|Description and Photograph||
The Confederate Naval cutlass shown here was made by Thomas, Griswold & Company in New Orleans, Louisiana sometime between mid 1861 and the spring of 1862. Thomas, Griswold & Co. has long been recognized to have manufactured some of the very finest swords of the Confederate era. This was due to their pre-war experience as Hyde & Goodrich, military manufacturers and importers in New Orleans, Louisiana. Hyde & Goodrich was started in 1853 and in August of 1861 it became Thomas, Griswold & Co. the new principles being Henry Thomas, Jr., A. B. Griswold, A. L. Abbott and Henry Ginder, the last two only rating an “& Co.” in the company’s moniker.
The sword is made on the Model 1841 United States pattern. These swords were originally intended to be used by Naval boarding parties. The idea being that when two ships engaged in close quarters combat, the attacking party would leap from their own ship onto the enemy ship. The cutlass would then be used in hand to hand combat, but more importantly they could hack through the enemy ships rigging, thereby disabling the ship. By the time of the War Between the States, rifled cannons made boarding parties obsolete just as the rifled musket had made smoothbore musket tactics obsolete. Though relatively obsolete, these cutlasses were issued to Confederate Naval personnel.
The cutlass is marked with the company’s full name and address. The blade is bright and has not been sharpened or re-pointed. The small amount of rust staining is on the surface and will probably come off. I have not taken it off because it belongs to my consignor and I do not have the right to clean it with steel wool. The guard is perfect, and remains perfectly tight. The scabbard has shrunk enough that the blade protruded through the bottom, but there never was a toe on this, it is complete as it is. The scabbard remains as strong as when it was made and retains its stud as tight as when it was made.