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Thread: Swords

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Long Island
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    186

    Default Swords

    I tried looking through older threads regarding swords, but have had no luck. So I am posting the question.

    I am not looking for reviews on the quality of reproductions as that has been discussed. What I am looking for is info regrading what the Surgeon may have worn for formal/parade occasions? I know that as an officer, a sword was a required piece of the uniform and that they were either purchased or given by the family or unit as a token of gratitude. Would the surgeon have purchased a medical sword? I have seen a couple examples of surgeons wearing the 1850 Staff Officer's Sword, would this have been appropriate?

    Thanks in advance for opinions.

    Cheers,
    John Ferrannini
    Asst. Surgeon
    Co. K, 67th NY

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Leesburg, VA
    Posts
    61

    Default Medical Sword

    The Revised United States Army Regulations of 1861 stated on p.469 para 1544 " For the Medical and Pay Departments - small sword and scabbard, according to the pattern in the Surgeon Generals office." This was not staff or foot officers sword pattern of 1850. Usually it was only worn for parades or dress formations. It was pretty useless as a weapon and was just something else to lug around.
    your obedient servant,
    Rick Etter
    Surgeon, 2nd Brigade
    Southern Division
    SOCWS

    "not really a surgeon, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Long Island
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    Default

    I thought that I would resurrect this topic again. I know that the revised Army Regs of 1861 (printed 1863), described the pattern/type of sword that a surgeon would wear. My question is what were they wearing prior to the revised regulations?

    In looking through ould pictures, I came across a variety of swords being worn. One surgeon wore the 1850 Staff/Field Officer's sword, one gentleman wore a militia sword, one wore his medical sword and a Naval surgeon wore a naval sword. There is also a picture of a group of officers at Fort Corcoran early in the war, before 1st Manasas. One of them is reported to be the regiment's Asst. Surgeon and he appears to be wearing an Infantry sword and a .36 calibre pistol. Another gentle is wearing what appears to be "MS" shoulder boards and he to is wearing an infantry sword.

    My question is will any sword of the above mentioned work? Would a surgeon have originally purchased a infantry pattern sword only later to be presented with a medical one by his hospital (read an account of that happening)?

    Thanks,
    John Ferrannini
    Asst. Surgeon, 1st Lt.
    67th NY

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    533

    Default

    John,
    I'm not sure exactly what went on with surgeons and swords, I have seen some of the photos you are talking about. I found a nice repro 1840 medical sword for just over $200 ..... you can't go wrong with that, in fact I just saw a picture of a Union hospital steward wearing one so it would be accurate for my Confederate and Federal asst surgeon impression and my Union hospital steward. I am not really planning on using it much, but as an officer we would have a sword and sash around with us.
    KP

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    18

    Default

    John & KP,
    As there are always variants in every aspect, it might be better to portray the typical accoutrements, i.e. M1840 medical staff sword. If Since many of the doctors would have had prior service in the army in Mexico, the Territories or in Militia units, certainly the other mentioned swords would have been seenas well, but in very small numbers.
    The same thing would be true for the hospital steward, the Regs allow for the M1840 NCO sword with ither baldric or frog mounting. But as a private purchase item, even a steward might havebought one. But unless you attend Battallion Parade or Ceremonial events, you would ust have the swords propped in the corner like both of mine.
    Just my 2 cents worth .
    Dave

    David Furukawa, PA-C
    Hospital Steward / Surgeon
    21st OVI

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Dave
    Your right on the money. In my years of reenacting I have been told only one time I should have had a sword and that was at 1st Manassas while at parade review acting as the field generals surgeon. At balls it was proper to come to the ball with one but then removed with your cap. As most of us well know we can spend a fortune in this hobby. Proper drees dictates the m1840 medical sword-- but how many times would we wear it? A surgeon was a busy guy back then. Best to spend the money else where remember surgeons were responsible for a host of other jobs as well especially the weather report.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Long Island
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    Default

    I think that we are loosing the original concept of the message. I am not asking for the practicality of owning one as far as being a re-enactor. I will get plenty of use out of a sword off the field because our unit does at least 12 events a year at schools and libraries in addition to re-enactments. We also have to remember that a sword just like a pistol may be viewed as impractical by today's thinking, but back in the 19th century it was a mark of a gentleman and standard equipment for an officer.

    John Ferrannini
    Asst Surgeon, 1st Lt.
    67th NY

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Central Va
    Posts
    254

    Default Either will work

    I have seen both period photographic as well as surviving artifact group collections of various surgeons using 1850 foot officers, 1850 field & staff, as well as 1840 Medical officers swords. Collections of artifacts from medical officers that also served later in the war it would give the impression that the 1840 MS sword at some point became the preference since Ive noted many such collections include these swords. If one desires an impression that will round out the complete statement and appearance of a medical officer, using the 1840 MS should do it, just an opinion.

    Many appear to be private purchase or presentation pieces, but at least one account that I recall the Union army had them on hand and in stock, to issue or whatever. I cant immediately recall the exact date or place but Confederate forces had captured Union army depot by Jacksons troops. Gen Jackson himself was said to ponder through and amoungst the hoards of goods he noted a stack of Medical officer swords. He took one and gave it to Hunter McGuire.
    Lieut Frederick Sineth
    14th Virginia Infantry Regt Co.I
    - 106th Penna Vol Co.F

    - Pegrams Va Artillery
    - 150th Sailors Creek

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