US Model 1850 Foot Officer’s Sword
On April 9, 1850 the War Department adopted a standard pattern sword for all foot officers
of infantry, artillery, and riflemen. It was patterned after a model then in use by the French
Army and meant for company officers through the rank of captain. Officers of the rank of
major and above wore the M1850 Staff & Field Officer’s Sword; the only difference
between them being that the staff & field sword featured a pierced “US” in the guard. The
rank distinction for the two swords, however, was rarely enforced. Differences in quality
and materials are found in the foot officer’s sword and this example is of standard type with
gilded cast brass guard pierced with foliage and floral decoration, single scroll quillon and
integral knuckle bow joining the Phrygian helmet pommel with acanthus border. Leather-
wrapped wood grip with alternating straight and twisted brass wire. Slightly curved 31 7/8"
blade with broad stopped fuller extending to within 8 ½" of the point and a shorter narrow
fuller at the back edge. The blade is etched with floral decoration, stands of arms, and E.
PLURIBUS UNUM” (worn and heavily pitted). Guard retains about 70% of original gilding.
Overall length 37 3/4". No scabbard. Excellent piece for the beginning collector or history
buff, much like the first sword I received which started my lifelong passion for history and
collecting at the age of 13.
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