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Brad Noel





Joined: 29 Jul 2009

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 1:37 pm    Post subject: Civil War sword?         Reply with quote

There is an heirloom sword in my family which, it is claimed, belonged to our direct ancestor who served as a captain of the Louisiana Cavalry Scouts (a Union-raised Louisiana outfit, for those not familiar). According to the engraving on the sword's blade, it was manufactured by F.W. Holler Solingen. There are also two very small (what appear to be) maker's marks on the blade.

According to family recollections, this sword has been in the family since the Civil War, passed down directly through three generations. But having looked online for information on the sword, I am starting to wonder what, exactly, we have. A few Google searches have revealed that F.W. Holler manufactured a large amount of the Third Reich's cutlery. But I can find almost nothing on the nineteenth century swords produced by F.W. Holler.

Although the Louisiana Cavalry Scouts were Union troops, I don't know whether or not they were outfitted by the Union army. They may, for example, have been responsible for arming themselves. As I know that this ancestor spent at least some time in New Orleans during the Civil War, I wonder if he might have purchased the sword there, privately, for his own use. I just cannot find any clear confirmation that swords like this were issued by the Union.

If anyone could provide help and/or guidance in solving this mystery, I would be very grateful. Thanks in advance for your answers and assistance.

I am attaching recent photos of the sword in question. Thanks!

<img src= ”http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3452/3770181684_10d26f694f_b.jpg>[/img]

<img src= "http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2547/3769382379_d337f7caf6_b.jpg>

<img src= "http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2613/3770182302_a0782b7a90_b.jpg>

<img src= "http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2489/3770182522_2d0e8fe91f_b.jpg>
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Brad Noel





Joined: 29 Jul 2009

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Trying to post pics again... or at least links to them (sorry):

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/27532674@N07/3770181684/" title="downloaded_7-2009_1204 by bottletreesouth, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3452/3770181684_10d26f694f_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="downloaded_7-2009_1204" /></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/27532674@N07/3769382379/" title="downloaded_7-2009_1205 by bottletreesouth, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2547/3769382379_d337f7caf6_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="downloaded_7-2009_1205" /></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/27532674@N07/3770182302/" title="downloaded_7-2009_1206 by bottletreesouth, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2613/3770182302_a0782b7a90_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="downloaded_7-2009_1206" /></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/27532674@N07/3770182522/" title="downloaded_7-2009_1207 by bottletreesouth, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2489/3770182522_2d0e8fe91f_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="downloaded_7-2009_1207" /></a>
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Brad Noel





Joined: 29 Jul 2009

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

arrrrghhhh...... trying again..... Links to the pics of the sword:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3452/3770181684_10d26f694f_b.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2547/3769382379_d337f7caf6_b.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2613/3770182302_a0782b7a90_b.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2489/3770182522_2d0e8fe91f_b.jpg
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Dan Dickinson
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Location: Michigan
Joined: 03 Oct 2004

Posts: 967

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 2:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks to me like a 1811 Prussian "Blucher" saber....but it's not exactly my area of expertise, so hopefully Jonathan H. will chime in.
I hope this helps,
Dan
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Brad Noel





Joined: 29 Jul 2009

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan:

That's very interesting b/c supposedly this man's father served in the War of 1812 under Oliver Hazard Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie (Sep. 10, 1813). I suppose it is at least possible that this sword, then, belonged to his father. Hmmmm.....
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's one in the collection of the Alabama Department of Archives and History. I dimly recall that I wondered about the accuracy of the ID/caption, but don't recall why. The point is, here's an almost identical sword from a nearby state. I want to say that this was for militia use but can't say for sure. No doubt, earlier militia swords were used by both sides during the Civil War, especially in the early years of the war (I've heard that Lee continued to wear his U.S. model 1850 staff and field officer's sword). I don't think it's out of the question that your ancestor might have carried this weapon, although if the U.S. took the trouble to raise a special unit like this one I don't know why it wouldn't have given them the model 1860 light cavalry saber. One possible explanation is that there was disagreement about the utility of the cavalry saber. A special unit--raiders, say--might carry no sabers at all, especially later in the war.


 Attachment: 78.44 KB
pic_visit_adah07.jpg


-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Brad Noel





Joined: 29 Jul 2009

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 2:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, Sean - thanks for the comparison pic! The swords do look remarkably similar.

