Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > 18th c. regimental Basket Hilt... Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2  Next 
Author Message
Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 87

PostPosted: Tue 24 Mar, 2009 9:40 am    Post subject: 18th c. regimental Basket Hilt...         Reply with quote

Of the 42nd highland "Black Watch" division. Does anyone know more about these swords? Were they always backswords? What years did they come out?
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,239

PostPosted: Tue 24 Mar, 2009 10:21 am    Post subject: Re: 18th c. regimental Basket Hilt...         Reply with quote

Carl Massaro wrote:
Of the 42nd highland "Black Watch" division. Does anyone know more about these swords? Were they always backswords? What years did they come out?


Carl...

First, there was/is no "Black Watch Division". The highland regiment that became the 42d Highland Reg't started out as the 43rd Reg't of the British Army and was the first to be raised in the HIghlands of Scotland. Six companies of Highlanders were raised in 1739 to form the regiment. At that time the members of the regiment brought their own swords, dirks and pistols with them. They were issued long land pattern muskets by the government. A substantial number of the members of the regiment were gentlemen of some means, which meant they could afford swords, dirks and pistols, and many of them also brought along their gillies to carry their arms and equipment for them.

Because they brought their own sidearms, the type of sword varied from man to man. Based on what most well-equipped Highlanders carried in those days, there was definitely a mix of broadswords and backswords and I doubt that there was any standardization at all.

As the regiment became more of a true British army regiment, and was re-numbered to the 42d Reg't, swords became more standardized, as they were procured by the war department rather than provided by the individual soldier, officers being an exception to that rule. This was also true of pistols and dirks. The real standardization of basket hilts came about in the 19th c. when the pattern 1828 broadsword became standard issue, and that pattern is still standard today.

About 1776 the rank and file were ordered to abandon their swords, dirks and pistols - excepting the officer corps - and rely on the musket.

Hope this helps.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982


Last edited by Lin Robinson on Sat 28 Mar, 2009 7:29 am; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 24 Mar, 2009 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl,
If you have a broader interest in regimental basket hilts of the 18th century, I recommend Swords for the Highland Regiments, 1757-1784 by Anthony D. Darling.

Jonathan
View user's profile Send private message
Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 87

PostPosted: Tue 24 Mar, 2009 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is the type of sword I am referring to:

(photo from themadpiper.com)

I am wondering what years these were issued, if they were regulation and if they were all backswords.

I recently came across one antique of this design that was double edged, which puzzled me, as I thought that they were supposed to be single-edgled.
View user's profile Send private message
Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 24 Mar, 2009 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The book I recommended above discusses these swords. It is my understanding that they were all backswords (or supposed to be), but I'd have to consult the book to be certain.

Jonathan
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,239

PostPosted: Tue 24 Mar, 2009 6:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
The book I recommended above discusses these swords. It is my understanding that they were all backswords (or supposed to be), but I'd have to consult the book to be certain.

Jonathan


I looked at my copy of Mr. Darling's book. He does state that the examples he examined for his book were backswords. However, he also says, quite correctly, that very few enlisted men's swords, which is what these two are, survive. George Neumann, in his book on Revolutionary War arms, also illustrates one of these backswords with the statement , "Here is the backsword style (one edge) usually associated with the famed Black Watch (42d) Regiment and other Scottish troops during the French and Indian War..." From comments by both of these very learned gentlemen, I think it is safe to assume that most enlisted troops were equipped with the English-made backsword, which was inferior to the Scottish product of early in the century. However, there are no true absolutes in this subject, so it is entirely possible that broadswords were issued as well.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message
Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 87

PostPosted: Wed 25 Mar, 2009 6:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, guys.

I bought one that has a double edged, braadsword blade and some interesting leather washers between the blade and basket and between the basket and the handle. The washers are incredibly old and dry, and look to be original. They still have cow hair (or horse hair) on them. I am wondering what to make of this.

