Wonderful Model 1840 Cavalry Officer’s Saber inscribed on the knuckle bow “Presented to Stephen R. Swett, Capt. Of the 2nd Co. of Cavalry N.H.V. by The Members of King Solomon Lodge No.14 F.A.M.” Stephen R. Swett enlisted in October 1861 as a captain in what was originally a battalion of the 1st New Hampshire Cavalry. The New Hampshire battalion was consolidated with two battalions from Rhode Island to form the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry in December. Throughout the war, the regiment would be a part of many reorganizations of the cavalry, although the majority of its service was with the Army of the Potomac.
Most of the regiment's service in 1862 was in northern Virginia, where it served as scouts to determine enemy movements, as well as foraging for supplies and screening infantry movements. The troopers saw action contesting Stonewall Jackson's cavalry in the Valley Campaign. They fought in the Second Bull Run Campaign, as well as many other battles of note, including service in the cavalry actions surrounding the Battle of Fredericksburg.
In 1863, they participated in the Chancellorsville Campaign, and played an important role in the opening battle of the Gettysburg Campaign at Brandy Station. Shortly thereafter, isolated and alone deep in Confederate territory on a scouting mission, they lost nearly 240 of their 280 remaining men at the June 17 skirmish at Middleburg. The regiment was refitted with new recruits and performed scouting and outpost duty along the upper Potomac River until September, when they rejoined the Army of the Potomac, participating in the Bristoe Campaign and Mine Run Campaign.
The following year, the 1st Rhode Island served in the defenses of Washington D.C. before eventually returning to the Shenandoah Valley under the command of Philip H. Sheridan. Due to heavy battle losses, the regiment was consolidated to a battalion of four companies on January 1, 1865. They continued serving in the valley for much of the rest of the war before being mustered out at Baltimore, Maryland on August 3, 1865.
During the war, the regiment lost 1 officer and 16 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded, and 2 officers and 77 enlisted men to disease. Hundreds more were wounded or captured. A total of 2,124 different men served in the regiment at various times, although its field strength normally was less than 500 effectives.
Swett’s saber has a bright blade with elegant, flowing scrolls and panoplies of arms etched into a frosted background. The retailer’s mark of “Schuyler, Hartley & Graham” is etched above the ricasso, which bears the king’s head mark of the Solingen, Prussian maker Gebruder Weyersberg. The pommel of the sword is engraved with the Masonic Eye of Providence above the Square and Compasses. The back of the pommel bears the engraving “Presented November 13th, 1861.” The swelled Model 1860 style grip is wrapped in sharkskin, and it tightly bound in wire with some slight wear in places. The scabbard is plain with some patches of light pitting. A very attractive cavalry officer’s saber that would compliment any Civil War cavalry or edged weapon collection.
Stephen R. Swett - Residence Andover NH; 40 years old. Enlisted on 10/15/1861 as a Captain. On 12/17/1861 he mustered into "I" Co. RI 1st Cavalry. He Resigned on 4/7/1863. He was listed as: Detached 5/15/1862 Centreville, VA As Provost Guard (Estimated day). Returned 7/15/1862 (place not stated) (Estimated day). Absent leave 2/4/1863 (place not stated) (For 20 days, sick, Leave Extended). Returned 3/21/1863). Promotions: Major 8/1/1862. Intra Regimental Company Transfers: 8/8/1862 from company I to Field & Staff. Other Information: Born in Andover, NH After the War he lived in Canaan, NH.
Stephen R. Swett:
Residence Andover NH; 40 years old.
Enlisted on 10/15/1861 as a Captain.
On 12/17/1861 he mustered into "I" Co. RI 1st Cavalry
He Resigned on 4/7/1863
He was listed as:
* Detached 5/15/1862 Centreville, VA As Provost Guard (Estimated day)
* Returned 7/15/1862 (place not stated) (Estimated day)
* Absent leave 2/4/1863 (place not stated) (For 20 days, sick, Leave Extended)
* Returned 3/21/1863 (place not stated)
* Major 8/1/1862
Intra Regimental Company Transfers:
* 8/8/1862 from company I to Field & Staff
born in Andover, NH
After the War he lived in Canaan, NH
Inventory Number: SWO 223