English-Made Sword with a Very Shiny Scabbard and a Kerr Revolver

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lelliott19

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Interesting English-made sword with a very shiny scabbard distributed by Halfmann and Taylor of Montgomery, AL who financed the manufacture of swords and buttons in England that were shipped through the blockade.
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This particular sword was carried by James Nicholas Gilmer, (20 March 1839 - 16 July 1920) Enlisted 2nd Lieut. Company F, 3rd Alabama Infantry, and later served as Adjutant of the 60th Alabama Infantry. Find A Grave Memorial Apologies for the glare on the glass. Speaking of glare - that shiny scabbard seems pretty impractical doesn't it? Seems like it would be an excellent target for enemy fire? But our guy lived to tell about it so maybe not?
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James N Gilmer, shown here in his early war Metropolitan Guards uniform. The Metropolitan Guards became a part of Company F 3rd Alabama Infantry. Gilmer served as a second lieutenant in that outfit, before accepting a staff position in Hilliard's Legion in 1862 - Adjutant 60th Alabama. [Image from Alabama Department of Archives and History photographs collection.] Here's another closer up image of the sword and scabbard.
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Not attributed to Gilmer, but exhibited in the same case, a fine English made Kerr revolver.
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Serial number appears to be S971 or 8971. What is engraved on the grip?
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Both items exhibited as part of the "Voices of Alabama" exhibit, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama with the following description:
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Lanyard Puller

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Once the sun gets a bit higher here, I'll post photos the blade etchings on a similar sword. They are unique to CS imported English swords The serial number on the Kerr is 8971. More info on the lock marking follows also... Computer issues this morning.....:unsure:
 

Lanyard Puller

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@lelliott19,

The sword you saw is almost in factory new condition. The shiny scabbard is polished {English} steel, and the hilt still retains all of the leather inside the guard. No records exist as to how many of these Halfmann & Taylor imported, but they are scarce today, especially with "condition".

Here's some photos of the marks, followed by some Kerr, LAC, marks:

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The Kerr/London Armory Revolver:

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The Kerr is from a cased set, likely a late war Wilmington, NC arrival. These do not have the "JS/anchor" mark of the standard issue Kerrs.
 
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James N.

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Interesting English-made sword with a very shiny scabbard distributed by Halfmann and Taylor of Montgomery, AL who financed the manufacture of swords and buttons in England that were shipped through the blockade... Speaking of glare - that shiny scabbard seems pretty impractical doesn't it? Seems like it would be an excellent target for enemy fire? But our guy lived to tell about it so maybe not?
The sword you saw is almost in factory new condition. The shiny scabbard is polished {English} steel, and the hilt still retains all of the leather inside the guard. No records exist as to how many of these Halfmann & Taylor imported, but they are scarce today, especially with "condition"...
View attachment 327930
This type of sword was frequently used by Union officers as well, and as such old collectors like me remember it as Peterson #75 from its listing in the one-time Bible of sword collecting usually known as Peterson's Guide to U.S. Regulation Swords. Of course the U.S. version lacked the oval with the engraved eagle with CSA on its chest, usually featuring a cut-out eagle perched atop the letters U S; I've seen a picture of one that had an engraved seated Liberty similar to the one on, I believe, Barber dimes or other U.S. coinage. Note especially that the guard is made from a single sheet of stamped steel - in the case of this one there's a leather insert inside the guard; the one I owned and others I've seen lack or maybe have simply lost this feature.

These were a COPY of an English prototype: In most European armies there were two classes of infantry, heavy or line infantry, and light infantry, often called by this time rifles. This sword with its steel (instead of brass) hilt was designated as for Officers of Rifle Regiments, who usually wore GREEN uniforms, in contrast to the usual RED. Since technically ALL U.S. infantry was by nature light infantry - that is, trained as skirmishers using rifles, rifled muskets, or rifle-muskets - these were popular swords among militia and volunteer officers. I've seen one in Boston, Mass. attributed to Col. Robert Shaw of the 54th Mass. Like this one, they were all imports, often made by Clauberg in Solingen, and also marked with a U. S. (or in this case, C. S.) importer; mine was also marked Fitch & Waldo.
 
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Seduzal

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Thanks for sharing this interesting story and photos. Although I don’t have a collection of any thing I do admire looking at at these type of photos makes me wonder... how many of these weapons were actually used in the war... enjoyed reading these.
 
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