Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Enlisted Men's Swords

Light Artillery Saber

soldier Light Artillery's Sword Hilt Detail
Light Artillery Soldier in
Dress Uniform with Saber

(Courtesy: Quartermaster Museum, Fort Lee, VA)
Light Artillery's Sword Hilt Detail
Marking Marking
Ames Marking Inspector Marking and Year

This light artillery's sword of model of 1840 was manufactured by contract by Ames Manufacturing Co. of Chicopee, Mass. In 1863 Ames made 5,300 of these sabers. This sword is marked "A.D.K." on the guard and blade, which are the initals of the inspector. The Light Artillery's sword measured 38 inches overall with a 32 1/4 inch blade. The grip is covered with leather and wound with brass wire. The scabbard is metal.

The Ames Manufacturing Company was established by Nathan P. Ames, Jr. and his brother, James T. Ames in 1834. Two years prior Nathan, a blacksmith by trade, had received his first contract for edged weapons. In the following years Ames manufactured all types of swords for the U.S. government. They were the largest domestic manufacturer of edged weapons duirng the Civil War.

It is questionable just how much use as a weapon the light artillery saber ever saw. In theory light artillery drivers might cut their way out of a tight spot when withdrawing their cannon, but in practice their opponent's modern weapons would have made this impossible. It was more an issue of the tradition of a soldier having an edged weapon. All the other classes of combat soldiers had one and so did the light artillery. It practice their true weapon was their cannon. It appears that the number of these sabers manufactured was considerably less than the number of soldiers in the artillery branch.

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Light Artillery Saber
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