Ames Enlisted Model 1860 Cavalry Saber

Troopers in the field were unhappy with the model 1840 commonly referred to as the “old wrist breaker” they wanted a lighter and more maneuverable Saber. The new model 1860 Saber as the Ordnance Department response. The light Cavalry Saber had a blade that was shorter, not as thick or wide, and came with a scaled down scabbard to fit the new blade. The center of balance was moved back more toward the hilt by slimming the overall blade and the tip from the hatchet type tip to more of a sharp point.

So in 1857 the Ames Sword Company received a request from the US Government to provide sample patterns of a new light Cavalry Saber made after the French model of 1822 and referred to in the Ordnance Department records as the “new pattern”.

Pre War US Government procurements were as follows.

Prewar 1859-1860
Made by Ames
1856-57 – 1000
1858 – 1800
1859 – 5000
Total. 7800

Wartime 1861-1865
Made by Ames
1861 – 10000
1862 – ——–
1863 – 23500
1864 – 31000
1865 – 10000
Total. 74500

The sword you see here is stamped U.S. ADK, 1862 on one side of the ricasso and Ames Mfg. Co, Chicopee Massachusetts on the other side. One of the branches on the knuckle-bow has an inventory # 18320…..the drag plate on the scabbard is also marked ADK, these initials are of the weapons inspectors who’s name was King.

The blade measures 34” long and the handle is 5.5” for a total length of 39.5” with a small and a large fuller. The leather grip is in excellent condition and has 13 rows of brass wrappings. Overall this is a nice example of a Ames Enlisted Model 1860 Calvary Sword, in my opinion it’s a early version probably from the 1856-57 Government procurements.

If you have any questions about this sword or any of the other items in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact me at attn: Gene West

10 thoughts on “Ames Enlisted Model 1860 Cavalry Saber

  1. I have am Ames Civil War Cavalry Saber with scabbard for sale. The sword is in good condition, the scabbard if fair with a few dents. Pictures below.

    I also have a dug civil war era boot pistol that appears to be a .50 caliber.

    Do you have any interest?

    San Antonio, TX

    • George, unfortunately I wouldn’t be interested in your sword or boot pistol….but you can definitely sell the sword on EBay and can probably sell the pistol on if the price is right……Regards

  2. Gene West
    I am interested in selling some of my swords to a serious buyer. If you would be interested in any of the ones in the picture provided please contact me either by email or phone @ 661-xxx-xxxx
    Thank you

  3. Good evening. I was hoping I could garner some information from you. I recently found out that there is a model 1860 Ames cavalry saber with 1861 stamped on it. My ancestor was in the 3rd Virginia cavalry. Was this saber issued to both sides of the war or was it strictly a federal item. Any information you can provide will be appreciated.


    • Michael, The Ames Sword could and would have been used by both Northern and Southern troops, especially early in the war when many of the officers and enlisted cavalry men would have already been serving in the Federal Army.

      Obviously if you were in the Federal Army and you defected to the Southern Army you would have kept your sword, uniform and other accoutrements.

      Also because the South was without resources due to them being a agrarian culture Southern Troops would scavenge the battlefield for anything worth repurposing…..I.E. swords, weapons, food, shoes, jackets and just about anything else. And let’s not forget Northern troops that were taken prisoner, Southerners would have been stripped them of there swords, rifles, side knifes and just about anything else.

      So yes the 1861 Sword May have been used by Southern troops.

      Hope I answered your question, Kind Regards, Gene West

  4. I have an AMES Sward that I am trying to better identify. It is approximately 38 1/2 inches long and has a feathered helmeted hilt. If I send pictures, can you help me identify better.



    • William,
      What you have is not a Civil War Sword it’s a Masons ceremonial sword. It would be from the period of the War of Rebellion, however not a sword that would be carried into battle.
      Below see the attachment I’ve included. Schuyler, Hartley & Graham were a retailer in NYC during the war, kinda like an Army Navy store. They sold different types of military equipment on the retail market. As you can see from there advertisement they offered a similar sword to yours. Notice the religious cross on the sword, it’s very similar to yours.

      Hope I was able to help, Gene

  5. I have what I believe is a Ames Model 1860 Light Cavalry Sword. It has the initials G.K.C. stamped on the hilt which I believe is for George K Charter, a government inspector.
    My questions are;
    1) On the scabbard is the number 77 stamped right at the top?
    2) On the blade next to handle is the number 1865, is that the year it was made?
    3) Right by the 1865 it looks like the letters CV?
    4) I don’t see how to attach pictures?

    Thanks you for any help.

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