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Old South Military Antiques

Unique, Signed, Presentation, Haiman Officer’s Sword
Item #: OS-7528

  Note the emblem is the same as on a staff officer's button

  For illustration only

  Signature of Etcher C.M. Kinsel

  Chas. M Kinsel, etcher ad

Columbus, Georgia sword makers Louis and Elias Haiman operated the largest sword manufactory within the Southern Confederacy. They rented the top floor of a building at the corner of Thomas and Short Streets, right beside the Haiman Armory. Here they set up the Confederate States Sword Factory. They produced more cavalry swords for the Confederacy than all the other manufacturers combined. They also made some of the finest officer’s swords of the Confederate era, though in very limited number. The officer’s swords were made not for the Confederacy, but for the retail trade to Confederate officers. They were etched by a local Columbus jeweler by the name of Spear, or a man named Kinsel. The Haiman’s sold their officer’s swords at a street level showroom on Broad Street. The company advertised "at reasonable prices for officers and sergeants, finished in the best quality for sale at the Confederate states Sword factory of Columbus, GA. We can furnish officers swords with belts for $25 or $22 if four were ordered in one lot. Our swords are tested according the rules laid down by the Manual of War.”

The company also produced brass belt plates and cartridge boxes, leather bayonet mountings, camp stove parts, shotgun bayonets, rifle bayonets, wagon covers, revolvers (they had a contract for 10,000, but very few were produced), mess plates and tin cups.

With the exception of their enlisted cavalry sword, which is relatively common, Haiman swords are extremely rare and beautiful. The artistry and quality of their etching is second to none.

Besides their contract swords and several variants of Staff Officer’s swords, the Haiman’s are known for producing one of a kind, special presentation swords. The sword shown here is one of those. No other sword by the Haiman Brothers of this pattern is known to exist.

It is a unique Cavalry Officer’s Pattern that was made especially for presentation to Major Francis (Franklin) W. Dillard. Almost certainly this was not a special order but rather it was likely specially made by the Haiman’s as a gift. This is because politics and people have not changed; Major Dillard was the Chief Quartermaster in Columbus.

He not only was responsible for buying war material, he also supplied raw materials to contractors, and he often wrote to Richmond or General Lee to have soldiers detailed from their line regiments to the various shops and works in Columbus. Major Dillard was a very important connection for the Haiman Brothers. I have found no hint of underhanded dealings and by all accounts he was an exceptionally industrious, inventive and hard working man. So much so, that he was placed on the Columbus, Georgia Roll of Honor.[i] In 1861, Colonel[ii] Dillard wrote Secretary of War Memminger outlining a plan of finance that was not accepted, but was later widely recognized as the plan that should have been followed to put the Confederate Treasury on sound footing.[iii] Of Colonel Dillard it was written that he was: "a businessman of excellent abilities, long conversant practically with the subject of cotton in all its relations domestic and foreign, a gentleman of wide reputation as a most efficient and active friend of the south, who has done as much as any individual within my knowledge to strengthen the army-enlist and equip soldiers, provide for their families, aid generally to promote our cause.”[iv] Major Dillard served in this capacity until his death on February 26, 1865[v]. At one time I read that he "worked himself to death” but I am unable to locate the reference at this time. His obituary reads: "Major Dillard was universally esteemed in this community, and by his untiring zeal and industry…. in whom all had implicit confidence, and whose usefulness has more than once been acknowledged by the heads of departments at Richmond.”[vi]

To make what could be a very long history short, it seems Major Dillard was a very competent and industrious officer who filled his position well, and essentially gave his life for the Confederacy. He was certainly a red hot Confederate, there is a letter from Henry Wirz commandant of the Andersonville Prison in the O.R., who requested sheet iron for use of prisoners cooking, to which Dillard replied "Sheet-iron should be used for our army, and not for Yankees”.

The 36 year old merchant was worth $80,500.00 in 1860.[vii] At the end of the war, all of his money was in Confederate bonds, thus leaving his wife and children penniless.[viii] Of him it can certainly be said that "he gave all.”

Major Dillard’s one of a kind sword is a thing of beauty. It is a cavalry officer’s pattern. The quillon is decorated with a droop wing eagle, facing to the right, which is identical to those seen on Confederate Staff Officer buttons. The grip is wrapped in shagreen, and then wound with four strands of wire.

The wire wrap is formed by sandwiching twisted double strands between two single strands, giving it a very attractive appearance. The hilt was heavily gilted and much of the gilt remains. The hilt’s branches are feathered. The complete hilt, basket, grip and wire remain completely tight.

The blade on this sword is the Rosetta Stone for every single one of the Haiman Brother’s etched swords. This is because "C. M. Kinsel” signed his work! Under the "C. M. Kinsel” engraving, he wrote "Mechanic”. There may be more below that, but if there is, the original throat washer covers it up, and it cannot be removed without damage. As a lifelong student of Confederate War arms and accoutrement production, this was to me an exciting find. So, I dove into researching Mr. Kinsel.