I will attach some pictures if anyone is interested.
View user's profile Send private message
Christopher Gregg




Location: Louisville, KY
Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 673

PostPosted: Wed 25 Mar, 2009 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl, yes please! Pics are always welcome. I'm a friend of The Mad Piper (Donnie Shearer), and have handled the very regimental basket hilt you have pictured, as well as his re-creation. They're both very nice. Cool
Christopher Gregg

'S Rioghal Mo Dhream!
View user's profile Send private message
Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 87

PostPosted: Thu 26 Mar, 2009 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is the regimental basket hilt with the broadsword blade and the original leather washers with cow hair on them.
There is absolutely no evidence of this being rehilted. Everything is tight and appears to be original, including the peen on the pommel. The balance is also excellent and quite maneuverable. It is just dirty and needs to be lightly cleaned.

Please excuse the quality of the pictures, I didn't have time to set up proper lighting:







View user's profile Send private message
Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 87

PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just noticed that the piercings on this hilt of mine are a bit different, as there are more circles than on the standard M1757 backswords pictured. In light of that, and the broad blade, perhaps this was an officer's sword?
View user's profile Send private message
Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 87

PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the way, the blade is 32 inches long and the sword weighs 2lbs 7oz.

According to Mazansky's Basket-Hilted Broadswords, the basket is a type F22a and is "the first identifiable one which conformed to a specific pattern for enlisted men." The F22a in the book has regimental date as early as 1757.

Here is the "Mt" on the basket. I am not sure if it is an "Mt" or a "tW."



Another picture of the basket:



Any ideas?
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,239

PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl Massaro wrote:
I just noticed that the piercings on this hilt of mine are a bit different, as there are more circles than on the standard M1757 backswords pictured. In light of that, and the broad blade, perhaps this was an officer's sword?


I doubt it was an officer's sword. They usually purchased their own sidearms. There were a number of contractors turning out these swords for the British goverment and while they were to generally conform to set patterns, there were variations. Are there any makers' marks on the blade?

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message
Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 87

PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are no markings on the blade.

My reasoning behind this possibly being an officer's sword is the fact that it has a broadsword blade while most issued examples were backswords, also the "Mt" on the basket and the unique washers make me think that perhaps somone comisioned a private maker to design a basket in the style of their regiment. Does this sound plausible?

What makes you think that it might not be an officer's sword? I'm not being sarcastic, I am genuinely interested in learning more about this.
View user's profile Send private message
Chris Goerner




Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Likes: 14 pages

Posts: 354

PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2009 4:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl,

I would agree Lin -- it is highly doubtful that this is an officer's sword. Officers typically purchased their commission at this time. They were men of means who did not try to match the appearance of the common soldiers under their command, but rather tried to stand out from them. Their uniforms were of much higher quality as were their weapons. The sword in your photos is simply not of officer quality, but resembles closely other enlistedmen's swords of the period.

Broadswords were not unheard of among the rank and file. Neumann has a photo of one in his book Swords and Blades of the American Revolution. My scanner isn't working, but maybe someone else with that book can post a scan of sword #241.S. The basket and blade on that sword are nearly identical to yours including the piercings.

The washer you refer to at the base of the grip is not a washer at all, but the remains of a leather base pad or basket liner. These were commonly added to swords of the 18th century to add protection for the hand.

All that said, I hope you will not be disappointed that this isn't an officer's sword. It is a wonderful example of an important sword type and appears to be in solid condition. Congratulations on a great find!

Sic Semper Tyranus
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,239

PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2009 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris...

G Gedney Godwin supplies a fairly accurate reproduction of the enlisted man's backsword and a broadsword with the same hilt. I am sure you have seen that. The photos in their online catalog are not very clear but from what I see it appears to have the same pommel, guards and probably piercings as Carl's original. I did get a look at one some years ago and it was solidly constructed. The blade was mild steel.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message
Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 87

PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2009 6:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies.

Chris, I do have Neuman's book and I just took a look at sword 241.s. You're right! Exact same baket, although the pommel is more rounded. I am not at all disappointed that this is not an officer's sword, but it is starting to look like there is a possibility that ithis is an earlier issued infantry sword. Perhaps before the standard M1757 backsword?

241.s dates between 1725-1750 and the book states that the hilt is of a traditional design. According to Neuman, Scottish infantrymen were responsible for furnishing their own swords as early as 1725.

What do you guys think?
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,239

PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2009 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl Massaro wrote:
Thanks for the replies.

