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Old South Military Antiques

Douglas South Carolina Cavalry Officer’s Sword
Item #: OS-7293a

W. B. Douglas started a partnership with his brother Hugh, Andrew J. McWhirter, Samuel C. Godshall, and Jasper N. Bailey, which was announced in an ad in The Tennessean, dated January 4, 1849. The partnership was to be called H & B Douglas, doing business as "Importers and Wholesaler Dealers of foreign and Domestic Dry Goods”.

Prior to the War, the partnership ended and he started again as Douglas & Co. selling "Ready Made Clothing” and assorted millinery.

With the beginning of the War, his business takes a new turn. Douglas & Co. shows up as a contractor to the Confederate Government. His first surviving invoice to the Confederate Government is dated July 26, 1861, for "two pieces heavy duck”. He then goes on to sell tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of buttons, thread, cloth by the bale, jeans, gray coating, brown jeans, drabs, Columbus and Augusta osnaburgs by the bale. He even sells them 35,554 feet of pine flooring.

On August 23, 1862 he advertises in the Charleson (SC) Daily Courier, looking for "three skilled blacksmiths, who understand sword making, None but expert hands need apply” to "B. Douglas & Co’s Sword Factory, Columbia, S.C”. We next hear of him in the Columbia, South Carolina, newspaper, The Southern Guardian, dated September 10, 1862, where he advertised "Swords, spurs, bits, etc." made at the B. Douglas Factory located at the Old Foundry on Washington Street. This makes it clear that Douglas was not only an outfitter, but a maker as well. The ad mentions only cavalry accoutrements, and equipping South Carolina Volunteer Cavalry units seems to have been his primary business, however the field & staff swords with his name on them leave no doubt that he made some officers models.

On August 29, 1863, an ad ran in The Free South, in Beaufort, South Carolina, advertising that Douglas & Co. "had removed to their new store on Bay Street, one door east of the post commissary building Beaufort” and that they had a large stock of "Swords, Sashes, Belts, Passants &c.&.c and a full stock of Dress and Undress Military Clothing”.

Among the receipts for bits, belts, buttons, bayonets, etc., sold to the Confederate Government, are receipts for hundreds of swords, both artillery and cavalry, without scabbards. This no doubt accounts for the Kraft, Goldschmidt, Kraft style wooden scabbards found on many of their cavalry swords.

After the War he started business again, sans swords, and seemed to have made a moderate living as a dry good’s dealer. He died December 13, 1882.

Known Douglas swords in any pattern are a rarity today, but hiscavalry officer’s sword is perhaps his rarest pattern. The example shown here is his cavalry officer’s sword, it is so designated because of the decoration on the top of the guard and on its branches; it is a poor copy of a French cavalry officer’s sword. It is easily identifiable as a Douglas product by its unique Douglas pommel and the unique "ball end” drag found on his scabbards.

This example is in very good condition. Its grip and hilt are completely tight and the sword would be considered in excellent condition except that the leather wrap is about 60% complete, though it is hard to tell where leather ends and wood begins. The wire wrap is missing also. I much prefer this natural state to having a re-wrapped grip. There is a small chip out of the top of the grip, which is shown in the pictures.

The blade is absolutely beautiful, still semi bright with only sporadic dark areas, no rust, no nicks, just a beautiful blade. The scabbard is also a thing of perfection, dent free, and having a beautiful browned finish.

Price $9,500.00 USD