Sword Presented to Henry W. Lawton

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Mike Serpa

Jan 24, 2013
Lawton won a Medal of Honor during the Atlanta campaign and, as a Major General, was the highest ranking American officer to fall in battle in either the Spanish-American or Philippine-American wars.

This sword was presented to Lieutenant Colonel Henry W. Lawton by the officers and men of the 30th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The blade is Damascus steel; it is long, slightly curved, and single edged. The fuller is wide and shallow, and extends about two thirds of the way to the tip of the blade. Both sides are decorated in silver and gold chasing. The obverse bears a silver eagle surrounded by a scroll pattern, wearing a US shield and holding an "E PLURIBUS / UNUM" banner in the middle of a large sunburst, all backed in gold chasing. The reverse of the blade features the same design with a "U.S." monogram surrounded by the inscription "For Union / and Liberty." The grip features a silver figure of Nike holding a laurel wreath; she is resting against a piece of gold metal in the shape of a large palm leaf. The knuckle-bow is a brass strip that branches off about half way down the hilt. The strip and branch are adorned in oak leaves and acorns. The branch widens into a large half basket shaped counterguard which is covered in openwork scroll design. This terminates in a quillon in the shape of a dragon's head. The scabbard is gilded and bears three silvered mounts. The first mount features a medieval trophy design surrounded by laurel wreath and scroll designs. The reverse bears a "US" monogram with similar surroundings. The middle mount features a US shield held by an eagle standing on a globe with an identical laurel and scroll pattern. The bottom mount, which acts as the drag, features another eagle/ US shield design, as well as an ornate engraving of laurel leaves and scrolls. Between the first and second mount a plate with an engraved inscription to Lawton reads “LIEUT. COL. HENRY W. LAWTON / 30th Ind. Vet. Vol Infty. / Presented by the Officers and Men of his Regiment / as a token of confidence and respect. / March 4th 1865” The plate is surrounded by names of the battles he fought: Shiloh / Corinth / Stone River / Chickamauga / Atlanta / Franklin / Nashville. Between the second and first mount is a plate with castings of oak sprays and acorns. The carrying rings to the scabbard with an acorn shaped ring.

MOH citation:
Rank and organization: Captain, Company A, 30th Indiana Infantry. Place and date: At Atlanta, Ga., August 3, 1864. Entered service at: Ft. Wayne, Allen County, Ind. Birth: Ohio. Date of issue: May 22, 1893.

Led a charge of skirmishers against the enemy's rifle pits and stubbornly and successfully resisted 2 determined attacks of the enemy to retake the works.


The History and Conquest of the Philippines, 1899, Page 90
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