At the start of the American Civil War, William J. McElroy of Macon, Georgia, formally a tinner by trade, changed occupations and went into the weapon and accoutrement manufacturing business and operated throughout the entire war. He produced a wide and varied number of products ranging from bayonets and bowie knives to many types of swords and sabres. According to existing records, he also produced belts, buckles, spurs and canteens as well as supplying the State of Georgia with 210 pikes in the very early part of the war. His edged weapons and those produced by E.J. Johnston, also of Macon, have many similar characteristics and those that are etched are so very similar it is likely that both used the same artist on many existing examples.
This particular example is an infantry officer pattern not commonly encountered with one of the longest blades known to exist — 32″ — and retains the full original tarred canvas covered grip with thick copper wire wrap. The original high copper brass mounted stitched leather scabbard has a few minor old repairs as shown in the images, but is quite sound overall.
The right side is deeply etched “W J McElroy & Co / Macon Ga” and the left has an Old English style “C.S” in a central panel. Both sides have deep tobacco leaf/vine motifs as well as generous original frosting on much of the blade. There are several areas of oxidation as shown in the images provided. The sand cast pierced brass guard is decorated with crude wreath designs and the pommel cap is smooth.
This sword originally surfaced many decades ago and was once in the early collections of William A Albaugh III and Carl Pugliese (who provided the illustrations used in the original edition of Confederate Edged Weapons, written by Albaugh and published in 1960).
A rare and fantastic addition to any collection of American Civil War edged weapons!