Virginia Manufactory Sword

Certificate of Authenticity

Virginia Manufactory Sword

On January 23, 1798, the Virginia General Assembly authorized establishing an armory for the production and storage of weapons for the Commonwealth.  This was the first and only state in the Union to produce all of the arms for its own militia.  Built on the south end of Fifth Street in Richmond, the Virginia Armory was completed in 1802 and began production that year.  Also known as The Virginia Manufactory the armory produced flintlock shoulder arms, handguns, heavy cavalry swords, and cannon from 1802 through 1821.

The swords were designed and constructed to conform to the military patterns in vogue at the time.  The blades were very long and curved.  The first model had a flat pommel cap and the blade was secured by a square nut screwed onto the blade tang.  The scimitar style blades were 40 ½” long.  The second model was very similar except a bird’s head pommel replaced the crude utilitarian appearance of the first type.  By 1815 another variant was constructed that featured a shorter 36” blade.  Arms making ceased there in 1822 and the weapons were stored for issue as needed.  Many were briefly issued during the War of 1812 then returned to storage.

When the War Between the States broke out most of the weapons were obsolete or had suffered from age and neglect and required refinishing or alteration to render them fit for service.  Flintlocks were altered to percussion, deteriorating gun carriages were rebuilt, swords and scabbards were altered and all were scheduled for re-issue to Virginia forces being mustered into the Confederate service.

The sword scabbards were originally constructed to be carried by a cross belt with frog device for attachment via a stud on the scabbard’s throat.  The scabbards had to be rebuilt to be worn on the waist belt via leather slings in keeping with the contemporary style of the day.  (Cavalrymen were wearing a shoulder sling for their carbines and wearing two cross belts was not practical.)

This example was a type 1 model of the Virginia Manufactory cavalry sabre slenderized and shortened for issue to Virginia cavalry during the Civil War.  The double-fluted blade measures 33 ¾” and the wood grip with its leather wrapping and brass wire is long absent.  This sword was found after the war at the battlefield at Rappahannock Station, Virginia.  It is an authentic and rare relic of Virginia’s early history.


Price: $2800.00