Model 1860 Child's Saber
(circa 1860-1882)

Young boy playing soldier.

Most officers during the Civil War bought their own side arms. To help promote their wares, some dealers offered to include an undersized sword that the buyer could give to a child. In most instances, these swords were nearly identical to the regulation sword, just smaller.

At the time, many young boys were playing soldier and reenacting the battles their parents and other relatives were talking about. While most wore surplus uniform parts and carried wooden sticks, some from wealthier families wore tailored uniforms and carried real equipment, like small swords and miniture firearms.

The saber pictured above is one of these deadly playthings. It is patterned after the regulation M1860 cavalry saber, but is about 2/3 the size. Like the original, the grip is wrapped in leather and held in place with twisted brass wire. The blade and scabbard are both unmarked. Today, these child-size swords are quite rare.