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Rare Confederate Kraft Goldschmidt and Kraft Mounted Officer’s Sword

 

Rare Confederate Kraft Goldschmidt and Kraft Mounted Officer’s Sword - Formed in 1861, in Columbia, South Carolina, Kraft Goldschmidt and Kraft, or often referenced as K,G & K, manufactured swords and sabers for the Confederate cavalry  and staff utilizing European sword blades. As sword expert and highly respected appraiser, John Sexton describes, “these swords were massive, often exhibiting  38″ double edged, triple fullered, European blades, apparently of an earlier era. Like many of the higher grade KGK swords, this example exhibits an inscription, etched, in Spanish, in the fullers, admonishing the owner of the sword – “NO ME SAQUES SIN RASON, NO ME EMBAINES SIN HONOR” which translates to “Do not draw me without reason, Do not sheath me without honor”. Swords of this pattern are found with wood lined leather brass mounted scabbards or more often brass mounted metal scabbards, as this example. Several swords of this pattern are associated with Wade Hampton’s Cavalry. A notable example was carried by General Hampton and is now in the Museum of the Confederacy. In a 2006-2007 exhibit at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum other swords of this pattern were shown including examples carried by Generals Matthew C. Butler and Bradley T. Johnston. Edward Wells in his book Hampton and his Cavalry on page 93, ‘in Columbia, S. C….were made the heavy, long, straight, double-edged swords, very serviceable and Crusader-like, with cross-hilt.’ ” The Prussian, Confederate General, Heros Von Borcke, also carried a KGK. Another cavalry General known to carry this pattern was George Armstrong Custer. His sword was given by widow Libby to the Smithsonian Institute and is currently on display at the Custer Battlefield Museum near site of his death. Custer’s faithful wife, chief promoter of the General’s legacy in the years after the Little Bighorn debacle, often mentioned in her seminal works, “Tenting on the Plains” and “Boots and Saddles”, her husband’s “Spanish sword”, referring to his KGK sword. Mrs. Custer was probably unaware that this was a captured sword; she wrote, in her book Boots and Saddles , “General Custer’s Spanish sword has the motto Do not draw me without cause/Do not sheath me without Honor“.

This Kraft, Goldschmidt & Kraft is indeed a massive sword, measuring 44.75” overall, in the scabbard; the blade measures 37.75”; the scabbard measures 39”.    The brass hilt has three branches and is comparable to the U.S. M1860 light cavalry saber, in design. The 3 branches and knuckle bow, connecting to the lower portion of the Phrygian style, pommel cap, exhibits features not found on U.S. swords. In addition, the brass elements of the hilt are replete with crude file marks, often seen in Confederate swords. The grip had a leather wrap, with finely twisted brass wire, but neither the original wrap nor wire remain on the sword. As with all KGK swords, there is a wide brass ferrule between the grip and guard.

The double-edged blade is most assuredly a European import, probably perhaps of an earlier era – also, a characteristic of finer KGK swords. More than likely the blade is a product of the Klingenthal French production company. Klingenthal, is in the east of France near Strasbourg (Alsace); at the beginning of the 18th century, King Louis XV decided to create a state-controlled sword manufacturing company in order to limit the imports of Solingen blades to France. In 1733, the Manufacture d’Armes Blanches d’ Alsace commenced operation with the help of 25 skilled workers from Solingen, Germany. The Alsace province, in East of France, was chosen for the availability of iron mines, forges and woods for charcoal, but also because the local language was similar to German. In 1768, accommodation for the Director and his staff (artillery officers) was built in a place called Klingenthal (Klingen=blades, thal= valley), the factory became Manufacture de Klingenthal . Under this name, thousands of blades were produced until the end of the 19th century, including many sword blades used by both the Union and Confederate armies.

The straight, double-edged blade of this sword, as mentioned, exhibits three fullers and is etched with a motto that translates to –  ”Do not draw me without cause / Do not sheath me without Honor”. In addition, on the blade, just above the aforementioned motto, is also a crossed cannon etch with a Liberty pole and cap. The reverse is etched with floral designs, flags and drums. On one side of the ricasso is a script etching with the blade maker’s name – this is quite difficult to decipher, but is very similar to the etching on other extant examples. The scabbard is iron with brass throat and mounts; the weld seam is clearly visible along the length of the scabbard. While the scabbard remains in excellent condition, the drag is missing, as is one of the sword belt attachment rings. This scabbard is similar to other K,G & K staff officer scabbards and comparable to those carried by several Confederate Generals, including Wade Hampton, some of his officers, as well as famed Union General George Armstrong Custer.

Perry Adams Antiques recently obtained this rare Confederate sword from a family living in a mid-18th century house, just outside of Richmond. The family maintains that the sword was passed down, through their family, from the original owner, a soldier in the 31rst North Carolina infantry regiment. A notebook with all of our research and a letter of provenance, from the family, will accompany this fine sword. These swords have always been exceedingly rare and highly desirable.

 

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