I am (at least at this point) somewhat relieved that there wasn't an immediate response of "Holler didn't make 19th century swords!" or something of the like. The fact that the grip looks so "new" to me and that I could only find online references to Holler as a sword manufacturer for Nazi Germany, had me wondering whether the family remembrance about the sword being Civil War vintage (or earlier) was just plain wrong, and that the sword was actually a 20th century WWII relic.

I wonder what happens in cases like these where there may be no definitive answer as to a sword's origins and history. Is it fair to tell my friends and visitors that the sword "probably" belonged to my gg-grandfather during the Civil War and "may" have been his father's in the War of 1812? Should it be taken in and "professionally" examined and appraised?
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I dunno.......... looks like a Solingen Artillery officer saber from early 1900s to me

http://zietenhusar.de/artilleriesabel.html

tr
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Brad Noel





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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 2:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom:

Well I'll be.... Did you notice what I called the "maker's mark" on our sword? The crown with a W and 15 underneath? Its almost identicle to the mark on the early 20th century artillery sword. I suppose, then, it would mean the sword was manufactured in 1915 under Kaiser Wilhelm II? That would mean it IS a spoil of WWII and not my gg-grandfather's Civil War sword. Wow.

You know, I also have a Mauser K-98 which was brought back from WWII by an uncle. Perhaps this, too, was brought back by him....
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Ted Parolari




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 6:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually it wouldn't be that unusual for a unit to be armed with a non standard issue sword. In many cases, especially early in the war, units were raised by private individuals, who purchased uniforms, equipment and weapons for that particular unit. It wasn't till later in the war that the Union began to standardize it's equipment across the board. The South was never able to successfully achieve any sort of standardization. For example, at the first battle of Bull Run, many units got confused as to who was who, because both sides had blue and gray uniforms. And it wasn't that unusual for units to accidently fire on other friendly units.

As for weapons, many southern calverymen were armed with shotguns as opposed to a carbine or a rifle and the variety of swords used throughout the Southern Armies was fairly astonding!. In the north an officer was expected to provide his own arms. Many times these were non-regulation. Many officers used Starr or Smith and Wesson revolvers as opposed to the issue Colt 1851 or 1860 revolver. Remington 1858 Revolvers were highly prized weapons. So I don't find it odd at all that a Blucher Sabre might be used, especially in an irregular or militia unit.

Even if it is a trophy sword from WWI or WWII though, it should hold a place of great honor within your family. Heirlooms like that are getting rarier and rarier. It's not nearly as easy to bring back a war trophy now a days! Your family is blessed!


Last edited by Ted Parolari on Wed 29 Jul, 2009 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 6:54 pm    Post subject: grip material         Reply with quote

I was left wondering about the grip material. It looks a lot like bakelite, a XXth cntury composite, and not something that would have been in use either in 1812, nor in 1860....a part from the W and the '15', I would be curious if some of our more knowledgeable friends would write in about grip materials...
By the way, I do have a sword brought home from Germany. or Holland, by my father when he went through ther in 44-45 with a bakelite type material on the grip, it seems to have been quite popular in later european models.

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 7:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking again at this sword, I notice that it lacks the distinctive "hachet" tip of the English 1796 light cav. saber and its continental variants.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)


Last edited by Sean Flynt on Thu 30 Jul, 2009 8:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2009 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brad Noel wrote:
Thom:

Well I'll be.... Did you notice what I called the "maker's mark" on our sword? The crown with a W and 15 underneath? Its almost identicle to the mark on the early 20th century artillery sword. I suppose, then, it would mean the sword was manufactured in 1915 under Kaiser Wilhelm II? That would mean it IS a spoil of WWII and not my gg-grandfather's Civil War sword. Wow.


correct, made in Solingen by Holler in 1915. WWI German artillery sword. sorry to destroy the CW gg grandfather theory but it is still a nice piece to have as a family heirloom! tr

ps edit: as far as synthetic material handles there have been a number of discussions about that at SFI - the most recent being this one http://tinyurl.com/no3l68
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2009 4:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Still a handsome saber; I'd be proud to own it! How does it feel in hand?

M.

This space for rent or lease.
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