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Old 18th September 2021, 01:43 AM   #38
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,586

Originally Posted by Interested Party View Post
Jim fascinating. My source material reading list continues to grow and diversify at a rate I can't keep up with.

M Eley this is an amazing piece that has sparked a great discussion.

I have never seen one of these swords, a basket, or even one of the famous crosscut saws remade into a short sword that was a family heirloom from this period. What is more I never even heard the rumor of their existence as such during my childhood in western NC. I believe I would have seen one proudly displayed by someone in my grandfather's gun shop if they were at all common. Every type of antiquarian oddity came through there at one time or another. I can only guess that they were either literally beat into plow shards eventually or confiscated by the northern or southern troops 100 years later. The idea of a sword was so foreign that my mother danced over crossed sticks while her grandmother beat time without anyone realizing it was a supposed to be a sword dance. I guess after 250 years it is surprising that even that much old world culture remained.

The presence of 'foreign' swords in the colonies, and in America through the Revolution, and Civil War is well established, as seen in the amazingly comprehensive "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution", George Neumann, 1972. The volumes of these swords had already existed in the colonies profusely after the more than a century of colonization and immigration.

I dont believe that Union forces would have had an interest in old swords, but the Confederacy was calling for old swords of any kind, and were importing swords mostly from England.

Old world traditions are still very much in place, and that is a most charming story of your mother dancing over the crossed sticks. I once had the great honor of seeing this sword dance performed by the 42nd Highlanders ("Black Watch") . It was just at the time of the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon in 1983, and it was the most stirring thing I have seen.

Another great book you might add
"How the Scots Invented the Modern World", Arthur Herman, 2001.
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