THE SWORD AND THE PEN: HE HELPED END SLAVERY IN MARYLAND!
PRESENTATION CAVALRY OFFICER'S SABER, WRITING DESK, AND COPY OF THE MARYLAND CONSTITUTION, PRESENTED IN BALTIMORE IN 1863! - Inventory Number: GRO 011
This material was purchased DIRECTLY from the family descendants by Dave Taylor of Sylvania, Ohio in 2015. Spectacular Clauberg cavalry officer's saber with a great presentation engraved on the scabbard between the mounts: "Presented to Capt. Joseph H. Audoun by the Union Relief Association, Baltimore, August 25, 1863" Born in 1823, Audoun was a prominent Baltimorean. According to his 1884 obituary, "His first public service was as a Justice of the Peace in the Third Ward, chosen by the American Party. He was elected an Associate Judge of the Orphans Court with Chief Judge Kemp and Samuel Spicer. Later, he was again, elected for a second term as Chief Justice. In 1864, he was a member of the Maryland State Constitutional Convention. Upon retiring, he resumed his law practice, partnering with Thomas Bruscup, in the real estate business. An uncompromising Union man, he raised a volunteer battery of artillery, known as "Audoun's Battery", working in the Baltimore fortification, although they were not mustered into government service. He was the superintendent of the Union Relief, where probably, 100,000 soldiers in transit, were fed."
Audoun's Battery, in fact, was organized during the Gettysburg campaign when Lee's move north threatened both Washington and Baltimore. Audoun organized the battery in July, 1863, and nicknamed it the "Eagle Artillery," and it was part of the "Artillery Reserve" with two other Maryland and one Pennsylvania battery, stationed at Baltimore, where it served until mustered out of service on Jan. 16, 1864. The presentation of the sword in August, 1863, thus coincides with Audoun's active service in the battery in defense of Baltimore and also reflects his service on the executive board of the Union Relief Association, which had been founded in 1861 to provide food, shelter and medical attention to troops passing through the city and also to help families of Maryland soldiers.
Audoun's participation as a representative of Baltimore City in the Maryland Constitutional Convention of 1864 also puts him at the center of abolishing slavery in the state. Since the state was not technically in rebellion it was not subject to the Emancipation Proclamation, and since its 1851 constitution forbade any interference with slavery in the state, it was necessary to revise the constitution itself. The convention took place from April to September, 1864, and a statewide referendum was held in October that officially ended slavery in the state as of November 1, 1864. Given his role as jurist and military man the gift of a saber and writing desk (the sword and the pen) were particularly appropriate. The desk is a very nice, folding traveling desk, bound in brass, with inset brass decorations, and carrying handles. The desk locks when folded, and has a green felt writing surface, trays for ink and pens, and concealed compartments top and bottom for paper and correspondence, as well as an exterior drawer that opens by withdrawing a locking pin when the desk is opened up. One small strip of brass is missing from the top, and another has raised up slightly. An inkwell and the key are present, and the lock is marked "W. Turner." The copy of the 1864 constitution is a nice, light brown leather-bound copy. Generally tight, it has some minor page wear to the corner of the flyleaf. This book was purchased separately and added it to the sword and desk which was bought from the family. Bright steel scabbard with brass throat, middle mounts and drag. Engraved and chased floral motifs on the mounts mimic the swirling foliage and leaves that are both engraved in the hilt and cast as part of the guard. The silver grip shows alternating columns of swirls with grooved channels and has just a few gray scattered gray spots. The blade is bright and has been plated. It is wonderfully etched with geometric and floral etching and a sharp "Clauberg/ Solingen" stamp at the ricasso.
This is an impressive set presented to a significant figure in keeping a key border state in the Union. A magnificent presentation sword & desk owned by a Baltimore Blue Blood.
Joseph H. Audoun:
Enlisted on 6/25/1863 as a Captain.
On 6/25/1863 he was commissioned into "Batty B" Co. MD 2nd Light Artillery
He was Mustered Out on 1/16/1864
Inventory Number: GRO 011