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.

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

*Italian Beretta Model 84 BDA Pistol
Lot # 891 - *Italian Beretta Model 84 BDA Pistol
.380 caliber, 3.75" barrel, S/N B37795Y. Blue finish, walnut grips, 13-rd. magazine. Original box and papers. > Item Details
*Walther PPKS Pistol
Lot # 526 - *Walther PPKS Pistol
.22 LR caliber, 3.25" barrel, S/N 128040. Blue finish, black plastic grips, box, 2 magazines. Made in W. Germany, Interarms import. > Item Details
Full-Stock Percussion Rifle Signed <i>J. T.</i>
Lot # 96 - Full-Stock Percussion Rifle Signed J. T.
.36 caliber, 36" octagonal barrel. Signed on top of barrel. Engraved J. F. Golcher forward action percussion lock. Brass furniture and engraved silver eagle on the cheek piece. Barrel held to stock by three wedges. Maple stock. > Item Details
*Smith & Wesson Model 34-2 Revolver
Lot # 550 - *Smith & Wesson Model 34-2 Revolver
.22 caliber, 4" barrel, S/N BBT9786. Blue finish, added target stocks, round butt, original grips included, adjustable sights. Original box and papers. > Item Details
Remington-Beals Prototype Third Model Percussion P
Lot # 148 - Remington-Beals Prototype Third Model Percussion P
.31 caliber, 4" octagonal barrel; no serial number or markings. Has unusual walnut grips. This is either a lunch box special or a prototype. This revolver is pictured on page 53 of Schif, Charles, Remington's First Revolvers. > Item Details
*Whitney Wolverine Semi-Auto Pistol
Lot # 817 - *Whitney Wolverine Semi-Auto Pistol
.22 LR caliber, 4.625" barrel, S/N 35210. Blue finish, plastic grips. > Item Details
*Winchester Model 63 Semi Auto Rifle PLUS Remington No. 4 Single Shot Rifle
Lot # 585 - *Winchester Model 63 Semi Auto Rifle PLUS Remington No. 4 Single Shot Rifle
1) .22 S,L,LR caliber, 23" barrel, S/N 102730A. Blue finish, walnut stocks. Very good condition with a very good bore. Retains ca 70% original receiver blue and ca 98% original barrel blue. The stocks are excellent as refinished. 2) .22 caliber, 22.5" barrel, S/N 150422. Blue finish, walnut stocks... > Item Details
*U.S. Property Kimber Model 82 Bolt Action Rifle
Lot # 430 - *U.S. Property Kimber Model 82 Bolt Action Rifle
.22 LR caliber, 25" barrel, S/N GM014169. Blue finish, walnut stock. > Item Details
*Colt New Frontier Dual Cylinder Revolver
Lot # 493 - *Colt New Frontier Dual Cylinder Revolver
.22/.22 magnum caliber, 5.5" barrel, S/N G94649. Blue/case color finish, added stag grips, original box and papers. > Item Details
Large Wooden Model of a Model 39 Smith & Wesson Semi-Automatic Pistol
Lot # 540 - Large Wooden Model of a Model 39 Smith & Wesson Semi-Automatic Pistol
7.8x scale. 48" x 56" Honduras Mahogany wood model .9mm Smith & Wesson pistol custom made for an individual. All pieces are fitted together. The grips, backstrap, medallions, serial number 1101, and caliber notation are all hand carved. The slide inscriptions were performed by a computer-driven wood... > Item Details
Sharps New Model 1867 Cartridge Carbine
Lot # 270 - Sharps New Model 1867 Cartridge Carbine
.50-70 caliber, 22" round barrel, S/N C17134. This was converted by Springfield Arsenal. It has the three lands and groove rifling. Walnut stock and forearm. > Item Details
19TH Century Sword Canes, Lot of Four
Lot # 728 - 19TH Century Sword Canes, Lot of Four
All with wooden shafts, one marked Solingen, one marked Klingenthal, Coulaux & Co.; the other two are unmarked. Various blade lengths. > Item Details
Civil War Belt and <i>US</i> Buckle
*Cimarron Arms Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle
Lot # 622 - *Cimarron Arms Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle
.45 LC caliber, 24" octagonal barrel, S/N 73629. Case colored receiver, charcoal blue finish, walnut stocks. > Item Details
U.S. Rev. War Infantry Hanger Lion Head Pommel
Lot # 57 - U.S. Rev. War Infantry Hanger Lion Head Pommel
This Revolutionary War hanger has a 25" blade with a brass mounted single knuckle bow slot guard with a lion head pommel. High cap stand rivet; turned wooden with wire handle. > Item Details
Two Indian War Officers Belts with Sword Hangers
Lot # 251 - Two Indian War Officers Belts with Sword Hangers
Black bridle leather with rectangular eagle plates and sword hangers. > Item Details
*Colt First Model Woodsman Target Pistol in the Original Cardboard Box
Lot # 478 - *Colt First Model Woodsman Target Pistol in the Original Cardboard Box
.22 LR caliber, 6" barrel, S/N 108587. Blue finish, walnut checkered grips. Original box marked on the end of box; two small paper tabs marked Target and Partridge sights, papers, hang tag, and screwdriver. Original purchase receipt. > Item Details
Smith & Wesson 2nd Model Army Revolver
Lot # 808 - Smith & Wesson 2nd Model Army Revolver
.32 caliber rimfire, 6" octagonal barrel with rib, S/N 18995. Blued finish with rosewood grips. > Item Details
Colt Second Generation 1851 Navy  Black Powder Revolver
Lot # 477 - Colt Second Generation 1851 Navy Black Powder Revolver
.36 caliber, 7.5" barrel, S/N 4934. Blue barrel and cylinder; case colored frame and loading lever; silver-plated grip straps; walnut grip. Original black box numbered to the gun, all papers, includes accessories kit with flask, bullet mold, cap tin (empty), and nipple wrench. All new and housed in ... > Item Details
*High Standard Model 10 Series A Semi-Automatic Police Shotgun
Lot # 866 - *High Standard Model 10 Series A Semi-Automatic Police Shotgun
12 ga., 18" barrel, S/N 10124. Matte black finish, "bullpup" synthetic stock, built-in flashlight. > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20