The model 1840 non-commissioned officer sword was intended for sergeants and were ceremonial in purpose, being used to convey rank and to signal movement in drills. The sword could be used in a fight, but only as a weapon of last resort. The scabbard throat on this example is inscribed with the presentation “to Sergeant Major Stephen Keith Mahon, 36th Iowa Inf. Aug. 1862 by his hometown folks.” Irish born Mahan was living in Ottumwa, Iowa in August 1862 when he enlisted in the 36th Iowa. He saw action with the regiment at Yazoo Pass, Helena, and Elkins Ford, Arkansas. The regiment suffered severe casualties at the Battle of Mark’s Mills, where Mahon was taken prisoner. He was confined at Camp Ford in Tyler Texas until exchanged in February 1865. Mahon went on to a long career in the army and retired in 1883. Manufactured by Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts, this sword has the Ames roll mark and is stamped “U.S. A.H.C. 1862.” The handle is tight, and the blade is bright with light pitting overall. An attractive 1840 NCO sword with a scarce presentation.
Stephen Keith Mahon - Residence Ottumwa IA; 23 years old. Enlisted on 8/14/1862 as a Private. On 9/1/1862 he mustered into "E" Co. IA 36th Infantry. He was Mustered Out on 8/24/1865 at Devall's Bluff, AR. (Subsequent service in US army from 02/23/1866 until retiring 04/11/1883).He was listed as: POW 4/25/1864 Mark's Mills, AR. Exchanged 2/25/1865. Promotions: Sergt Major 10/5/1862, 1st Lieut 6/3/1863 (1st Lieut & Adjutant), Capt 3/2/1867 by Brevet (Helena, AR). Intra Regimental Company Transfers: 10/5/1862 from company E to Field & Staff. Other Information: Born in Ireland. Died 1/11/1885.
Thirty-sixth Infantry IOWA (3 years)
Thirty-sixth Infantry.ÄCol., Charles W. Kittredge; Lieut.-Col. Francis M. Drake, Majs., Thomas C. Woodward, Augustus H. Hamilton.
The 36th rendezvoused at Keokuk in Sept., 1862, and was regularly mustered into the U. S. service on Oct. 4. It left Keokuk about Nov. 10, going down the river on two steamers, and made its first landing at Columbus, Ky., in the night, to assist in repelling an expected attack of the enemy.
It reached Helena, Ark., Dec. 31 and remained there until the latter part of the following February, when it embarked on steamers in the Yazoo Pass expedition, returning to Helena, April 8, the expedition comprising just 40 days and nights in the wilderness. The regiment remained here, making occasional forays into the country, until Aug. 11, 1863 when it formed part of Gen. Steele's army in his march on Little Rock. That place was captured on Sept. 10, and the regiment entered the city two days afterward, encamping in the outskirts on the north side.
In March, 1864, it was in the expedition under command of Gen. Steele, the objective point being Camden, at the head of navigation on the Ouchita river, and the 36th bore the brunt of the battle on this march, at Elkin's Ferry. It took part also in the battle of Prairie d'Ane, where the advance of the army skirmished for 12 miles and finally found the Confederates so strongly posted as to require three days to dislodge them.
In April the regiment was in the brigade detailed to guard 240 wagons back to Pine Bluff, upon which expedition the battle of Marks' Mills occurred and the regiment was captured. About 100 of the 36th left behind were in the battle of Jenkins' Ferry. Those of the regiment who were not captured remained at Little Rock till early in March, 1865, when they were removed to St. Charles on the White River, and in May, to Devall's Bluff, where they were mustered out Aug. 24, 1865.
The regiment received some 70 recruits in March, 1864, at Little Rock, and had in it from first to last 1,205 officers and men. Its losses were: deaths from battle, 70, deaths from disease, 233; wounded 146; discharged, 191.
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