Help With Confederate Sword of a Blockade Runner Officer Named Hedian


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James N.

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#3
It looks like a standard Civil War-era import of what appears to be a M.1860 cavalry saber. Lacking any evidence as to its use the notation is pretty much worthless and adds nothing to its value, which is in the few hundred dollars range considering its condition. Having a knight's head mark denotes it as a Solingen product.
 
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Story

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#5

Story

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#6
NPS has a rinky-dink searchable Civil War name database (not as good as FOLD3 and/or Ancestry, but it's free).

Running Hedian, we get three hits - all for Robert Hedian.
Looks like he was a 2nd Lieut in Co I 58th PA Infantry when he mustered out.
BATTLE UNIT NAME:58th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry
SIDE:Union
COMPANY:E,I
SOLDIER'S RANK IN:Sergeant
SOLDIER'S RANK OUT:Second Lieutenant
https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search...oldierId=25913CA7-DC7A-DF11-BF36-B8AC6F5D926A

Being a 2nd Lieutenant, he'd rate the privelged of lugging around a sword - but an 1860 Cavalry saber? Meh.

Note that Robert Hedian who served in the 5th NY HA has a note to see the 58th PA Inf records (probably his earliest service as a PVT, which is why he could enter the 58th PA INF as a SGT).
https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search...oldierId=24913CA7-DC7A-DF11-BF36-B8AC6F5D926A
...cause he mustered out of the 5th NY HA as a CPL https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search...oldierId=0CA43CA7-DC7A-DF11-BF36-B8AC6F5D926A

For PA units, your best bet for one stop information shopping is Bates.

The right wing of the Fifty-eighth Regiment, consisting of companies A, B, C, D, and K, was recruited in the city of Philadelphia and vicinity, under the direction of J. tichter Jones, who had received the requisite authority from the Governor, and rendezvoused at Roxboro' near Philadelphia. The left wing, companies E, F, G, H, and I, were recruited in the counties of Warren, M'Kean, Cameron, Clinton, Northumberland, Luzerne, and Potter, under Carlton B. Curtis, who had likewise received authority to raise a regiment, and rendezvoused at a camp near Huntingdon, subsequently at Camp Curtin, and finally at Camp Curtis, near Philadelphia, and was designated the One Hundred and Fourteenth. Failing to secure a sufficient number of men for two full regiments, by mutual agreement, the two were consolidated, and the combined force received for its designation the lowest number of the line.

https://webcache.googleusercontent....y/58th/58thorg.html+&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

You'll see that I bolded LUZERNE above, as that's the county where your Wilkes-Barre Historical folks can be found. Note that Robert served in Companies E & I, both of wich were of the Regiment's Left Wing.

If you can place Robert Hedian being buried in the area somewheres, then I would suggest that 2nd Lieut Robert Hedian donating a war trophy might be the actual story behind this sword.

nb: Stray thought - was the 5th NY HA issued M1860 sabers?
 
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#8
UVCrelics is spot-on in his identification of the saber and its maker. I doubt very much that it was carried by the Robert Hedian discussed above. This is a cavalry saber, and it is unlikely a Pennsylvania infantry type would carry one no matter what his rank - officer, NCO, or private. Aside from being non-regulation, it was also too long and too heavy for foot soldiers.
 

James N.

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#9
UVCrelics is spot-on in his identification of the saber and its maker. I doubt very much that it was carried by the Robert Hedian discussed above. This is a cavalry saber, and it is unlikely a Pennsylvania infantry type would carry one no matter what his rank - officer, NCO, or private. Aside from being non-regulation, it was also too long and too heavy for foot soldiers.
I'd like to address this issue - although I somewhat agree, it should be remembered that officer's swords were private-purchase items and not issue items; therefore, impecunious junior officers sometimes "made do" with cavalry or artillery sabers until something better came along. (I remember one Confederate staff officer who had been "jumped" from infantry private to mounted aide-de-camp buying a captured Union cavalry saber from a friend of his for that very reason!) Also, it was relatively common for officers to use enlisted sabers in combat and save their officer's swords for dress purposes. And of course in the volunteer regiments that made up the bulk of armies North and South regulations were often ignored altogether whenever possible; for example, even though commanding the army, when he was wounded at Seven Pines Joe Johnston was wearing his father's sword from the Revolution or War of 1812!
 
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USS ALASKA

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#10
If it was a Union soldier named Hedian who this item belonged to, there is no reason for it to run the 'blockade', unless we REALLY extend the definition and effectiveness of the CSN cruisers. This COULD be an item that ran the Union blockade and belonged to a Confederate soldier named Hedian and was captured or otherwise acquired by a Union member and that is how it ended up in a PA museum.
97

Just a thought,
USS ALASKA
 

Story

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#11
otherwise acquired by a Union member and that is how it ended up in a PA museum.
I'd lay $20 on this part, for sure, but without further information it's a moot point supported only by S.W.A.G. (of which I am guilty of in the above post).

