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

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
*Springfield Armory Model 1903 National Match Bolt Action Rifle
Lot # 413 - *Springfield Armory Model 1903 National Match Bolt Action Rifle
.30-06 cal., 24" barrel, S/N 1373047. 1-30 dated barrel with star gauge mark at 6:00 of muzzle; faint SA DAL cartouche on left side of stock, 2 circle P cartouches just aft of the triggerguard. Smooth butt plate; no serial numbers on the bolt or stock. > 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
*Belgian Browning Centennial Hi Power Pistol
Lot # 521 - *Belgian Browning Centennial Hi Power Pistol
9mm caliber, 5" barrel, S/N 1878D0585. Nickel finish, finely checkered walnut grips. Walnut display case; produced in 1978 to commemorate 100 years of Browning Arms Co. > Item Details
Rogers & Spencer Revolver
Lot # 103 - Rogers & Spencer Revolver
.44 caliber, 7.5 " octagonal barrel, S/N 4785. Frame marked Rodger's & Spencer. Walnut grips. > Item Details
German Imperial Prussian Air Service Pilot's Badge
Lot # 391 - German Imperial Prussian Air Service Pilot's Badge
Early light-weight construction, maker CE Juncker Berlin with crescent moon and crown stamp sunburst on back. Deeply struck detailing. Fine quality 800 silver type. Proper weight, correct pin and size. 100% original classic badge. > Item Details
*Colt AR-15 SP-1 Semi-Auto Rifle
Lot # 685 - *Colt AR-15 SP-1 Semi-Auto Rifle
.223 caliber, 20" barrel, S/N SP173368. Matte finish, no forward assist, bayonet. > Item Details
*WWI German  P08 Luger Pistol with Holster
Lot # 355 - *WWI German P08 Luger Pistol with Holster
9mm caliber, 4" barrel, S/N 2174u. Blue finish, walnut checkered grips. All visible numbers match including magazine: unit marked L.E. 109 on front grip strap; wood bottom magazine also marked 3, 109 and has 3 "kill notches." Original takedown tool. Brown leather holster maker marked Franz Cobad, Be... > Item Details
M1850 Staff & Field Sword Presented To <i>Major  F.S. Nickerson, 4th Maine</i>
Lot # 180 - M1850 Staff & Field Sword Presented To Major F.S. Nickerson, 4th Maine
31" blade with etched panels of military motifs. Shagreen and twisted brass wrapped handle. Brass pommel chased with oak leaves. Brass knuckle bow with branches with oak leaf patterns and floral designs and large US. Sword was made by Collins & Co./Hartford/Conn and retailed by Willard & Hawley, S... > Item Details
*U.S. Property Remington Model 11 Semi-Auto Shotgun
Lot # 426 - *U.S. Property Remington Model 11 Semi-Auto Shotgun
12 ga., 26" Imp. Cyl. barrel, S/N 497731. Blue finish, walnut stocks. Receiver marked U.S. Military Finish with flaming bomb. Barrel marked U.S. with flaming bomb. Stock with crossed cannons cartouche and FJA inspector mark. > Item Details
Original Cardboard Box for 1st Model Remington-Bea
Lot # 147 - Original Cardboard Box for 1st Model Remington-Bea
Partitioned cardboard box containing flask and mold. Flask marked Remington's Ilion New York. > Item Details
Russian Imperial Navy Badge in Gold
Lot # 360 - Russian Imperial Navy Badge in Gold
Imperial Navy fleet badge in 14k gold, weight 46 grams. > Item Details
WWII Nazi German P08 Luger Holster
Lot # 770 - WWII Nazi German P08 Luger Holster
Black leather holster with bml/42 maker's mark and WaA23 and eagle marks. > Item Details
*Marlin Model 39 Century Ltd. Lever Action Rifle
Lot # 680 - *Marlin Model 39 Century Ltd. Lever Action Rifle
.22 caliber, 20" octagonal barrel, S/N 0531. Walnut stocks. Commemorative shield on receiver and brass stock plaque with 1870-1970 dates to honor Marlin's 100-year anniversary. > Item Details
Cased Spanish Cross in Gold
Lot # 451 - Cased Spanish Cross in Gold
Spanish Cross in gold; maker marked on badge L-13 which corresponds to Meybauer. The case is a period WWII case, but intended for a Spanish cross in silver. > Item Details
*Pre-WWII Walther Model PP Pistol
Lot # 399 - *Pre-WWII Walther Model PP Pistol
7.65 (.32 ACP) caliber, 3.875" barrel, S/N 983407. Blue finish, black plastic checkered grips, crown N proofs. > Item Details
19TH Century Sword Canes, Lot of Four
Lot # 730 - 19TH Century Sword Canes, Lot of Four
All with wooden shafts. One marked Toledo, other three are unmarked. Various blade lengths. One with stag handle, one with bone handle. > Item Details
Starr Brass Mounted Percussion Carbine,
Lot # 209 - Starr Brass Mounted Percussion Carbine,
.54 caliber, 21" round barrel, S/N 13517. Brass mounts, buttplate and forearm band. Walnut stock and forearm. > Item Details
German Chair Off Hitler's Yacht
Lot # 447 - German Chair Off Hitler's Yacht
This dining chair has a plaque on the front that reads: Memento off of Hitler's yacht presented by the North American Smelting Company in Wilmington, Delaware. Hitler’s yacht “Grille”, was purchased by the North American smelting company and towed from Cape May up the Delaware Bay to Wilmington. The... > Item Details
*Mauser WTP Vest Pocket Model Pistol
Lot # 897 - *Mauser WTP Vest Pocket Model Pistol
6.35 (.25 ACP) caliber, 2" barrel, S/N 419. Blue finish, black plastic grips. > Item Details
*Kleinguenther K14 Bolt Action Rifle
Lot # 607 - *Kleinguenther K14 Bolt Action Rifle
.243 caliber, 24" barrel, S/N 721351. Skip-line checkered walnut stock with rosewood fore end tip and grip cap. > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20