Detroit made sabers for the First U.S. Lancers (Rankin's Lancers).

major bill

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I am looking at the First United States Lancers a.k.a. Rankin’s Lancers a.k.a. Michigan Lancers. Samuel Shaw (also said to be W. H. Shaw) of Detroit made these sabers, but what what type of sabers did Shaw manufacture? The name of Samuel Shaw does not appear in the 1860 Gazetteer and is very likely the same as S. Shawe who was located on Woodward Avenue at the corner of Bush Street, Detroit, who according to the Gazetteer owned a cutlery and edged tools factory.

Harper's Weekly for Dec. 21 1861 shows a sketch made by B .R. Erman showing the First United States Lancers a.k.a. Rankin’s Lancers. http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1861/december/colonel-rankin.htm

The sketch in Harper's Weekly shows the Shawe made sabers.
sabers.jpg


Man #1 may be an officer and may well have a private purchase sword or saber. Man # 2 has a saber under his arm and,do to his carbine, is likely an enlisted man. Man #3 we can only see the hilt.

What the the odds that the sketch by Mr. Erman is accurate? Perhaps Mr. Erman simply put in his sketch what he thought a saber looked like.

Let us for a moment believe that Mr. Erman's sketch is accurate when it comes to the sabers. I do not believe Shawe designed a saber from scratch and made his own copy of an already existing saber. Can we tell from this sketch what style of sabers Mr. Shawe made?

Lastly, has anyone seen a copy of the 1000+ sabers made by S. Shaw, located on Woodward Avenue at the corner of Bush Street in Detroit?
 

ucvrelics

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Its hard to say based on just a drawing but the style looks like a field officers sword.
 

Kurt G

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I'm not so sure about the accuracy of the illustration . It shows the carbine as being on a sling over the shoulder but the width looks like a carbine belt from which the carbine should be hanging .
 

major bill

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The accuracy of these newspaper illustrations are always questionable. I wonder what happened to the Shawe made sabers when the First United States Lancers disbanded? The Shawe made lances went in to storage in Michigan. However, the sabers probably would have been issued to some other regiment.
 

major bill

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Its hard to say based on just a drawing but the style looks like a field officers sword.

That would be my first guess. I assume that an officer would have not waited until the regiment's sabers were made and purchased a saber from a military store in Detroit.
 

major bill

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I am more interested in the uniforms in the sketch, but am not sure of the accuracy of the sketch. If B .R. Erman was inaccurate with the sabers, lances, and carbines, then how accurate he was with the uniforms?
 

Kurt G

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I am more interested in the uniforms in the sketch, but am not sure of the accuracy of the sketch. If B .R. Erman was inaccurate with the sabers, lances, and carbines, then how accurate he was with the uniforms?
Good question . Why does the uniform of the lancer on the left appear so much lighter than the mounted officer or Lancer on the right ? It looks to be a completely different color.
 

ucvrelics

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Good question . Why does the uniform of the lancer on the left appear so much lighter than the mounted officer or Lancer on the right ? It looks to be a completely different color.
You can't take anything for fact as its just a drawing.
 

major bill

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Here is the whole image.

lancers.jpg


These are not the undress uniforms seen by the newspaper.

“We have seen the undress uniform of the Lancers. It consists of dark blue pants with an inch and a half gold stripe on either side; a green, tight fitting jacket with three rows of ornamental buttons running from either shoulder and the chin to a point at the waist; the cap is blue, and is surrounded with an inch and a half gold band. The full dress has not been decided upon. The uniform above described will be far the most showy of any yet.”i​

However, the lancer cap and stripe on the trousers could fit the newspaper article. Colonel Rankin's original plan was to obtain uniform items from New York and from Europe. He then decided that having the items made in Detroit helped him politically. Samuel Sykes an Company of Detroit made the Lancer's uniforms. Sykes was to provide two hundred and fifty suits to the 1st Lancers by mid December of 1861. 100 of these uniforms were delivered on December 24. Sykes had made nine button roundabouts, five button Michigan sack coats, frock coats, and mounted jackets for Michigan soldiers, so could have made whatever the Lancers wanted. At that time Sykes was obtaining dark blue army cloth from a New York firm.

The Detroit Free Press of March 22 1862 printed a letter from a recently discharged lancer, which details what he had been issued. He had received 1 overcoat, 1 jacket, 1 pair of shoddy pants, 1 cloth cap, 1 blanket, 1 pair of boots, 2 cotton shirts, 2 pairs of cotton drawers, and 2 pairs of socks.

It seems odd that no soldier from this regiment would have not visited one of the many photophilic shops in Detroit. The only possible image of the Lancers is that of a lieutenant in a officer frock coat and trousers with a wide stripe. Even this image is in question because the lieutenant joined a Wisconsin regiment after the Lancers were disbanded.

i “The Lancers”, Detroit Daily Advertiser October 3 1861, p. 1, col. 2.
 

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