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We were just drove in to the slotter [sic] pen... our men fell like grass before the sythe. - S.F. Buchanan, 48th Virginia Infantry - Pearce Collection Letters


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The Sword of General Nathan Bedford Forrest Visits the CWRT Dallas on January 8, 2003


Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest


General Nathan Bedford Forrest - His Cavalry Sword and General's Sash


The Sword carried by the Foremost Cavalry Officer of the Civil War

"The greatest general of the Civil War was a man I have never met, General Nathan Bedford Forrest."
Robert E. Lee

General Nathan Bedford Forrest - His Cavalry Sword and General's Sash. A finely etched 31 inch blade by Horstmann, engraved with crossed flags and battle drums. The pommel and spiral knuckle bow is engraved with a laurel wreath design, and is in its original iron scabbard. This sword remains in the same condition as it was when General Forrest last drew it during the Civil War, the blade is completely untouched and retains its original luster and patina. There are a few small dents in the scabbard which is normal wear where it rubbed against his saddle when he was on horseback. His gold braided general's sash accompanies his sword, it has his two-star Lieutenant General's Insignia, which was the highest rank in the Confederate Army. [Does a CSA Lieutenant General have two stars? Read more at this link.] Gen. Forrest was first appointed Brigadier General on July 21, 1862, when he captured the Union garrison at Murfreesboro and later Major General on December 4, 1863, after he saved the railroad between Chattanooga and Atlanta, and ultimately Lieutenant General on February 28, 1865, after commanding his cavalry in Hood's ill-fated Tennessee campaign which culminated with the battles of Franklin and Nashville.

This represents the "Last Great Find" for collectors and museums, it is the most important Confederate item to have come on the market as Gen. Lee's Devisme sword and Gen. Stonewall Jackson's Horstmann sword are both permanently in the collections of the Confederate Museum in Richmond, Virginia. this sword and sash was recently purchased directly from Gen. Forrest's descendants in Memphis and represents the most important Confederate sword to have ever come on the market, it is of immense personal as well as historical value and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own the cavalry saber that belonged to the foremost cavalry officer of the Civil War.

Cavalry Officers' Saber, Model 1840

In 1840, when the Army discontinued the model 1833 enlisted men's dragoon saber in favor of the newer model based upon a French pattern, the officers also were required to do likewise. Although technically there were no cavalry, only dragoons, in the United States regular establishment at this time, the Ordnance Manual of 1841 refers to the present weapon as a "cavalry saber," and so that designation has been followed here. This same model was used by dragoon and cavalry officers up through the Civil War, although early in that conflict, the lighter saber began to supersede it in favor of most officers.

This sword was retailed by Horstmann of Philadelphia and is so marked on the ricasso.

History of the Forrest's Sword

On December 20, 1862 Forrest and his troops captured the U.S. Army Depot at Trenton, Tennessee. From the spoils, Forrest took a saber of the United States Dragoon pattern, which, after he had its regulation dull edge sharpened to razor keenness, he used throughout the rest of the War. Although he was naturally left-handed, he was ambidextrous by training, wore his sword in the usual position on the left side, and drew it with his right hand- although occasionally in combat he might shift it to the left. He killed seven men with the sword.


Forrest's Sword at the CWRT Dallas on January 8, 2003

Jack Waugh, Ed Bearss & Pax Glenn

Jack Waugh, Ed Bearss & Pete Brown




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