NCO Sword Information

JimN

Cadet
Joined
Dec 3, 2014
Hi everyone, I have a few questions about an NCO sword I have in my collection. It is damaged. The top part of the guard is unattached from the pommel. It has markings on the ricasso of C. Roby (barely visible) and Chelmsford on one side and “US 1863 FSS” on the other. Underneath where the guard is supposed to go into the pommel is written “37A” I believe. It has an all metal scabbard. My questions are:

1. I was told this is not the original scabbard. Is that correct? (At the drag on the scabbard are the initials DFH).

2. The blade is in pretty poor condition but my question concerns the detachment of the guard from the pommel. How do you think this happened and are the numbers around the guard/pommel indicative of maybe going back to the factory for repair?
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bobinwmass

Corporal
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
It is likely that the inspector initials on the scabbard drag are D.F.M. for Dexter F. Mossman, who inspected Emerson & Silver NCO swords and scabbards during the Civil War. Emerson & Silver made NCO swords with steel scabbards. So the scabbard was made by Emerson & Silver, not Roby. Roby typically made leather NCO scabbards. But an interesting side note is that during the war, the State of Massachusetts ordered from Roby a small amount of steel replacement scabbards (12 in 1862) for NCO swords. Now did Roby make these scabbards themself, or would they have purchased these from Emerson & Silver instead of tooling up themselves for such a small order? As for the damage, it could have happened in any number of ways. It looks like the counterguards have also taken some hits. The 37A could also mean anything, from some sort of rack or tracking number to maybe 37th Regiment Company A. I don't think damaged swords were sent back to the original factory for repair. In Massachusetts, for example, A. J. Drake was used for the cleaning and repair of various firearms, swords, and scabbards.
 

JimN

Cadet
Joined
Dec 3, 2014
Hi thanks for the reply. The initials on the drag are DFM not DFH which I stated in the original post. Interesting info you provided. So, whoever made the scabbard, is it original to the war? Or is it post-war?
 

bobinwmass

Corporal
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
Hi thanks for the reply. The initials on the drag are DFM not DFH which I stated in the original post. Interesting info you provided. So, whoever made the scabbard, is it original to the war? Or is it post-war?
Yes, it is original. The D.F.M. initials are found on war time Emerson & Silver scabbards, 1862 and 1863.
 

James N.

Colonel
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Feb 23, 2013
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East Texas
Hi thanks for the reply. The initials on the drag are DFM not DFH which I stated in the original post. Interesting info you provided. So, whoever made the scabbard, is it original to the war? Or is it post-war?
These are wartime. The typical NCO's and musicians' scabbards were a poor design in the first place, weak leather likely to break; E&S definitely had the right idea, but I imagine their complete swords were more expensive accordingly, not a popular option with penny-pinchers submitting orders for them - some things never change.
 

bayonet

Private
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
As a collector I stir clear of leather scabbards but that's just me. Too many damaged, easily damaged, a pain to restore and maintain, etc. I'll display the Swords in metal scabbards but ones that would of been in leather scabbards I just display with no scabbards like the NCO sword. Bad enough over the years to maintain original leather grips or just send them off to a Sword Restoration Expert.
 

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