US Model 1840
Heavy Cavalry Saber,
dubiously named

This is the sword that comes to mind when one imagines the illustrious cavalry charges of the Civil War. This sword was used in the US from 1840 through the Mexican War, the Civil War, and finally the Plains Indian Wars of the 1870's and 1880's. The sword was not loved by the Cavalry - officers and troopers alike - and earned the name "The Ole Wrist Breaker". The weight of the sword gave the impression that, when wielded strongly in a downward stroke, the momentum developed could not be slowed by the frail human wrist; therefore "breaking the wrist"! It replaced the US Model 1833 "Dragoon" Saber.
The "Light" Cavalry Saber of 1860 (aka New Model) was meant to replace the 1840 Heavy Cavalry, but this was not to come until long after the Civil War. The designations Heavy and Light do not necessarily refer to the weight of the sword; they do, in fact, refer to the "shock" impact delivered during a "charge". A Heavy Cavalry unit was more "heavily armed" whereas a Light Cavalry unit was "lightly" armed.
This sword, by far, is one of the most pleasing to own and display.
The specimen that I have is of brass hilt construction, with brown (almost black) leather-wrapped grip, and twisted brass retaining wire.
The Model 1840 is another derivation from French patterns - likely the Modele 1822 Cavelerie - and there are many variations (mainly imports), with some having iron hilts (forged steel) finished "in the black".

West Point Cadet Name Searches

I have various information on West Point Cadets - graduates and non-graduates - from 1802 to 2002. If there is a name on your sword - and that name is registered as a West Point Cadet - I can very likely supply basic information on that individual. I charge $10 to search, non-refundable. If a record is found, I will forward that information on to you via e-mail; if no record is found, I will e-mail you to that effect. Follow this link to request a West Point Cadet Search.

German Import of US Model 1840

If you need further information, please request such on the Weapons Identification Service page.
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