Early wide blade saber owned by Edward Hunter, 1st U.S. Cavalry; purchased from Schuyler Hartley & Graham, New York.
This is about as early as you’ll find for a new pattern 1872 cavalry (or mounted) officer’s saber, this one sold through and marked “SCHUYLER HARTLEY & GRAHAM, NEW YORK.” It has a 7/8 inch blade, 33 1/4 inches long, with a finely etched blade using mostly floral patterns, one panoply of arms, intertwined US in sunburst, and a federal eagle with “E PLURIBUS UNUM” on upward drifting ribbon. The retailer’s name is etched on the left side of the blade above the ricasso, and the owner, “Edward Hunter, U.S.A.” in old english script on the right. The blade is emaculate!
The hilt has a two branch guard decorated with acanthus leaf on both sides. The underside of the guard is a full burst of rays, and the upper is similar with stars superimposed over the rays, and perched federal eagle gripping olive branch and arrows. Acanthus leaf decoration continues on the pommel and pommel cap, and upper guard ending in a scroll effect. The gilt brass twisted wire grip wrap is tight over original blackened sharkskin grip. Approximately 80% plus of the gilt remains. The leather washer is present.
The scabbard, unlike most later 1872 officer sabers, was made just like the 1860 pattern light cavalry saber scabbards; all iron mounted with two ring mounts, upper throat, and drag. These were originally silvered. At some time in its life, poor storage allowed some rust with pitting to form on some areas of the scabbard, most of this on the lower half, and more to left side. Only hints of the original silver remain in protected areas, but now the iron has been cleaned (some time ago) and a nice patina similar to a silver finish is forming.
Edward Hunter’s military record is a stellar one. He graduated from the United State Military Academy in 1865, and was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry, and was assigned to the 12th U.S. Infantry, and was promoted immediately to 1st lieutenant, joining his regiment in September of that year who were still garrisoning Richmond (in charge of military prisons), Virginia. He served as Quartermaster of the 3rd Battalion from February to August of 1866. He served a brief time in Washington, D.C., but soon returned to the regiment, where he resumed his QM duties to February of 1869.
During the period of May of 1867 to April of 1869, was Aid-de- Camp to General Getty at Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in the field the Fall and Winter of 1868 – 69 in a campaign against hostile indians and recommended for promotion for great energy, zeal, ability and devotion to duty.
On February 19, 1870, Hunter was transferred to the 1st Cavalry then on frontier duty at Camp Warner, Oregon. QM of the 1st Cavalry in Sept., 1870 to May of 1873, and was garrisoned at Benicia, Cal., Camp Halleck, Nevada. The Presidio to 1877. Has on the Nez Perce Expedition in the Summer and Fall of 1877. Over the next several years his frontier duty continued in Washington Territory, (Fort Walla Walla), Fort Colville, W.T., providing protection for workers building road from Fools Prairie to Spokane Fall, W.T., Promoted to Captain in the field in 1879. Fort Assiniboine, Montana Terr. in July of 1884 to October 1886.
Resigned from the 1st Cavalry and promoted to Lt. Col. in 1895 becoming Deputy Judge Advocate General, with duty in the Department of Dakota, at St. Paul, Minn. Accompanied General Brooks during the Spanish American War to Puerto Rico as his JAG and mustering officer, August 1, to Sept. 1898; further duties there until 1899, then JAG, Department of the East, as Colonel, May of 1901.
He was a member of the Society of the Order of the Indian Wars, a veteran of many campaigns with the Cheyenne, Arapohoe, Bannock, Nez Perce, etc., with most of his time on frontier duty.
From his record, Hunter had transferred to the 1st Cavalry in 1870. When the new regulations came out in 1872 with the new pattern 1872 saber for all officers, Hunter assuredly purchased his within the 6 month time frame in comply will all uniform changes. This is the only one of its type I have seen to buy, all others of the Springfield make, or other manufacturers with gilt scabbard fittings, and with the ever thinning width of the blade as the years went on up to the 1902 era. He retired a full colonel in 1903.
Truly a rare saber, belonging to a officer with a great history.
A lengthy National Archive record file comes with the saber.