Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

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Maker/Manufacturer:AMES MFG. CO.
Date of Manufacture:1862
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 6603
Measurements:OL: 86.9CM 34 1/4" BL: 71.1CM 28"

Object Description:

Manufactured by Ames Mfg. Co., Chicopee, Mass. in 1862 - Cadet Officer's sword. Silver plated, cruciform hilt is derived from NCO sword M1840. Straight single-edge blade. Pommel is decorated with Federal Eagle. Complete with 29 1/2" steel scabbard (Army #4436).

Crossguard: M.A. M.A. = Military Academy.
Hilt: 15.

Notes: "Little information is available concerning the precise pattern of the Cadet swords ordered from the Ames Manufacturing Company by the U.S. Ordnance Department and no specimens were located during the course of this guide survey. It is believed that the Cadet swords were purchased by the Ordnance Department for the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, and the Virginia Military Institute (V.M.I.), Lexington. In any event, Cadet swords were inspected and die-stamped with the inspector's initials, 'US,' and the year.
The following correspondence concerning the Cadet swords, transribed from the Record of the Chief of Ordnance (Records Group 156), was dispatched to either N.P. Ames or James T. Ames:
'Ordnance Office
14th April, 1840
N.P. Ames,
Sir: Twelve swords, of the kind called 'Cadet Swords' as such as have been furnished to the Military Academy, are required for the 'Virginia Military Institute.'
Please have them made as soon as convenient, inspected and delivered to the storekeeper at Springfield Armory.' - s/G. Talcott

'Ordnance Office
22 April 1840
N.P. Ames
Sir: The Swords wanted for the Virginia Military Institute should bear some appropriate mark or device, which is left to your own judgement to form and apply to the blades.' - s/G. Talcott

Ordnance Department records indicate that Ames did not furnish Cadet swords to the U.S. Military Academy prior to April 14, 1840; thus it can be assumed that Cadet swords were earlier supplied by another contractor or contractors.
The dozen Cadet swords mentioned in Lt. Col. Talcott's letter of April 14, 1840 were delivered to Springfield Armory on May 15, 1840 and Ames received another order for V.M.I. Cadet swords the next year as the following correspondence reveals:
'Ordnance Office
March 13, 1841
N.P. Ames
Sir: You will be pleased to have made as soon as possible, eight Cadet Swords, of the same pattern as those referred to in the letter to you of the 14 April last. After inspection they will be delivered to the Military storekeeper at the Springfield Armory.' s/G. Talcott

The eight Cadet swords noted in Lt. Col. Talcott's letter of March 13, 1841 were delivered to Springfield Armory on May 1, 1841. Ames continued to receive small orders for Cadet swords as indicated in the following letter:
'Ordnance Office
6 November 1846
N.P. Ames
Sir: This Department is in want of twenty (20) Cadet Swords for the State of Virginia, to be made similar in all respects to the twenty furnished that State in 1840 and 1841. Please say whether you will furnish them and at what time and price.' s/G. Talcott

'Ordnance Office
November 27, 1846
N.P. Ames
Sir: Your letter of the 23rd inst. has been received, and I have concluded to take the swords of the pattern furnished the Military Academy at West Point, at $11. each.' s/G. Talcott

Ord. Office
Dec. 7, 1846
N.P. Ames
Sir: The Cadet's Swords alluded to in your letter of the 1st inst. will receive the usual inspection.' s/G. Talcott

Ames delivered the twenty V.M.I. Cadet swords to the Springfield Armory on April 15, 1847. It can be assumed from Lt. Col. George Talcott's letter of December 7, 1846 that the V.M.I. Cadet swords had no logo or marking identifying them with V.M.I. as suggested in Talcott's correspondence to Ames of April 22, 1840.
Ames delivered two additional Cadet sword orders, each substantially larger than his earlier orders, and both were addressed to James Tyler Ames because Nathan had died in the interim (April 23, 1847). The following correspondence reveals the details of those orders:
'Ord Office
Aug. 10, 1849
James T. Ames,
Sir: I request that you wilThe price last paid you for Cadet swords was $11. It is expected that you can afford to make these for less now. If so, I may be induced to extend the number to one hundred. Be pleased to let me hear from you.' s/G. Talcott

'Ord. Office
Aug. 22, 1849
James T. Ames,
Sir: Your letter of the 20th inst. has been received and you will be pleased to furnish this Department with one hundred Cadet Swords, at the price of ten dollars, stated by you, thirty of which to be completed and delivered at as early a time as practicable, being required for issue to the U.S. Corps of Cadets.' s/G. Talcott

The 100 Cadet swords for the U.S. Military Academy were delivered by the Ames firm November 30, 1849.
The final Ordnance Department order for Ames-manufactured Cadet swords is somewhat confusing because the original order for 100 swords was not recorded.
The only letter found concerning the swords is cited next:
'Ord. Office
July 7, 1856
James T. Ames,
Sir: It was supposed from your letter of the 2nd May, last, that 100 Cadets' swords would have been delivered...they are much wanted, and I request that they be furnished at the earliest day practicable....'s/H.K. Craig
Ordnance Department records shows that James T. Ames delivered the 100 Cadet swords, in addition to other swords, on July 25, 1856. The Cadet swords were priced at $10.00 each, as specified in Col. Talcott's letter of August 22, 1849 and they are probably of the same pattern as those made in response to that letter." - Hickox

See, Hamilton, pg. 161.

Hamilton, John D. THE AMES SWORD COMPANY 1829-1935. Mowbray Company. Providence, R.I. 1983.
Hickox, Ron G. COLLECTOR'S GUIDE TO AMES U.S. CONTRACT MILITARY EDGED WEAPONS: 1832-1906. Pioneer Press. Union City, Tn. 1984.

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