Id’d Confederate Griswold Cavalry Officer’s Saber
Id’d Confederate Griswold Cavalry Officer’s Saber - “On Aug 24, 1861 Henry Thomas and Arthur Breese Griswold along with a couple of associates opened a military outfitting firm at the corner of Canal and Royal Streets in New Orleans. The business, known as Thomas, Griswold & Co., remained in operation only eight months before closing on April 24, 1862, a few weeks prior to the occupation of New Orleans by Federal forces. During their brief period of operations, they manufactured swords and other militaria for Southern buyers in both the governmental and private sectors.” *
This Griswold cavalry officer’s saber displays the uniquely Griswold characteristics in the construction of its guard, blade and scabbard. This saber is a fine example of a Griswold Confederate cavalry officer’s saber in overall excellent condition. The blade exhibits an untouched patina and has a characteristically Griswold, semi-stopped fuller,, terminating ⅞” from the original leather washer. On the ricasso is marked, in a straight line, ” T. G. & Co” over “N.O.” There are three styles of maker markings found on Griswold’s blades, with some marked with a complete spelling out of the Griswold name and New Orleans, some stamped only with the company’s initials, as this example is, and others are entirely unmarked. It has been speculated that the unmarked swords were sold to other retailers such as Hayden & Whilden of Charleston, South Carolina who would, in turn, occasionally place their own markings on the blades. It has been suggested that the swords marked only with the “T. G. & Co”, like this sword, were thought to have been manufactured for sale to the Confederate government. Those swords marked with the full name and location of production, are suspected to have been for private retail sales.
Griswold swords, like this example, have a unique brass scabbard with an equally unique style of drag. A crude lap seam appears along the bottom of the brass scabbard, as well; the rings and mounts are also brass. The scabbard has some very minor dents.
The grip retains its original leather, almost 100% intact and wrapped in its original twisted brass wire. The Griswold style guard and pommel cap are evident as is the officer’s grade guard, quillon and knucklebow with floral patterns and embellished pommel. The knucklebow branch has an observable brazed splice characteristic of Griswold’s two-piece construction.
Lightly engraved on the scabbard of this saber, midway between the scabbard throat and the upper belt mount, is the name: “C.P. King”; beneath this name, is engraved some additional words, but we have been unable to decipher them. C. P. King was an officer, rising to the rank of major, in the Confederate Commissary Department, assigned to oversee the operation of the Confederate salt works in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. His record and information about those salt works is enumerated below.
Measurements: Overall length – 42”; Blade length – 35.75”
* Mike Sorenson – West Coast Civil War Collectors – http://www.westcoastcwc.com/cgi-bin/display_items_ref.asp?Cat=18&Sub=46&start=311