: OS-7063

The Confederate maker of the sword shown here is unknown. It and its original scabbard are unmistakably Confederate manufactured, hence the name "Dog River” which is a euphemism for any Confederate sword whose maker is unknown. The term was first coined by William Albaugh when, in his ground breaking work Confederate Swords, he quoted a letter from a soldier to his sister who told her that he was camped at the sword factory on Dog River. At the time Mr. Albaugh did not know where that factory was, so he used to the term to describe any sword that had distinctly Confederate characteristics, but whose maker was unknown. Consequently, Confederate swords whose maker was unknown have been referred to as "Dog River” products for nearly seventy years!

The extremely heavy, and crude sword shown below is of the Artillery Officer’s Pattern. The Roman style short sword so frequently encountered is a Foot Artillery Pattern.

A Confederate Artillery battery usually consisted of four guns and eighty men.

The battery had four officers; one captain commanding, (who was equal to an infantry Colonel) one lieutenant in charge of the caissons, and one lieutenant in charge of each of the two sections. This is the type of sword that these officers would have carried, rather than the Foot Artillery Pattern.

Note the extremely thick and heavy guard and the oversized brass mounts on the scabbard. This assures that this was made early in the War, before brass became scarce. Also, this is the only period when artillery officer’s swords used a leather scabbard as they proved impractical. The massive thirty three inch blade is an inch and a half wide and three eighths of an inch thick. This is by far the largest, heaviest artillery sword I have seen in my career.

The scabbard’s mounts are pinned on each side; one pin is missing, and as a result the middle mount is loose. The drag and the throat are missing. With the exception of one small area where it is worn to the wood, the sword’s leather wrap is virtually complete and is only missing some of the surface patent. The iron wire is complete and the guard is tight.

I would very much like to identify the maker, so if anyone has a sword of any pattern with similar characteristics, please contact me. There is in existence a Louisiana Field and Staff pattern sword made in New Orleans that has a very similar blade; some attribute that sword to Pradel, but even this is speculative.

This is the only known example of this sword, and for the advanced CS artillery sword collector is a must have.

Price $6,800.00 USD