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

*WWII Hungarian Nazi German Femaru M37 Pistol
Lot # 395 - *WWII Hungarian Nazi German Femaru M37 Pistol
7.65 (.32 ACP) caliber, 4" barrel, S/N 43967. Nazi proofs on slide and frame, jhv 41 code on slide. Matching numbers including barrel. > Item Details
German Zimmerstutzen Rifle by J. Hommel
Lot # 333 - German Zimmerstutzen Rifle by J. Hommel
4mm caliber, 28" barrel, S/N 3. Front loader similar to Stiegele mechanism, double-set triggers, correct rear sight missing disc, missing original front sight. Gold inlayed barrel markings are illegible, rear tang marked J. Hommel. > Item Details
Remington-Beals Third Model Percussion Pocket Revo
Lot # 149 - Remington-Beals Third Model Percussion Pocket Revo
.31 caliber, 4" octagonal barrel, S/N 30. Rare two-piece walnut grips. This revolver is pictured on page 53 & 54 of Schif, Charles, Remington's First Revolvers. > Item Details
*Winchester Model 94 TS Timber Carbine
Lot # 635 - *Winchester Model 94 TS Timber Carbine
.450 Marlin caliber, 18" ported barrel, S/N 6522571. Blue finish, walnut stocks. > Item Details
Colt 1861 Navy Second Generation Percussion Revolver
Lot # 475 - Colt 1861 Navy Second Generation Percussion Revolver
.36 caliber, 7.5" barrel, S/N 45241. Silver-plated finish, scroll engraving, walnut grip with carved eagle motif. > Item Details
*Anschutz Midel 1415-1416 Bolt Action Rifle
Lot # 624 - *Anschutz Midel 1415-1416 Bolt Action Rifle
.22 LR caliber, 22.5" barrel, S/N 1255793. Blue finish, walnut checkered Monte Carlo stock, 5-shot magazine, double-set triggers, grooved receiver. > Item Details
Antique Percussion Underhammer Percussion Target Rifle
Lot # 93 - Antique Percussion Underhammer Percussion Target Rifle
.45 caliber, 29" barrel. Unmarked. Swiss-style buttplate, walnut buttstock, false edge. > Item Details
One Set Winchester Jointed Cleaning Rods
Lot # 286 - One Set Winchester Jointed Cleaning Rods
Steel jointed rods with brass tips will fit late 1866-1873 models. > Item Details
WWI Grouping to <i>Lt. Col. H.B. Nelson, 401st & 328th Infantry</i>, AEF
Lot # 381 - WWI Grouping to Lt. Col. H.B. Nelson, 401st & 328th Infantry, AEF
A high quality M1902 officer's sword with 32" nickel blade having gilt etched panels of military motifs and presentation plaque that reads, "Lt. Col. H.B. Nelson Presented by the 401st Infantry 6-13-28. Eagle head pommel with ruby eyes, backstrap in feathered design. Knuckle bow with three branches... > Item Details
*Remington Model 722 Rifle with Scope
Lot # 600 - *Remington Model 722 Rifle with Scope
.222 caliber, 26" barrel, S/N 355857. Blued finish, walnut stock, with a Eagle 6X32 Scope. > Item Details
Jenks Naval Carbine
Lot # 228 - Jenks Naval Carbine
.54 caliber, 24.25" round barrel, with elliptical loading aperture. Marked on top of barrel Wm Jenks, USN RC P 1845. Lockplate marked N.P. Ames, Springfield Mass. Brass mounts with walnut stock. > Item Details
U.S.  Model 1833 Dragoon Sword by Ames
Lot # 71 - U.S. Model 1833 Dragoon Sword by Ames
34" blade, three-branch brass guard, leather and wire wrapped handle. Officer's model, United States in a wreath. Iron mounted scabbard. > 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
*Marlin Golden 39A Lever Action Rifle
Lot # 853 - *Marlin Golden 39A Lever Action Rifle
.22 caliber, 24" barrel, S/N 15256068. Blue finish, walnut stocks. Brass award plaque on left side of stock reads 1986, SUB - JR. CHAMPION, 55TH GALLARY MATCH. Won at Camp Perry by consignor. > Item Details
18th Century Raised Carved Kentucky Flintlock Long-Rifle by <i>J Graeff</i>
Lot # 26 - 18th Century Raised Carved Kentucky Flintlock Long-Rifle by J Graeff
.50 caliber, 45.25" swapped barrel. Ca 1780-1800. Barrel engraved in script J Graeff. Rear buckhorn sight with silver blade front sight. Barrel is fastened to the stock by four wedges. Original untouched flintlock. Engraved four-piece patchbox of daisy design. Brass buttplate, engraved brass sidep... > Item Details
*J. Stevens Springfield Single Shot
Lot # 827 - *J. Stevens Springfield Single Shot
12 ga., 36" barrel, NSN, added rifle sights, reworked turkey shoot barrel > Item Details
*Remington Custom Shop No. 1 Rolling Block Mid-Range / Target Single-Shot Rifle
Lot # 649 - *Remington Custom Shop No. 1 Rolling Block Mid-Range / Target Single-Shot Rifle
.45-70 cal., 30" octagonal-to-round barrel, S/N RB97-0174. Blue barrel, case colored receiver. Optional spirit level front sight, no rear sight, rear tang is drilled for optional Vernier tang sight (not included). Single set trigger, highly figured walnut checkered stocks. Custom shop leather and ca... > Item Details
Japanese Wakizashi Blade And Scabbard
Lot # 445 - Japanese Wakizashi Blade And Scabbard
Great wak blade measures 20.75", no signature. Blade style is late Kotto-early Edo. Tang has three punched keeper holes. Blade is in good polish. Nicely enameled scabbard. > Item Details
*Illinois Arms American 180 Semi-Auto Rifle
Lot # 686 - *Illinois Arms American 180 Semi-Auto Rifle
.22 LR caliber, 17" barrel, S/N SAR10078. 165-rd. magazine. > Item Details
*Al Gi Mec AGM 1 Carbine
Lot # 668 - *Al Gi Mec AGM 1 Carbine
9mm caliber, 18" barrel, S/N 00078. Parkerized finish, 20-rd. magazine, accepts Browning High Power magazines, mfg. in Italy in the mid 1980s. > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: