View Full Version : NCO's Swords
50th VA Corporal
09-23-2008, 08:12 PM
I often see for sale NCO's swords, which assuming NCO's ranks being Sargeants and Corporals. My question would be: when did they actually wear and use these? I cannot ever recall seeing an NCO wearing a sword at a re-enactment.
Jas T. Lemon
50th VA Corporal
50th vice pres
09-23-2008, 08:31 PM
Would NCO also be in the artillery? I know swords were issued to the artillerymen
09-23-2008, 09:54 PM
Non Commissioned Officer. Which equals to Corporal to Sgt Major, no matter the branch. However, IIRC, the NCO sword was to be worn by those in the grade of Orderly Sergeant and above. Cavalry NCOs of course did not use the NCO Sword, as they already had the Saber. By Regulation, the Lt Artillery had the Lt Artillery Saber, and the foot Artillery had the Foot Artillery Sword, even though the Lights had pretty much abandoned the saber in the field as impractical.
The NCO sword was IIRC, pretty much relegated to Sergeants Major, and if you take a look at some images, you will see them carrying the sword. It was pretty much a useless weapon, and was more a badge of rank.
Ross L. Lamoreaux
09-23-2008, 10:01 PM
NCO swords were issued originally to orderly sergeants (first sergeants) and sergeants major. Subsequent regulations allowed them for all sergeants. Prior to the Civil War in the 1830's and early 40's all enlisted men were issued a short sword in addition to a musket and bayonet. These were worn on a white buff sword belt. Sometime in the late 1830's during the Seminole War, the army decreased the issuance of swords and began to just issue them to sergeants. This sword is different from that of the CW period by being a short sword similiar to a Roman gladius (continued on by the artillery with the artillery short sword). By the period between the Mexican War and the CW, the NCO sword that you are referring to began to be issued. It was worn on a baldric combined with the bayonet for the musket. Gradually (and I dont know if it was by regulation or just practice), the double baldric gave way to the bayonet on the waist belt and a seperate baldric for the sword. You find many period images of sergeants carrying both weapons (musket and sword), during the CW, but many period accounts describe many orderlies only wearing the swords for parade and carrying the musket on the field, and several other accounts and images of sergeants major wearing privately purchased swords or junior officer swords. There are too many variances to regulations and practice than can be accounted for here.
09-24-2008, 02:10 PM
The uniform regs. from I believe 1858 or so state that all sergeants (of the un-mounted services) are authorized swords. An NCO sword with sash is authorized for all Orderly (First) Sergeants and above. Also note that Corporals were not authorized the NCO sash or sword. I've seen Corporals wearing both sashes and swords and duty sergeants wearing sashes, but this is not authorized in the period regulations.
I'm at work and cannot quote page, paragraph and exact regulation, but you industrious types can find this.
09-24-2008, 02:53 PM
Also note that Corporals were not authorized the NCO sash or sword. I've seen Corporals wearing both sashes and swords and duty sergeants wearing sashes, but this is not authorized in the period regulations.
Now that's something I have never seen, and agree with you Lee, Corporals have no business wearing sashes or swords
Powered by vBulletin™ Version 4.1.3 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.