EXCEPTIONALLY RARE CONFEDERATE “FORT HILT” OFFICER’S SWORD BY THOMAS, GRISWOLD & CO. OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA.
inv # 02-14716
Overall length: 37 1/4″
Blade length: 30”
This rare and desirable product of Thomas, Griswold & Co. remains one of the most highly sought after of all Confederate edged weapons. Thomas, Griswold & Co. was a prolific producer of arms for the Confederacy and grew out of the dissolution of Hyde & Goodrich in August of 1861. The unprecedented number of arms manufactured by the firm is rendered even more amazing by the fact they were in business for less than a year with production being terminated in April of 1862 with the capture of New Orleans by Union forces.
There are 2 theories as to the castle depicted on the guard of the sword. Some believe it to be a rendition of Fort Sumter, others believe it may be a depiction of Fort Proctor near New Orleans. Fort Proctor was constructed in the 1850s and is sometimes referred to as Fort Beauregard after P.G.T. Beauregard, a famous Confederate general, who oversaw construction of the fort. The blade is etched over 2/3 of its length with various foliate and military motifs. One side of the blade features crossed cannons along with a spray of arms and flags. The other side has a large gothic style “C. S. “. Gilded brass hilt with a down turned guard with pierced foliate decoration that includes a central castle motif. The top of the guard is decorated with similar foliate forms along with 2 large flowers. A single branch knuckle bow divides just before entering the pommel. The stepped ovate pommel is decorated on the lower edge with laurel leaves. Wire wrapped leather grip. Gilded brass mounted, leather covered, brass scabbard. Scabbard rings on the top and middle mount are surrounded with a simulated beaded motif and support 2 brass suspension rings. Plain brass tip and drag. This scabbard features an interesting and somewhat unique construction technique in that the scabbard body is made of solid brass, as all Thomas, Griswold & Co. swords were, the scabbard was then covered with leather between the mounts. This technique yields a much stronger scabbard capable of withstanding extended field use but remaining visually attractive for the officer.
A rare opportunity to acquire one of the most iconic swords produced by Thomas, Griswold & Co. of New Orleans. It is estimated that there are fewer than 20 of these swords in existence & the vast majority are in public collections.