Chris, I do have Neuman's book and I just took a look at sword 241.s. You're right! Exact same baket, although the pommel is more rounded. I am not at all disappointed that this is not an officer's sword, but it is starting to look like there is a possibility that ithis is an earlier issued infantry sword. Perhaps before the standard M1757 backsword?

241.s dates between 1725-1750 and the book states that the hilt is of a traditional design. According to Neuman, Scottish infantrymen were responsible for furnishing their own swords as early as 1725.

What do you guys think?


What Neuman is referring to when he says that Scottish infantry furnished their own swords is undoubtedly the Black Watch, which was covered above. While there were Scottish infantry fighting - in Scotland - for the British army as early as 1645, they were lowland units and groups like Glenlyon's company of the Earl of Argyll's regiment which was at Glencoe. These troops were strictly speaking not part of the British military establishment and what arms they carried were furnished by their Colonel, who would be, in the case of Glenlyon's company, the Duke of Argyll. Consequently any swords carried by enlisted men would most likely have been provided by themselves.

While your sword could be earlier, I think it is more likely to be the standard issue sword of the mid-18th century. The Highland Scots in general did not truly serve in the British army until the establishment of the Black Watch in 1739, and it was not until after the failure of the last Jacobite rebellion in 1746 and the beginning of British expansion of empire that they became a major factor in the army.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message
Dustin Keith




Location: North Carolina
Joined: 09 Dec 2008

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2009 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm a corporate pilot, and as such I often have the opportunity to spend time around different unexpected parts of the country. This weekend I've been in St. Simons Island GA, and have spent most the day at Fort Fredrica, and the site of the Battle of Bloody Marsh. General Oglethorp was reenforced here with a group of Higlanders, that were from the 42nd. This was in 1738ish, and here in GA, they were issued a musket, targe, and baskit hilt just like the one that you pictured. It too was double edged, and had been sharpend so many times on both edges, as to wear down in the middle of the blade. It also had the same stamp on the blade that your photo has, and it was stated that this group wore the Blackwatch, but did not indicate as to where the sword was made. Kind of cool though, Scottish Highlanders fighting alongside Indians, against the Spanish in the Isles of South Georgia.
Those who have the ability to help, have a responsibility to do so.
View user's profile Send private message
Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 87

PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2009 4:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great information, Lin! Thank you!

Dustin, that is very interesting indeed! Ae you referring to a specific antique sword that you saw there?

The ""Mt" mark on my sword is on the top of the basket, not the blade. Did you see the same "Mt" on another basket hilted sword?
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,239

PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2009 6:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dustin Keith wrote:
the Battle of Bloody Marsh. General Oglethorp was reenforced here with a group of Higlanders, that were from the 42nd. This was in 1738ish, and here in GA, they were issued a musket, targe, and baskit hilt just like the one that you pictured. It too was double edged, and had been sharpend so many times on both edges, as to wear down in the middle of the blade. It also had the same stamp on the blade that your photo has, and it was stated that this group wore the Blackwatch, but did not indicate as to where the sword was made. Kind of cool though, Scottish Highlanders fighting alongside Indians, against the Spanish in the Isles of South Georgia.


I have to correct a couple of things here. The 42d Regiment of Foot was Oglethorpe's regiment and was not composed of Highlanders. In 1742, when the Battle of Bloody Marsh took place, the (still) 43rd Regiment, or Black Watch, was in Scotland, not in Georgia. In 1743, when the regiment was marched south to England, a rumor spread that it was to be sent to fight in Flanders and a mutiny broke out, which resulted in three of the ringleaders' execution. This supposedly helped to foment the last Jacobite Rebellion in 1745. The 43rd was renumbered to the 42d, when Oglethorpe's regiment was reduced in 1749.

I have heard that Highlanders (militia) fought with broadsword and targe at Bloody Marsh but I find that a bit difficult to believe. The terrain was not conducive to that style of fighting and the men who came to help Oglethorpe fight the Spanish were settlers from the far west. I doubt they were still wearing the kilt and fighting in the Highland manner, but who knows, they may have been. However, for me, the story smacks of Victorian fantasy.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > 18th c. regimental Basket Hilt...
Page 1 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2020 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum