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Cutlass and Scabbard

Object Name: Naval cutlass and scabbard
Date: 1843
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Medium: Steel, brass; leather, brass
Dimensions: Overall: 27 x 4 3/4 x 3 in. ( 68.6 x 12.1 x 7.6 cm )
Place made: North America, United States, Springfield
Description: Cutlass with broad, straight, double-edged steel blade which is diamond-shaped in cross section; brass hilt with guard consisting of a broad strip of brass with thickened edges that gradually expands from the pommel, curving into a wide flat counter-guard with curved quillon with cylindrical finial; grips molded with scalloped pattern and secured to tang with three transverse rivets; pommel in the form of an oval knob decorated with a shield-breasted eagle on either side and surmounted by a capstan rivet; leather scabbard with brass throat with frog stud and brass tip with capsule-shaped finial; remnants of collector's paper label attached to reverse of scabbard.
Credit Line: Gift of Lindley Murray
Object Number: 1879.3ab
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Marks: handwritten in ink: on remnant of collector's paper label affixed to reverse of scabbard: "Sailors boarding cu[tlass] . . . / U. S. Frigate Cumberl[and] . . . / . . . Steamer / Merrimac in Hampton Road on the 8th / of March 1862 / Presented by Lindley Murray / Jan. 7 [18]79" stamped: on obverse of blade near hilt: "N. P. AMES / SPRINGFIELD" stamped: on reverse of blade near hilt: "U.S.N. / 1843 / JCB" stamped: on underside of counter-guard: "4.20" stamped: on base of knuckle-bow: "2 D / N 30" stamped: on reverse side of cylindrical finial at end of quillon: "MAJ" stamped: on obverse side of cylindrical finial at end of quillon: "NWP"

Gallery Label:

This cutlass represents a type adopted in 1841 for use by enlisted men in the U.S. Navy. A note attached to the scabbard identifies it as a "sailors boarding cutlass" saved from the U.S. frigate "Cumberland" when she was destroyed by the steamer "Merrimac" in Hampton Roads, Virginia, on March 8, 1862.