Second Model

Virginia Manufactory Sabre

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Description and Photograph

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      Beginning in 1804, the Virginia Manufactory located in Richmond, Virginia manufactured rifles, muskets, pistols and swords for the state of Virginia.  The manufactory fell into disuse after 1822 and was not revived until January of 1861 when war seemed eminent.

     During the years between 1804 and 1821, the manufactory produced three styles of Cavalry Sabres.  The First Model with a huge 40.5 inch blade used a square nut capstan; the Second Model, like that shown here, was made between 1806 and 1808.  It had a blade similar to that of the First Model, but instead of a square nut capstan, it had a peened bird’s head pommel.  A Third Model having the same guard as the Second, but had a straighter, shorter blade was begun in 1808 and continued until 1821.

   All three models were carried on an over the shoulder crossbelt with frog attachment.  By 1860, whenever possible, cross belts had been replaced by sword belts equipped with hangers.  As a consequence, Virginia contracted with James T. Ames of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts in 1860 to have the blades of 1000 Third Model Virginia cavalry swords slimmed to a light cavalry sword and re-sheathed in a custom made, iron scabbard with brass mounts.  Fortunately Ames was prompt and had the swords finished and returned to Virginia prior to the blockade cutting off commerce between the two countries.

     Swords were in short supply and high demand; many Cavalry units went to war unarmed.  The finely finished Virginia Manufactory Swords were available and were issued to the earliest Virginia Cavalry Regiments and are often seen in photographs of the 1st Virginia’s troopers. 

     The sword’s condition is stellar!  The leather grip wrap found on this sword pattern is virtually always gone, yet this example retains a nearly perfect grip wrap.  The guard is tight.  The original wire wrap is complete and tight.  This is one the best grips I have ever seen on one of these swords.  The blade is bright and beautiful.  The scabbard is perfect; without repair or flaw, not even a single ding.  This sword’s condition could hardly be improved upon in a lifetime.  

    

 

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