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US M1850 Foot Officer’s Presentation Sword, 144th NY Infantry
Standard regulation field grade M1850 Foot Officer’s Sabre with cast brass hilt featuring pierced floral design in guard; integral knuckle bow with slot for sword knot and joined to the capstan pommel. Pommel engraved with acanthus design. Sharkskin-wrapped grip with twisted brass wire. Slightly curved 30 ˝" single-edged blade with broad 3/4 length fuller and short narrow fuller at the back edge; etched over the upper two thirds with "U.S.", acanthus, an anchor with shield, and stands of arms. Blade with light pitting, heavier near the point, and etching worn. Black leather scabbard with brass mounts, the upper mount hand engraved on the reverse with "Presented to/Lieut. John Clark/Co. H 144th Regt." in script. Leather worn with a small break on the reverse between the carrying mounts; the mounts loose due to leather shrinkage and a dent at the top of the throat, likely having occurred during field use because this type of dent only possible with sword unsheathed. Sword and scabbard show age and wear typical of swords carried in the field and no doubt this is the sword that Clark carried into battle.
Clark joined the 144th NY at Stamford, NY on 8/15/1862 at the age of 30 and was commissioned as 1st Lieutenant in Company H the following month. On 3/4/1863 he was promoted to Captain and became Company Commander of Company E. He was discharged at Hilton Head, SC on 6/25/1865.
The 144th New York Volunteer Infantry began the war in the defense of Washington during the Fall of 1862 and saw action in Northern Virginia. During the summer of 1863 it was transferred to South Carolina, where it saw the majority of its action. The regiment lost a total of 218 men during the war, the majority of whom died of disease. For a more detailed account of the regiment’s wartime activities, click History of the144th NY Infantry.
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