A French made sword with gorgeous blade, presented to quite a character.
This French made presentation grade sword was “Presented to/ Col. F.H. Braulik/ 163rd Regt N.Y.S.V./ by some of his friends, / officers 163d/ Oct. 28th, 1862.” The basket style hilt with molded piercings in the guard, has a large panoply of arms superimposed by a Federal Eagle on shield at its center. Small open work forms the guard on the other side of the hilt. Floral and geometric patterns is used on the pommel cap. The heavy quillion take the form of tightly wrapped scroll work. A grip of white shark skin shows wear, with its wire wrap missing, yet is in very good condition otherwise.
The gilt brass scabbard is finished with florals above and below both ring mounts, and a similar pattern is continued nearly 11 inches down to the drag, but only on one side. Ring mounting have a full continuous acanthus leaf pattern on them.
The hilt and scabbard have about 25-35 percent gilt remaining, with most of the finish on protected areas of the hilt. A nice untouched patina on the scabbard lends to the look of more gilt, mixing with aged blemishing, small dings, minor dents.
A 34.5 inch bright blade with several wonderfully etched panels on both sides, are in super condition, with most of the frosty etching still remaining working with original polishing overall. Besides the florals, etc., there are three main designs on the left side; panoply of drums and flags with eagle, an eagle within a sunburst and “E Pluribus Unum. ” The last on this side is field piece within more flags, cannon barrels and balls. The right side begins with a massive panoply of flags, arms, etc, with an oval shield with “U.S.” engraved within. A pike extends up surmounted by a liberty cap. Next is a flying eagle with banner in beak repeating “E Pluribus Unum,” with finely an ancient Greek warrior with shield. This side of the blade exhibits more geometric designs, and more interspersed tongues of flames. Truly a gorgeous blade. There is no maker name or cartouches to be seen. The leather washing is missing.
Now depending on your lust for blood and guts, or just a great story, this one will be the great story!
A great deal of research was done for this presentation sword, and the researchers preface to a past collector, “The military career of Francis H. Braulik (also spelled Braulich) presents a mystery.” The half inch file on him bears this out. I will touch on some of the points; Braulik served in the 41st, 163rd, and the 178th New York Infantries, being commissioned into the field and staff of the 41st as the quartermaster, however, concerning his being commissioned in the 163rd and 178th, he was never mustered into Federal service. Someone apparently jumped the gun on the presentation of a fine sword!
Braulik was born in Austria, or so he claims, or France as some else recorded it. He claimed to have prior military experience in Austria. He was accused of pocketing money by another officer while raising a regiment in New York City, but countered that claim as the other officer’s reputation was not of stellar character himself. After the war, the New York Times suggested Braulik was the father of an out-of-wedlock child with a widow who owned the boarding house where he resided. Although married at the since 1855 but likely was separated from here from time to time, and living in his landlady’s boarding house in 1900, where he died in 1901. His body was sent to the Mrs then living in Washington, D.C..
These records contain genealogical data on himself and family, newspaper articles where Braulik is named as part of various military organizations, copies of army correspondence concerning the “$25.00 Dollar Swindle” of which he had been a part or, data on career positions after the war (such as a professor at an Allentown (PA) Female College where is was one of the instructors, more military records from the archives, etc.
The researchers last comment is, “I know it’s the military records that are most important. I can’t put him at Gettysburg, or Antietam or Appomattox. But I can tell you he was not dull. Not even close.
Despite the lack of military history that we prefer, the sword can stand on its own merits for what I’m asking.