Lot 170    

Non-Regulation Foot Officer's Sword Identified to William H. Lewis, USA
10/25/2011 - Historic Firearms & Historic Militaria
A typical Civil War era import having 33" blade with single fuller, marked at ricasso, W. Walscheid/Solingen with "proved" disc on opposite. Shagreen and twisted brass wire wrapped handle. Iron pommel, backstrap, knuckle bow with three branches. Metal scabbard with two carrying rings. Top of metal scabbard near the throat engraved, W.H. Lewis USA with tiny scrolls around the engraving.

William Henry Lewis (1829-1878) was a 1849 West Point graduate and career army officer who had attained the rank of lieutenant colonel, 19th Infantry when he was mortally wounded in action against a Cheyenne band at Punished Woman’s Fork, Kansas on September 27 ,1878. Following the Mexican War, Lewis was commissioned in the 4th Infantry in July 1849 before transferring to the 5th Infantry in August 1850 where he spent the next 14 years as a company grade officer earning two brevets for gallantry in the distant Southwest during the Civil War. In 1856-57 Lieutenant Lewis was in action against the Seminoles and in 1857-59 marched with Johnston to repress the Mormon Rebellion. In May 1861 Lewis was promoted to captain, 5th Infantry while stationed at Fort Fauntleroy, N.M. He was engaged against Sibley’s Confederate Army at the battle of Glorieta Pass (Apache Canyon) on March 28, 1862 and was brevetted major “for gallant and meritorious” service while in command of a company that charged and captured a Confederate field piece. Captain Lewis bore a flag of truce within the enemy’s lines while attempting to secure a Confederate surrender.

Lewis won a second brevet to lieutenant colonel during the relatively minor engagement at Peralta, New Mexico on April 15, 1862 where Canby’s Federal cavalry captured a Confederate supply train but unwilling to assault the enemy held adobe town, the small Confederate force escaped during a dust storm. Lewis was promoted to major, 18th Infantry in July 1864, but remained in the New Mexico Territory for the duration of the war and did not join the regiment until June 1865.

This style of imported sword came into use during the later half of the Civil War and being a robust field service weapon could very likely have been carried by Lewis during his later Indian War service.

Post-war, Major Lewis served with the short-lived 36th Infantry before transferring to the 7th Infantry in March 1869. Duty posts included Ft. Steele, Wyoming and Ft. Benton, Montana as well as a staff billet as Acting Asst. Inspector-General of the Dakota Department from 1871 to 1874. Here, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 19th Infantry in December 1873. Lewis then took brief command of the garrison at Baton Rouge before taking a five-month leave of absence. He reported for duty at Camp Supply in the Indian Territory and served briefly at Ft. Bliss, Texas before moving on to Ft. Dodge in March 1878 where he joined his regiment.

On September 25, 1878, Lt. Colonel Lewis commanded a mixed detachment of five companies of the 4th Cavalry (B, F, G, H, and I) with three companies of the 19th Infantry (D, F, and G) in pursuit of a Northern Cheyenne band with women and children led by Chief Dull Knife and Little Wolf. The Indians had so far eluded capture after fleeing the Darlington Agency reservation near Ft. Reno (Indian Territory) in an attempt to make their way to the Dakotas.

With Colonel Lewis’ detachment in close pursuit the Indians halted and set up an ambush on defensible terrain south of the Smokey Hill River on Punished Women’s Fork in present day Scott County, Kansas. Late in the afternoon on September 27, Lewis’ scouts were pushing into a canyon where the concealed Indian warriors waited. A careless warrior fired prematurely and alerted the cavalrymen to the trap. Lewis was able to extricate his lead elements and called for his infantry — carried in wagons — to come up while sending out riders to reconnoiter around the canyon.

