Confederate States
Navy Officers
M1860 Cutlass

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Civil War Officer’s Cutlass
With Scabbard & Throg!

Confederate States Navy M1860 cutlass and scabbard image
Confederate States Navy M1860 cutlass in scabbard image

5 Star Condition

DIMENSIONS: Cutlass
32″ long overall. 26″ blade length Max width of blade 1″
Max thickness 1/4″    Fuller 3/4″ W x 15 1/2″ L      Weight 2 lbs 12
oz. in scabbard

Presented
is a Civil War, M1860, dated 1862, cutlass with incised 1″ x 3/8″ “CSN” lettering on the
guard that stands for Confederate States Navy.  It is an unusual variation of the mainstay cutlass used by the Union
Navy from 1860 into the 20th Century. The weapon has its original scabbard with throg. There are other examples of this style
cutlass appearing on the internet, but there is no known documentation that it was made by Ames.

Back of scabbard showing all the rivets image

The
condition of the scabbard is excellent with some minor surface loss and cracking, but there are no breaks or deep cracks.
There are 55 copper rivets running down the back.  The knuckle bow has a flange which accepts an elliptical brass
cup which acts as a hand guard. The curved guard is riveted to the flange and forms a solid half basket guard.
The guard, grip, leather covering, and wire wrap are near perfect.  The blade has a mottled grey finish interspersed
with areas of polished nickel.

Confederate Navy M1860cutlass and scbbard rivets image
Center section of Confederate Navy M1860 cutlass blade data-cke-saved-src=
Pointed end of Confederate Navy M1860 cutlass image
         Various sections of the CSN M 1860 cutlass blade and scabbard
Confederate Navy M1860 basket guard image
                     Carefully incised CSN
with outlines
Tightly wrapped wire grip image
Tightly wrapped two strand wire. Outline engraving

CONDITION:
In addition to that which was explained elsewhere, t
he entire hilt assembly, guard and grip are in excellent
condition with only superficial marks of age over the past 154 years. The grip is wrapped in two strand copper wire.
The original gold wash is mainly present with some loss due to aging. A patina has turned the
uncovered brass golden. The hilt and blade are tight. The leather washer is missing.

The
scabbard is complete and has the original throg which is a rarity. Both are impossible to find
if missing.  There is some minor loss of leather and cracking. The blade is has large areas of blackening with some
polished nickel present. There is no pitting.

Confederate Navy cutlass maker's mark image

Inspector's stamp and 1862 date image

               Maker’s stamp over inspector’s stamp and date

MARKINGS:
All are sharp and distinct. On the obverse is the Ames Mfg Co. with Chicopee, Mass on three
lines. On the reverse there is the inspector’s initials over the 1862 date on the ricasso. There are
no other markings. 

 

Confederate M1860 cutlass pommel and tang image
            Top of pommel showing peened tang.

From
the Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs WASHINGTON (NNS)
— The chief of naval operations approved a number of
uniform changes as announced in NAVADMIN 118/10 March 31. Included in the announcement is the approval of a Chief Petty Officer
(CPO) Ceremonial Cutlass for optional wear by E-7 through E-9s. Chief petty officers are authorized to wear the cutlass in
full dress uniforms when acting as a member of an official party during a ceremony. However to ensure uniformity, all members
of the official party must wear either the cutlass or the sword. Because this is an optional uniform article, Sailors are
responsible for the cost of the item. Additional details on the final design and manner of wear of the cutlass will be released
in a future Navy message.

BRIEF HISTORY Ames Mfg. Co.: The Ames Manufacturing Company, Chicopee, Massachusetts, was founded in
1832 by James Tyler Ames and his brother, Nathan Peabody Ames. The company manufactured small tools, cotton machinery, swords,
cannons, and did casting of bells. They started production of military contract swords in 1832 with the M1832 foot artillery
sword, and ended with the M1906 cavalry saber in 1906. Ames produced more swords for the American military than any other
company before or since, totaling over 200,000 swords in service by the end of the Civil War. In that time, at least ten different
manufacturing marks were used on the swords. A little knowledge of the company history helps place a date range for when each
stamp was used. When the company started producing swords it was led by Nathan P. Ames, and most marks reflected that fact.
In 1847, Nathan died and left the company to his brother James. The markings on the blades were immediately changed from N.P.
Ames to Ames Mfg. Co. In 1848, the town of Cabotville was incorporated into Chicopee, Massachusetts, and the marks were once
again changed to reflect this. Blades dated as late as 1850 may still bear the Cabotville stamp, as the old dies
were probably used until they were worn out. In a much reduced state, they are still in business today. 

The
Model 1860 cutlass, which replaced the Model 1841, saw service during the Civil War and through the Spanish American
War. They likely were used during the early days of World War I. Based on company records, 22,000 of them were
made for the Navy and 300 for the Army by  Ames in two Massachusetts plants. The design for this cutlass was copied
from the French naval cutlass used from before 1800 when boarding of enemy vessels was common place. The French affectionately
called it “Cuillere-a-pot” (the soup ladle) and the comparison is obvious. Mostly, from an essay by Mike McWatters

 

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Celebrating 18 Years of Exellence in Nautical Antiques