Karl Moritz Küntzel was born January 17, 1830 in Dresden, Saxony, Germany. Karl immigrated to the U.S. via New York, from Hamburg on the ship Rhode Island on October 3, 1849. He is listed as a goldsmith.[ix] He soon Americanized his name to Charles Moritz Kinsel.

A year after his arrival, he married German immigrant Sophia Elisal Hauptman[x] in New York. The couple relocated to Columbus, Georgia in 1859.[xi] Working at his trade as goldsmith and watchmaker the Kinsel’s settled into Columbus life. They apparently liked the South much better than New York and they would spend the rest of their lives in Columbus, and there lie their remains. In Columbus, Chas. M. Kinsel advertised in the Columbus, Ledger-Enquirer as a jeweler and ornamental engraver.[xii]

Charles was the ideal employee for the Haiman Brothers; etching sword blades required an expert engraver, and because not being native born, he was not subject to conscription. He did however voluntarily serve his adopted country, serving in the Columbus Arsenal Battalion.[xiii] In 1864 he is listed as Sergeant of the Columbus City Infantry Battalion, also known as the Arsenal Battalion, and in 1865 he is listed as a Second Lieutenant.[xiv] No doubt there were many scares and some due to raids and rumors during the War, the only battle that the Arsenal Battalion fought in is officially declared the last battle of the War Between the States (I do not agree with this). The Battle of Columbus was fought on April 16, 1865, against Wilson’s Raiders. Columbus had become a very important manufacturing depot, the Atlanta Arsenal was moved to Columbus, Georgia, when Sherman threatened Atlanta in 1864.

Columbus was defended by the Columbus City Infantry Battalion, also known as the Arsenal Battalion. This Battalion consisted of the men who worked in the various factories and the Arsenal, with the addition of young boys and old men, and those who had been wounded and disabled early in the war. The exact number of men who made up this battalion is unknown, but the rosters in the National Archives contain approximately 700 names.[xv] In total 3,250 ragged boys, old men, clerks and workmen and the disabled faced 9000 hard bitten veterans. The outcome was inevitable, but undaunted, the rag tag force did its best to defend their city.

Charles Kinsel survived the battle and somewhat improved his finances after the War. In 1870 he was worth $2000.00[xvi] He and Sophia spent the rest of their days in their adopted home, he dying on October 11, 1910, and she following two years later. Both are buried in Linwood Cemetery alongside more than 200 other Confederate soldiers. The cemetery includes the graves of soldiers from every state in the Confederacy.[xvii]

The blade that Charles Kinsel etched for the Haiman Brothers exhibits the depth, quality and design found in all of Haiman’s best swords. It has "HAIMAN & BROTHER Manufacturs. Columbus, GA” on the reverse side, as well as an enclosed panel with "F. W. Dillard CSA” in a ribbon. Further up the blade Kinsel etched a Phoenix in a fight with a forked tongue serpent enclosed in a panel by Gothic knots. Greek mythology decreed that the ancient mythical creature, the Phoenix, a legendary bird, would live for 500 years. Near the end of its life, the Phoenix would build a funeral pyre for itself, and as it began to die, it would lay down on the wood and burst into flames, consumed by the fire. Immediately the Phoenix would re-emerge, renewed from the purifying ashes, more beautiful and regale than before. This symbolized the death of the lying Federal Government attacking the emerging Confederacy to destroy the Constitution as founded, and the rebirth of the Constitution within the Confederacy, more perfect than the original.

The obverse side starts with an enclosed panel featuring a droop winged eagle, facing right, and holding a laurel wreath in one claw, and arrows in the other, the eagle supported and surmounted by eleven stars. At the midpoint we find a large CSA surrounded by a laurel wreath, and above that another panel, filled with flora. In examining other Haiman presentation swords, we find all, or some, of these same figures, as well as other Gothic figures.

The blade’s edge was ground during the War, it is evident that this is the case because the carbon staining remains consistent throughout. Recently someone has filed the edge or backstrap to remove nicks. This would have been a top tier sword had this last not been done, but it remains an exceptionally attractive and historically important sword.

The sword is still sheathed in its original Haiman Brother’s scabbard. The scabbard would be like mint new but for several light pushes and a replaced ring. The replaced ring is very old and was likely replaced during the War.

While I cannot say this is the finest of the fine, it is an exceptional sword, in exceptionally good condition. Had someone not ground the edge, this would easily be a $55,000.00 sword, but since someone did, it is not perfection and can be bought for $40,000.00.

[i] Columbus Memorial

[ii] Militia Rank

[iii] The South-Western, 7 Aug 1861

[iv] Ibid

[v] The Macon Telegraph, 1 Mar 1865,

[vi] Ibid

[vii] 1860 Census

[viii] Will, F.W. Dillard

[ix] Rhode Island Ship’s Log Oct. 3, 1849

[x] The Columbus Ledger · Mon, Jan 20, 1913

[xi] Sophia’s Obituary

[xii] Ledger-Enquirer 17 Nov. 1865



[xv] Georgia Regimental History Series, Battle of Columbus.

[xvi] 1870 Census


Price $40,000.00 USD