Low on ammunition, the Indians were desperate to make their escape. Little Wolf quickly sent a group of mounted warriors against Lewis’ advancing infantry to cover the escape of the woman and children. As the Indians reined in and fired off their last shots a wayward bullet struck Colonel Lewis in the leg cutting his femoral artery. Under the cover of looming darkness the Indians managed to extract their band and crept off into the night. Twelve warriors were killed and wounded with about 80 ponies lost. Army casualties were one killed outright and six wounded. Colonel Lewis was put into a wagon and rushed to Ft. Wallace, Kansas only to bled to death during the trip. The fight at Punished Woman’s Fork was recorded as the last Indian fight on Kansas territory with Colonel Lewis, sadly, the final casualty.

A new post at nearby Pagosa Springs, Colorado was named in his honor but was soon abandoned. Another Ft. Lewis was established near Durango, Colorado. Colonel Lewis’ final resting place is unknown. He was originally buried in the post cemetery at Ft. Wallace “but his body was subsequently moved to another location,” not recorded. No identified photographs of Colonel Lewis are known to exist according to the website http://swcenter.fortlewis.edu

Parenthetically, Lewis’ final dispatch penciled on September 27, 1878 (being a terse status report without battle content or reference to Indians) sold at auction in November 1998 for $2420.


Condition:  
Sword is in excellent condition overall; the scabbard and handle have a nice dark untouched patina.
Sold: $0.00
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
      Ask a Question

All Images

don't miss

an opportunity to bid. You can't win if you're not in.

sign up to bid

what's it worth?

