Edged Wpns Confederate Dog River Cavalry Sword

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James N.

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Hi, Peter - welcome to the forums. Before this thread gets too old, please edit the title and spell cavalry correctly - this is a pet peeve of many collectors and non-collectors alike on this forum. Unfortunately I've seen many swords like yours before at gun shows and flea markets, and they likely date to the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century, ca. 1880-1910 or thereabouts. The giveaways that they are not wartime (Civil War, that is - Spanish-American War, maybe, but not military) are the skinny 1" blade and the nickel steel scabbard. These were more likely made by or for the Henderson-Ames or the M. C. Lilly companies for fraternal orginizations, or at best National Guard or State Militia units. For more about authentic examples:


 
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ucvrelics

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A few of the things you need to look for in the "Dog River" CS sword is that 98% of them will have a single wire wrap on the handle and not 2 or 3 strands. (there are a few exception Conning) plus most are wrapped with dyed pig skin and not leather. The castings of the guard and pommel cap will be very rough and irregular as are the blades. And lastly, hold it up to your ear and if you don't hear Dixie put it back on the table. :D
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hrobalabama

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A few of the things you need to look for in the "Dog River" CS sword is that 98% of them will have a single wire wrap on the handle and not 2 or 3 strands. (there are a few exception Conning) plus most are wrapped with dyed pig skin and not leather. The castings of the guard and pommel cap will be very rough and irregular as are the blades. And lastly, hold it up to your ear and if you don't hear Dixie put it back on the table. :D
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What is the history of the "Dog River" sword? I am from Mobile, AL and there is a "Dog River" nearby. Many years ago, I heard that there was a foundry nearby where swords were made. I have heard other stories too, that it is just a name given to unmarked CS blades.
 

James N.

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What is the history of the "Dog River" sword? I am from Mobile, AL and there is a "Dog River" nearby. Many years ago, I heard that there was a foundry nearby where swords were made. I have heard other stories too, that it is just a name given to unmarked CS blades.
As I described in my thread linked above, all of your ideas are essentially correct; briefly, at sometime probably in the 1950's when authors like William Albaugh III were trying to make sense of Confederate sword manufacture, a document dated from the Dog River Foundry was discovered but no one then studying knew either where that was or what they made. Due to the uncertainty the name was assigned to any unknown and unmarked Confederate blade. Much later, in the 1970's as I remember, someone "noticed" the existence of a Dog River that fed into Mobile Bay, so now a probable location had been established, though still no one knew the exact location or what kind of blades were produced there: officer's swords? cavalry sabers? Bowie or "side" knives? pole arms? or some or all of them?
 
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ucvrelics

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Here is a write up I did on this when I was doing research for an archeological project to locate the Dog River factory. I have an old map that show the location of the factory but will have to dig it out.

The Dog River Cotton Factory was a cotton mill located five miles southwest from Mobile, Alabama along the banks of the Dog River. The cotton mill/factory, consisting of a factory and small hollow square village for workers, was owned exclusively by Col. Garland Goode. The factory met with disaster in September 1861 when the factory's main building burned to the ground in an accidental fire. The factory's village was spared, though, and subsequently the remaining buildings were used as a recruitment camp for fresh Southern volunteers who flocked to the Confederate cause from Alabama. This letter help dispel the long held belief that there was such a place known as the "Dog River" sword factory. Indeed, it was a Confederate recruitment camp known as Camp Goode and this letter shows that the comfortable quarters at the Dog River Factory would be sorrily missed by these new recruits.

It was written by Pvt. Thomas Wideman, Co. A, 40th Alabama Vols to his Sister Martha J. Wideman of Gaston (Post Office), Sumter Co., Ala.

Dog River factory, [Camp Goode]
Mobile, Ala., July 18, 1862.

"Dear sister…yesterday was the first day I have drilled since I have been here. We are going to move from here two miles from Mobile. We will commence moving tomorrow. I had rather stay here for we have good houses here to stay [in] and when we leave here we will have to go in tents. There is some sickness here…there is about 40 sick in the hospital…Alexander Paterson [Pvt. James A. Patterson] died night before last. He requested the capt. before he died to send him [home] but he could not get him off…there was one of our regiment [who] shot two of his fingers off in order to try to get a discharge, but I think he will miss it. I do not like a soldier's life much nor do I…believe any on else does. Since we have got a new commissary we fare a good deal better in the way of provisions. We get plenty to eat…your Brother, Thomas Wideman.

On the verso, Pvt. Edward G. Hammond writes, in part: "…we are a going to move from here tomorrow in two miles of Mobile. I am in the hospital a waten [waiting] on the sick…it is hard work seten up [setting up] so much, but I stand it fine…I hope I will stay in good health for it is the great blessing of God. It is through his goodness that it is so. I hear of fighting every day or two but not near here and I don't look for it…
 

gjpratt

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Before his section on "Unidentifiable Swords, Sabres and Cutlasses" in his original Photographic Supplement of Confederate Swords (1963), William A. Albaugh III quoted this letter and went on:

"We have never heard of Dog River or a sword factory thereon but here is living proof that there was both a river by this name and that swords were made in this vicinity. In as much as neither Dog River has been identified nor have the swords, sabres and cutlasses that follow, any or all may well be the product of the Dog River Factory. This seems a most fitting name for products that can not be identified."
 

ucvrelics

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Before his section on "Unidentifiable Swords, Sabres and Cutlasses" in his original Photographic Supplement of Confederate Swords (1963), William A. Albaugh III quoted this letter and went on:

"We have never heard of Dog River or a sword factory thereon but here is living proof that there was both a river by this name and that swords were made in this vicinity. In as much as neither Dog River has been identified nor have the swords, sabres and cutlasses that follow, any or all may well be the product of the Dog River Factory. This seems a most fitting name for products that can not be identified."
One think you have to remember is that since Bill wrote that book many many years ago additional research and other info have come to light. A great case in point is a Dog River I have in my collection.

 
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