Mounted Artillery Officer's Saber
(circa 1800-1810)




U.S. Mounted Artillery Officers
  This mounted artillery officer's saber has a pillow pommel, fluted bone grip, and 5 ball guard and counter-guard. The upper half of the blade has original blue wash and gold-filled engravings of a cannon, drums, pikes, flags, spears, and foliage. Near the pommel is a small brass ring used to affix a sword knot. The sword comes with its original leather scabbard, which is missing the drag. The identity of the maker is unknown.

The Mounted Artillery was organized in 1808 in response to President Jefferson's request for an augmentation of the Army in the face of hostile British and French acts against the United States. By l812, it ranked first among the combat units in the Army. The Mounted Artillery retained its position of eminence until it was disbanded in 1821.
Note: Around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, European and American military forces began to use a specific style of sword with a "5-ball" hilt. It was called by this name because it incorporated as decorative feature spheres molded into the knuckle guard and counterguard. These were usually grouped as strings of 3, 4 or 5 spheres, one string on the knuckle guard and one on the counterguard. We use the term 5-Ball here as a generic reference to swords that have the characteristic ball pattern in their hilts, regardless of the exact number of balls. The sword style is quite unique. It was used by both Army and Navy officers in Great Britain, France and the United States. It incorporated a number of pommels styles from "pillow" or "cushion" pommel, to "eaglehead" pommel, to an "urn" pommel. The popularity lasted from 1790 to until about 1820 when it was no longer produced. Because of this, the 5-ball hilt pattern can be used to estimate when such a sword was made.