GEORGIA CONFEDERATE OFFICER SWORD PRESENTED TO ONE OF THE “IMMORTAL SIX HUNDRED”.
This pattern officer’s sword is among the first Confederate presentations, three presented to Confederate generals: Braxton Bragg, John Paul Semmes & W.H.T. Walker. This example, of which there were only 5 known, is etched to “Lieut. Wm. Barnes / Leyden Artillery / Atlanta, GA.”, same side of blade also has military motifs, including panoply of arms, crossed cannon, crossed Confederate flags & circle “CS”. The opposite side of blade is etched w/ early fire department motifs, including firemen’s hat, ladder, fire hose nozzle, fire trumpet & fire engine. In the middle of these motifs is a lozenge shaped presentation “PRESENTED TO CHIEF ENGINEER / Wm. BARNES / BY THE / FIREMEN OF ATLANTA MAY 1862”. Another unique feature of this blade is the dry point etching on ricasso “E.J. Johnston / & Co / Macon, Ga”. Distinctive feature of Johnston sword includes highly polished wood grip, square raised ricasso & uniquely etched. Solid brass, wood lined scabbard has etching, including the iconic 2.5″ vignette of a phoenix rising from a burning small “U.S.” w/ large Germanic “CS” w/ 14 stars in arch above. The designer of this quintessential, graphic imagery of the Confederacy rising above the United States & before the reality of losing the war. The etcher of these swords was Florian Francis Herzog, a German émigré, originally an engraver in Germany, applied his trade on a few of Georgia made etched weapons, mostly for EJ Johnston & at least one for W.J. McElroy, also of Macon, & the only known etched Confederate bowie knife made by Samuel Cooper of Bartow county, GA. Florian Herzog would join the Confederate Artillery Battalion & he disappears from history. William W. Barnes (1824-1865). Census shows him as a Chief Engineer of the Atlanta Fire Department, Gas Fitter, & was appointed 1st Lt. of the 9th GA artillery during Feb 27 1862. This sword was presented to him in May. He was promoted to Captain July 23 1863 & captured at Cumberl& Gap Sept. 9th 1863. Barnes was originally held prisoner at Johnson’s island, but in early 1864 he was part of 600 imprisoned Confederate officers known as “The Immortal 600” who were moved from camp to camp, deliberately held in harm’s way in front of Union positions, used as human shields against Confederate artillery fire. They were also mistreated & starved, many died. Barnes was one of the lucky ones who was exchanged & paroled Dec 15th 1864. He was able to rejoin his unit in early 1865 but was shot at the battle of Farmville, near Appomattox, VA April 7th, 1865, was captured & would die three days later at the military hospital in Farmville, where he is buried. He died one day after Lee’s surrender.