inv # 02-12890

The sword is magnificent, made by Bailey of Philadelphia though agent marked Canfield Brothers, Baltimore with a Collins, Hartford, CT 1862 dated blade etched like Tiffany with four battle honors: “WINCHESTER, CEDAR MOUNTAIN, RAPPAHANOCK, and ANTIETAM”. Raised relief and engraved embellishments are unique to this sword as all Bailey custom made swords are one-of-a kind and this example is among the very best of their Civil War swords. Most high-grade Baileys are in museums today. Original partitioned case lined in ‘royal purple” retains regulation generals buff sash, regulation general’s sword belt, regulation generals sword knot & hat cord. Sword is consigned direct from family, never previously never offered till this auction.

“General A. S. Williams” war record is extensive. He served as a brigade commander, division commander and corps commander in the Army of the Potomac. He and his troops saw battle at Cedar Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Winchester and Gettysburg. Williams was transferred to the Army of the Cumberland in October of 1863. He was commander of the 1st Division of the 20th Corps. During the Atlanta Campaign, Williams and his men saw battle at Resaca, New Hope Church, Kolb’s Farm, Peach Tree Creek and in the siege and capture of Atlanta. In November of 1864, Williams was made commander of the 20th Corps, the first troops to enter Savannah. On January 12, 1865, Williams was breveted the rank of Major General. In the Carolina Campaign, Williams fought in the battles of Averasboro and Bentonville.”

Williams was not a West Point graduate, and was often passed over for promotions, but consistently earned the praise of his superiors, and is widely considered among the best non-professional Civil War generals. He was a quiet and unassuming man, and refused to put himself forward, or to lobby for personal advancement. To his soldiers, he was “Pap” Williams, a nickname he earned because he treated his men like they were his sons.

Gen. Williams writes his daughter January 27, 1863 from winter quarters in Stafford Virginia concerning the presentation of the sword:
“….some sixty officers, Colonel Knipe, now commanding the brigade, received me with a very flattering speech, opened the box, and took out a most magnificent sword and a belt and sash, which he presented on the part of the officers. I was so taken by surprise, so affected by the manner in the mode the testimonial was made, so filled with recollections of the past several months that this gallant brigade has been under my command, of the many changes that death has made, that I fairly broke down and for the 2nd time since I have been in service, tears flowed freely. You can hardly realize how attached I have, too many of these officers who have been with me through so many trials, privatizations, and dangers. Of course it makes me very happy to know how they love me, as I know they do, sincerely. The sword is the most gorgeous thing I have seen, costing nearly $400. Nobody but the officers of my old brigade was permitted to subscribe…..”