Tangential case study - once upon a time, someone advertised on Craigslist (for a whopping $15) a 1) 4" section of barbed wire, 2) an inert but reassembled 7.92 Mauser round dated '16 and 3) a complete but inert 37mm round for the M1916 infantry popgun. They mentioned finding this little treasure trove in a circa 1900 worker's house they'd purchased in a PA coal town. Circumstantial evidence would indicate that these three items were related and possibly souvenirs by the same WWI veteran. I wasn't smart enough at the time to ask who owned the house or to make a record of the address of this porch purchase so they're remain an untold story until disposed of after my passing. Until then, I get it - they were once someone's memories (how Blade Runner -esque).

Still on the table - what's the deal with NY Heavy Artillery units? Someone's got to have some primary source that details what blades they were issued (if any).

Answering my own question, in part - returns for some of the NY independent batteries
  • 26th Battery: Twenty-five (?) army revolvers, twelve cavalry sabers, and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 27th Battery: Seventeen army revolvers, thirty cavalry sabers, and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 30th Battery: Six army revolvers and fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • 32nd Battery: Nine army revolvers, thirty-six cavalry sabers, and eleven foot artillery swords.

https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/tag/13th-new-york-heavy-artillery/

Treadwell of the 14th NYHA was lugging this Tiffany cav saber around, which again I ask - what were the grunts issued?
https://www.morphyauctions.com/jame...t-wa-treadwell-14th-ny-heavy-artillery-51048/

SGT Whitaker of the 14th NYHA looks like he's got an Infantry NCO sword of some flavor? (Could also be a studio prop).
https://www.loc.gov/resource/ppmsca.57721/
 
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Story

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#12
Plot twist.

HEDIAN , ROBERT.—Age, 33 years. Enlisted, February 23,1864, at Brooklyn; mustered in as private, Co. D, February 24, 1864, to serve three years; appointed corporal, March 20, 1865; mustered out with company, July 19, 1865, at Harpers Ferry, Va.; veteran.
p.272 5th NYHA Regimental Roster
https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Artillery/5thArtCW_Roster.pdf


Compare that to the records for the 58th PA, where he was *supposed* to be in Co E http://www.pa-roots.com/pacw/infantry/58th/58thcoe.html and yet only shows up in Co I
http://www.pa-roots.com/pacw/infantry/58th/58thcoi.html

That information is the same found in the PA Civil War Veterans' Card File, 1861-1866 at http://www.digitalarchives.state.pa...hiveID=17&FID=1217085&LID=1217134&FL=H&Page=1

..these two cards show that he mustered into the 58th PA as PVT in 1861 and was discharged for disability in August 1863 at a Lieut and from service on September 29th 1864. See
http://www.digitalarchives.state.pa.us/Archives/17/22/LoadMedia/3202/0001/2072.gif
and
http://www.digitalarchives.state.pa.us/Archives/17/22/LoadMedia/3202/0001/2073.gif

So despite what the NPS says, I don't think this is the same guy as the 5th NY HA. Better information can be found in the Consolidated Military Service Records and Pension Record Indexs on FOLD3.

Still, the best question to go back to the Wilkes Barre Historical Society with is "what do you know about Robert Hedian, 58th PA?"
 

ucvrelics

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#13
To a collector its just an 1940 wrist breaker. The description on the tag is suspect as where did the CS blockade run story come from to begin with? If you look at the tag, the label has been placed over something else and IMHO if it looks like an 1840 and quacks like an 1840, its an 1840.
 

zburkett

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#14
Just to be a contrarian, could this be a captured war trophy? Most of the German WW II items you find are either fakes or someone's grandfather's trophy he brought home. There is no way of knowing but isn't it possible that it was picked up as a battle souvenir and the descendants thought it was what he carried?
 
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Story

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#15
Just to be a contrarian, could this be a captured war trophy? Most of the German WW II items you find are either fakes or someone's grandfather's trophy he brought home. There is no way of knowing but isn't it possible that it was picked up as a battle souvenir and the descendants thought it was what he carried?
Exactly, and I believe I stated as such with different words above.

To a collector its just an 1940 wrist breaker. The description on the tag is suspect as where did the CS blockade run story come from to begin with? If you look at the tag, the label has been placed over something else and IMHO if it looks like an 1840 and quacks like an 1840, its an 1840.
That is an excellent 1st logical question - *why* would it have a 'blockade runner' reference? Occam's Razor would dictate that someone recognized the German mark and made a leap of logic, German blade = not American = something run through the blockade.

