General Sherman's Civil War Sword to be Auctioned in Ohio

A rare Civil War sword used by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman will be auctioned off at Fleischer's Auctions in Columbus, Ohio, on May 14. The sword, estimated to sell for $40,000 to $60,000, is accompanied by other historic artifacts from Sherman's collection.

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Bijay Laxmi
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General Sherman's Civil War Sword to be Auctioned in Ohio

General Sherman's Civil War Sword to be Auctioned in Ohio

A rare and historic Civil War sword used by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman between 1861 and 1863 will be auctioned off at Fleischer's Auctions in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday, May 14. The sword, accompanied by its scabbard, is a significant artifact from the American Civil War and is expected to attract bidders from across the country.

Why this matters: The auction of General Sherman's Civil War sword serves as a reminder of the significance of the Civil War in shaping the United States' history and identity. The preservation and sale of such artifacts also highlights the importance of cultural heritage and its impact on our understanding of the past.

The sword, a rare variant of cavalry saber with a 30.5-inch blade, was used by Sherman in several battles, including the Battle of Shiloh, before he succeeded Ulysses S. Grant as commander of the war's western theater in 1864. It has been passed down through Sherman's descendants, starting with his daughter Maria Fitch, and is now being sold for the first time. The sword is estimated to sell for between $40,000 and $60,000, with the current bid standing at $31,000.

In addition to the sword and scabbard, other items from Sherman's collection will be auctioned, including his uniform's rank insignia worn during the Civil War, a family Bible, and his personal, annotated copy of Ulysses S. Grant's memoirs. The entire collection is estimated to sell for as high as $300,000.

General Sherman, a West Point graduate, played a crucial role in the Civil War, leading a scorched-earth campaign across Georgia and coining the phrase"War is hell. "His capture of Atlanta in 1864 helped President Abraham Lincoln win a second term, ensuring the continuation of the fight to preserve the Union.

Adam Fleischer, president of Fleischer's Auctions, emphasized the significance of Sherman's relics, stating: "Had it not been for William Tecumseh Sherman, it is conceivable that the North would not have won the Civil War and that the Union would not have been persevered." Fleischer also noted that "as Americans, we live with the consequences of the Civil War whether we know it or not, and if you remove William Tecumseh Sherman from history the war could have ended very differently."

The auction will also feature other historic relics, including a 1733 document signed by Benjamin Franklin, the eleventh known 1790 "free" badge issued to a formerly enslaved person, the scrapbook of a Tuskegee Airman, and other effects. The relics were provided to the auction house by Sherman's direct descendants.

The auction of General William Tecumseh Sherman's Civil War sword and other historic artifacts on May 14 at Fleischer's Auctions in Columbus, Ohio, offers a rare opportunity for collectors and history enthusiasts to own apiece of American history. The sword, estimated to sell for up to $60,000, serves as a tangible reminder of Sherman's pivotal role in shaping the outcome of the Civil War and the United States as we know it today.