Read about the Sword carried by General Nathan Bedford Forrest
"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.
(Edited by Tommy H. Heffner Sr.)
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, with two stars, accompanies his sword. 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 yankee soldiers with the sword.
Thanks to "The Civil
War Round Table of Dallas" for permission to present the information
about General Forrest's sword.
Here are some interesting
facts from Don Horton about Generals and their base pay in the
"The War for Southern Independence".
The significance of the two stars on Forrest sash is not known. Two stars signify a Union Major General - the Confederate Army did not have a star insignia for their general officer ranks - all of them wore three stars with a wreath around it - except for Lee and he wore a Colonels rank - three stars only - the whole war. I can not find a source on sashes other than color. No source indicates that there were any rank indications on a sword sash Union or Confdereate. But then Generals, we know, could, do any thing.
Forrest did capture a Major General Washburn's sword and uniform on the raid on Memphis in August of 1864 but accounts say he returned it and Washburn later returned the favor, sending fine gray cloth, buttons and lace for uniforms for Forrest and his entire staff. Maybe he kept the sash and it had two stars.
Interesting facts that I found while looking up the above information -
In the Confederate Army, by 1862 there were four grades of general: brigadier, major, lieutenant and full general. All wore the same insignia making it impossible to identify a general´s rank by his uniform. By the way the full generals were (Cooper, Lee, Joe Johnston, A.J. Johnston, Beauregard, Bragg, Kirby Smith and (temporary) Hood.
In the Union Army there were only two grades of general officer (brigadier (one star), major general (two stars) until Grant was promoted to Lt. General (three stars) on March 9,1864.
Grant by the way was the highest ranking Union officer and he was the only "regular"Lt. General. Winfield Scott had been made a Brevet Lieutenant General [of Regulars] during the Mexican War.
What is a Brevet?
A brevet rank was almost meaningless in terms of real authority.
For example, a major who was a brevet colonel
collected the pay of a major, wore the uniform of a major, could not give
orders to lieutenant colonels, and was only eligible for commands that
normally fell to majors. But he was allowed to use the title of colonel
in his correspondence.
All ranks of Confederate generals received the
same base pay because the Confederate army regulations recognized only
one grade above colonel. Generals holding different commands, however,
earned additional allowances for additional rations, fodder, fuel, quarters,
and seniority. In addition, generals commanding an army in the field received
$100. Therefore, in 1864 Robert E. Lee's monthly salary totaled $604 a
month. This amount included $301 base pay, $108 rations (for 12 rations
a day), $32 fodder allowance (for four horse rations a day), $63 seniority
pay (for $9 per month for each five years in the service, including those
years he served in the United States Army), and $100 as an army commander.