Follow me on this - it's like a game of CLUE. Obviously the 'museum tag' is garbled and yeah, with the evidence supplied it's just an 1840. However, are we asking the right questions?

Just because the starting evidence is scant does not mean that the OP has hit a brick wall, because generating logical follow-up questions might lead to solid answers (like an article from 1887 stating "Bob Hedian donated a sword to the Historical Foundation today, one he found while coming home from Virginia" or somesuch).

OP supplied two data points to start with - the name Hedian and the Wilkes Barre location.

Consider it a historical exercise to work those two as far as possible.

Other questions.

Where there two Robert Hedians?

Were 1840 wristbreakers issued to the 5th NY HA.

Does Robert Hedian show up in newspapers.com for the greater Wilkes Barre area, 1860 to say 1920? Bob shows up in the History of Lucerne County, but only in a roster of men in the 58th PA https://archive.org/details/historyofluzerne00brad/page/n8

nb: Just another tangential thought - there could be a Hedian who 1) was a cavalry trooper who 2) is buried somewhere that doesn't show up on FindAGrave and 3) might have been related to Lieutenant Bob in the 58th PA.
 
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#16
Great conversation here! Thank you everybody for your thoughts and time! That is quite a bit of research you provided @Story! I used your submissions for some research of my own. I found Robert Hedian of the 58th PA mentioned by name in a book titled, The American Volunteer: The Most Heroic Soldier the World Has Ever Known, on page 57, in a story about the battle at Fort Harrison on Sep 29, 1864. It says that he was severely wounded during the battle. I further found Robert Hedian mentioned in two separate Luzerne County (where the Wilkes Barre Historical Society is located) history books. In each book it says he was discharged because of wounds sustained at Fort Harrison on Sep 29, 1864.

With this in mind, it could be possible that this sword was captured by Robert Hedian during this battle, and in his possession until he died, at which time it may have been passed to the Wilkes Barre Historical Society with a story like, I remember grandpop telling me....we hear these types of stories all the time when we are picking. With a story like that, I can see how the tag can read as it does. That would make @Hussar Yeomanry's suggestion very reasonable.
 

Story

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#17
Glad I could help you expand the number of questions you should be asking @JohnOrtegae

As a warning about making assumptions and leaps of logic, I was given a 1913 'Patton' saber that was [according to my elderly source] "used by her brother when he rode his horse around on their property" after WW2.

While there was a National Guard cavalry unit this man would have logically been associated with, his WW2 service was limited to two years as a Warrant Officer in a technical branch. Further digging showed that he never left the US and never had pre-war service.

In all likelihood, he bought his saber from a hardware store and used it to skewer pumpkins.

Still an awesome sword [making Star Wars light sabre noises]
 
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#18
Fascinating thread, with good info. Agree with the others that (1) the tag indicates run in through the blockade, (2) info on the tag is probably second- or third hand, and unreliable, and (3) the possibility that this was a battlefield souvenir is not to be discounted.

Carry on, folks.
 
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#19
Great conversation here! Thank you everybody for your thoughts and time! That is quite a bit of research you provided @Story! I used your submissions for some research of my own. I found Robert Hedian of the 58th PA mentioned by name in a book titled, The American Volunteer: The Most Heroic Soldier the World Has Ever Known, on page 57, in a story about the battle at Fort Harrison on Sep 29, 1864. It says that he was severely wounded during the battle. I further found Robert Hedian mentioned in two separate Luzerne County (where the Wilkes Barre Historical Society is located) history books. In each book it says he was discharged because of wounds sustained at Fort Harrison on Sep 29, 1864.

With this in mind, it could be possible that this sword was captured by Robert Hedian during this battle, and in his possession until he died, at which time it may have been passed to the Wilkes Barre Historical Society with a story like, I remember grandpop telling me....we hear these types of stories all the time when we are picking. With a story like that, I can see how the tag can read as it does. That would make @Hussar Yeomanry's suggestion very reasonable.
If he was severely wounded, he most certainly did not retain a captured sword. I believe like @Story, that the Historical Society supplied a theoretical story based upon the German import mark. Doubtful these were issued to a HA unit as most times, they were used as infantry.

Many veterans picked up all kinds of pieces during reunions and battlefield visits. I have 3 different veteran groupings with all kinds of battlefield memorabilia picked up post war.

Basically you have a nice sword.
 
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#20
To a collector its just an 1940 wrist breaker. The description on the tag is suspect as where did the CS blockade run story come from to begin with? If you look at the tag, the label has been placed over something else and IMHO if it looks like an 1840 and quacks like an 1840, its an 1840.
Read the under tag by simply using my iPhone flashlight.
 



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