ask the experts

sell your item

start selling
German WWII Navy Officer's Dagger by Eickhorn
Lot # 467 - German WWII Navy Officer's Dagger by Eickhorn
This Navy dagger has a 10" fouled anchor blade; maker marked Eickhorn. Gilded brass hilt fittings show light surface wear to pommel and crossguard, with some gilding remaining in recesses of eagle and swastika pommel and fouled anchor pattern crossguard. > Item Details
Remington-Beals 2d Model Percussion Pocket Revolve
Lot # 155 - Remington-Beals 2d Model Percussion Pocket Revolve
.31 caliber, 3" octagonal barrel, S/N 593. Checkered gutta percha two-piece grips. > Item Details
*English S. A. Leonard Single-Barrel Trap Shotgun
Lot # 619 - *English S. A. Leonard Single-Barrel Trap Shotgun
12 ga., 32" full choke (.690) ribbed barrel, 2.75" chamber, ejector, nitro proofed for 1- 1/4 oz. loads, S/N 1935> Single trigger, fancy walnut checkered stocks, adjustable comb, L.O.P. 14.125" over leather bottom white line pad. Unmarked silver inlayed oval shield in belly of stock, horn grip cap, ... > Item Details
Smith & Wesson Army Model number 2,
Lot # 119 - Smith & Wesson Army Model number 2,
.32 rimfire long, 5" octagonal barrel, S/N 76485. Blued finish with rosewood grips. > Item Details
German WWI Prinzen Retired Pilot's Badge
Lot # 362 - German WWI Prinzen Retired Pilot's Badge
This is a very interesting example of a Prussian retired Army Pilot badge in the prinzen size. This badge would have been used by pilots who were no longer actively flying. This badge is about half the size of a regulation-sized badge. It measures 1.75" x 1." It is a one-piece design; no maker's mar... > Item Details
*Belgian Browning Model 10/71 Renaissance Pistol
Lot # 405 - *Belgian Browning Model 10/71 Renaissance Pistol
.380 caliber, 4.5" barrel, S/N 71N10741. 1971 date of mfg., original pouch and manual, gold trigger. Finely checkered French walnut grips, gray silver finish, deep relief engraving. > Item Details
Hand-Painted Civil War Drum
Lot # 243 - Hand-Painted Civil War Drum
Painted image of an American eagle with patriotic shield and clutching arrows in its left talon and olive branch in the right. Five painted three-dimensional five-pointed stars. Paper label inside reads Manufactured by Wm. Boucher Jr. Musical Instruments No. 38 E Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD. Dia... > Item Details
Bulgarian WWI Imperial Observer's Badge
Lot # 358 - Bulgarian WWI Imperial Observer's Badge
Bulgarian WWI badge with sunburst reverse and "coke bottle" pin. Nice detail on obverse. > Item Details
*Calico M100 Semi-Auto Rifle
Lot # 690 - *Calico M100 Semi-Auto Rifle
.22 LR caliber, 18" barrel, S/N A0006521. 100-rd. magazine, folding stock. > Item Details
Gallager Percussion Carbine,
Lot # 233 - Gallager Percussion Carbine,
.50 caliber, 22" round barrel, S/N 1907. Lockplate marked Gallager, Patented July 17 1860 in three lines. Walnut buttstock with steel patchbox. Rear two-leaf sight. > Item Details
*WWII U.S. Colt Commando Revolver
Lot # 766 - *WWII U.S. Colt Commando Revolver
.38 spl. caliber, 4" barrel, S/N 13753. Phosphate finish, plastic grips. > Item Details
*Winchester Model 94 John Wayne Commemorative Carbine PLUS Accessories
Lot # 632 - *Winchester Model 94 John Wayne Commemorative Carbine PLUS Accessories
.32-40 caliber, 20" barrel, S/N JW25813. Blue and nickel finish, engraved receiver, high grade walnut stocks, big loop lever. Original box, wooden wall plaque, leather scabbard. > Item Details
Winchester Lee Straight Pull Bolt Action Rifle
Lot # 283 - Winchester Lee Straight Pull Bolt Action Rifle
.236 U.S.N. caliber, 24" barrel, S/N 10643. Blue finish; walnut stock; 1898 date of mfg. One of only 1700 manufactured. > Item Details
*N. Beristain Spanish Model 140 Double-Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
Lot # 913 - *N. Beristain Spanish Model 140 Double-Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 ga., 28.25" barrels choked F/IC, S/N 1041. Blue barrels, walnut checkered stocks, double triggers, extractors. Lightly scroll engraved case colored receiver. Greener-style cross bolt. > Item Details
Full-Stock Percussion Smoothbore Rifle by John Armstrong
Lot # 38 - Full-Stock Percussion Smoothbore Rifle by John Armstrong
.50 caliber smoothbore, 45.25" octagonal-to-round barrel. Silver plate on top of barrel signed John Armstrong. Percussion lock marked E. S. Handy Co, Philadelphia. Barrel held to stock by four wedges. Brass four-piece patchbox, triggerguard, buttplate, ferules and nosecap. Silver inlays behind trigg... > Item Details
Flintlock Privateer Musket by <i>Barstow</i> with Docs
Lot # 44 - Flintlock Privateer Musket by Barstow with Docs
.73 caliber, 42" naval barrel. Right buttstock marked with typical naval-style rack number XII. Lockplate is marked I&C.B with a spread "chicken" eagle over Exeter. Museum deaccession number under the triggerguard. This is the standard 1808 U.S. contract musket, but with a slightly shorter barrel an... > Item Details
*Mauser Post-WWII P38 Pistol
Lot # 768 - *Mauser Post-WWII P38 Pistol
9mm caliber, 5" barrel, S/N 4628k. Matte blue finish, metal grips. SVW 45 code, produced post-war for French security forces. No magazine is present, numbers match. There is a WaA135 stamp on the left side of the barrel. Housed in the Interarms import box with papers. > Item Details
Remington-Beals 1st Model Percussion Pocket Revolv
Lot # 138 - Remington-Beals 1st Model Percussion Pocket Revolv
.31 caliber, 3" octagonal barrel, S/N 40. Gutta percha grips. > Item Details
US WWII Marine Raider Fighting Knife with Scabbard
Lot # 455 - US WWII Marine Raider Fighting Knife with Scabbard
This raider knife is near mint and has been covered in Vaseline to protect the blade. The U.S. Marines developed a variant of the F-S knife in February 1942 designed by Capt. Clifford H. Shuey (in 1956 he became Brigadier General.) The knife was called the U.S. Marine Raider Stiletto. It was the fi... > Item Details
* 1906 DWM American Eagle Luger Pistol,
Lot # 403 - * 1906 DWM American Eagle Luger Pistol,
7.63 (.30 Luger) caliber, 4.625" barrel, S/N 46499. German Commercial marked on the front of triggerguard, blue finish, walnut checkered grips, all visible serial numbers match. > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: