Sword belonging to Robert Gould Shaw
To order an image, navigate to the full
display and click "request this image"
on the blue toolbar.
This is a regulation model 1850 Foot Officer’s sword that belonged to Robert Gould Shaw (1837-1863).
Robert Gould Shaw enlisted in the 7th NY Militia in November of 1860. Over the next year he moved up the ranks and was commissioned a captain in the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment in August of 1861. In March of 1863 Shaw was commissioned a major in the newly-formed 54th Massachusetts Regiment and the following month he was commissioned a colonel in the same regiment.
This sword is likely the one he used when he served in the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment. Shaw mentions at least three different swords in his correspondence.
The collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society also include a second sword owned by Robert Gould Shaw, an English sword that Shaw's uncle ordered for him: