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General William T. Sherman‘s Sword
Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

General William T. Sherman‘s Sword

Catalog #: 15926    Accession #: 59388
Credit: Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History


Ames Manufacturing Company (Manufacturer)

Nathan Ames established a cutlery business in Chicopee, Massachusetts in 1829. He was known as a fine sword- maker and furnished large numbers to the United States government. In 1834 he incorporated the Ames Manufacturing Company and several years later he added a foundry to cast church bells and bronze cannons.

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 8" H x 39" W x 4" D

Physical Description

Model 1850 forged steel sword with gilt brass scabbard.

Specific History

General William T. Sherman wore this Model 1850 Staff and Field Officers’s sword during the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee 6–8 April 1862.

General History

One of the greatest battles of the War Between the States erupted near the banks of the Tennessee River at Shiloh, Tennessee. On 6 April 1862, General Sidney Johnston launched his attack. The Union forces were quickly driven back to the north and east. They found themselves rapidly approaching the Tennessee River to the east and Owl Creek to the north. However, the Union troops finally established a line at an area know as "the sunken road". Confederate forces launched eleven attacks against the position, but the line would not break. The area became known as the "Hornets Nest" because of the intensity of gun fire and grazing of bullets. Finally the southern troops brought sixty-two artillery pieces to bear on the Hornets Nest, many at point blank range. After holding the position for six hours, the Union forces surrendered. The next morning, the fresh Union forces attacked the tired and surprised Confederates, who believed they had won a great victory. By sheer weight of numbers the Federals pushed them back. Resistance stiffened; as the day wore on, the Confederates pulled back and the next day withdrew to Corinth.


Country: United States
State: Tennessee
War: Civil War
Service: Army
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