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Title US Navy cutlass, model 1860
Nationality American
Period 1863
 (This item is subject to special postage, click here for more information.)

This cutlass was the classic Civil War piece used by the Union Navy up until as late as the early stages of WW2 and superceded only in the 20th century by a later pattern with a sheet steel guard. It was modelled on the French cutlass of the Napoleonic Wars, which latter, however, had a sheet steel guard.

Yankee cutlasses of this type are unique inasmuch as the only other navies carrying brass hilted cutlasses were the Danes and an Austrian NCO version. Almost all other navies had iron hilted cutlasses. However, merchant marine and dockyard companies in England often carried brass mounted hilts.

The blade is 26" long (32" overall) and is marked on one side 'USN // D.R. // 1863', this last a little faint, but still just visible. The factory markings on the other side have either never been there or been removed completely. The blade is still bright with a little scattered pitting here and there, the whole cutlass having been preserved, until I cleaned it, by a heavy coat of polyurethane varnish, now largely removed. The maker may have been Ames of Chicopee, Massachusetts, who was the main factory for most of these weapons, some 22,000 having been issued to the navy. Prussian and Austrian cutlasses apart, it remains one of the most scarce and desirable of this weapon.

The condition is excellent, with a few tiny fractures on the rim of the guard. There are two strands of wiring have become separated at the top of the grip, but are still present, with old lead solder marks on the ends of the wiring, indicating some old repair job. There is a break to the end of the scabbard (one one side only), which has been carefully repaired. The leather is in remarkable condition for its age and the frog is still in good shape with the stitching on one side having come adrift. The frog makes up for the lack of the factory name, as these weapons rarely have the frog extant.

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.

[Edged Weapons : Swords : American : 19th Century]


Thanks very much for the bayonet. I am very happy, I think your photos of your items are great because nothing is hidden and you can clearly see them. (Unlike some other dealers.) Everything was as you describe, I will be keeping a eye on your site for any further bayonets for my collection.

S W, UK, 10.01.2013

You worked your magic again. The knife arrived this afternoon without any problem. [My husband] is quite delighted with it.

J J, Canada, 07.11.2006