Ames Model 1850 Staff & Field Custom Made Sword Inscribed to George Balch of the Ordnance Corps

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Ames Model 1850 Staff & Field Custom Made Sword Inscribed to George Balch of the Ordnance Corps

This Ames sword is very unusual as it is custom made and features several unique features. It was probably made between 1864 and 1865, which was when George T. Balch served at the U.S. Military Academy. The blade is totally custom made in the Spanish style. This give it the appearance of a blade with a pipe back.. There are 15" etched panels on both sides. The right side features a "U.S." a patriotic eagle below and "E PLURIBUS UNUM" banner, scrolls and patriotic arms motifs. The ricasso features a raised panel etched "Ames Mfg Co/ Chicopee/ Mass". The left side features an etched presentation in script "George T. Balch/ Ordnance Corps U.S.A." along with arms motifs and scrollwork. The hilt is of gilt brass and is a Model 1850 Staff & Field hilt. Features chased and pierced scrollwork on the guard with a large "US". The sharkskin wrapped grip is decorated with twisted gilt brass wire. Complete with brown lacquered metall scabbard with gilt brass mounts with chased acanthus leaves on right sides of ring mounts.
 
George T. Balch was a Lieutenant in 1851 and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel by 1865. He was involved at the Ordnance Bureau in Washington, at Frankfurt Arsenal and Springfield Arsenal. He was also present during expeditions in the West against the Sioux. Balch was instructor of Ordnance and gunnery at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was also a principal assistant to the chief of Ordnance in Washington. This sword is featured on page 39 of "Civil War Army Swords" by John H. Thillmann.
 
Like new condition. Blade retains almost all of its original polish with only a few light grey spots and a few spots slightly clouded. The hilt is excellent and retains nearly 100% of the original gilt finish with only a few dark freckles. Scabbard is excellent with no denting and retains nearly all of the original finish. The mounts retain nearly all of their original gilt finish, with some minor dark freckling and one shallow dent on the left side of the drag. This is a very fine and unusual officer's sword identified and nearly in pristine condition.

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