US M1872 Springfield Armory Field & Staff Officer's Sword Presented to Lt. G.E. French

31.5" spear point blade with pronounced median ridge, .6" wide at ricasso. 6" gilt brass hilt with a geometric urn-shaped pommel cap with chased decorations and raised US {eagle} on obverse. Shagreen-wrapped, grooved wood grip with palm swell and 13 wraps of twisted wire. Down-turned guard with eagle motif, counter-guard with American shield and panoply of arms. Obverse blade etched in four lines: U.S. / ARMORY / Springfield / Mass., with foliate scrolls, a large US and with the name Lt. G.E. French. Reverse of blade etched with panoplies of arms, patriotic and foliate motifs, as well as partially legible battle honors. The honors are etched in a difficult to decipher Old English with the etching partially worn. It appears to read in three lines: El Caney July 1st, 1898 / Operations Before Santiago Cuba July 2-17 / 1898. Accompanied by a correctly S.W.P. inspected Springfield nickel-plated scabbard with gilt brass mounts.

George Edgar French was born on June 2, 1858 and entered the US military on April 14, 1884, enlisting as a private in Company A of the 1st US Infantry. Over the next two years French was promoted to corporal and then sergeant. On October 22, 1886 he was promoted to 2nd Lt. and was transferred to the 4th US Infantry. In 1891 he graduated from the Infantry Cavalry School. On March 1, 1894 he was promoted to 1st Lt. and transferred to the 5th US Infantry. He was returned to the 4th US Infantry about 6 weeks later on April 12, 1894 and was serving with the 4th when the Spanish American War broke out. The 4th US Infantry was sent to Cuba and took part in the Battle of El Caney on July 1, 1898. The regiment later served occupation duty in Santiago before returning to New York in August of 1898, having been decimated by Yellow Fever.

In January of 1899, the regiment was deployed to Manila, to help pacify the Philippines. Lt. French was promoted to Captain on March 2, 1899 and was transferred to the 16th US Infantry where he served until his retirement on March 5, 1908, being discharged for a disability received in the line of duty. Rarely did officers rise from the enlisted ranks during this period of the US Army's history, suggesting that George Edgar French was a rather exceptional man. Thus this Springfield Armory presentation officer's sword was presented to an exceptional individual.


Good to very good. Blade with a mottled and oxidized gray patina, with the etching being mostly present and the presentation about 60% legible. Hilt with traces of gold gilt, grip some wear and minor loss. Scabbard with some loss of nickel plating, showing a mottled and oxidized patina. A very interesting and uncommon example of an issue officers sword with a Spanish American War presentation.

Estimate: $800 - $1,200
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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