Scarce Confederate Artillery Short Sword by Boyle, Gamble, & McFee
The firm of Boyle (Edward), Gamble (Thomas) & McFee (Edward) was located on 6th Street
in Richmond, Virginia, just one block from the Richmond Armory. They made a wide range
of edged weapons for the Confederacy. The foot artillery short sword is completely
unmarked and was unidentified as to maker until a marked example was recently found
which proved they were the work of this Richmond firm. Like most foot artillery short
swords of the period it was fashioned after the French model which was a modern
recreation of the ancient Roman gladius. When adopted by the French, these were
originally intended to kill or maim charging cavalry horses, but such use during the Civil
War was rarely practical so these stout weapons were largely used to clear brush and help
with setting up the artillery batteries. It features a somewhat crude one-piece cast hilt of
high copper content brass with flat cross guard and integral grip with 19 ribs. The 18 7/8"
double-edged blade of gladius form features a single unstopped 9" central fuller on each
side. Blade is uncleaned with rust patination; heavier encrustation and edge nicks toward
the rounded point. Brass hilt is tight with undisturbed peen and rich patina. Overall length
24 1/4". It lacks its leather scabbard, which rarely survives.
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