Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • War of 1812 1812-1815
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Sword of T.H. Stevens from the War of 1812

Sword presented to Lt. Thomas Holdup Stevens for action in Battle of Lake Erie

Title: Sword, Presentation, Lt Thomas Holdup Stevens
Accession #: NHHC 1982-65-C
Circa: 1813
Size: 34.75 x 3.5"
Medium: Steel, Brass, Ivory
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command

This sword was presented to Lt Thomas Holdup Stevens by the city of Charleston for his conduct during the Battle of Lake Erie on the 10th of September 1813. Stevens commanded the sloop Trippe and engaged in battle with the English sloop Queen Charlotte. The Trippe also assisted the Scorpion in pursuing and capturing two enemy vessels.

The sword has a steel blade with gilt and bluing decorations. The blade is inscribed “The Citizens of CHARLESTON to Lieut. THOMAS HOLDUP. He was in the Battle of LAKE ERIE.” The sword is silver hilted with heavy gilt wash finish. The eagle head pommel is typical of the period. Rococo knuckle bow is heavily decorated with a lion’s head and floral designs. The grip is made of incised ivory with a diamond cross-hatch pattern. The large turned down counter guard bears a relief design of the battle of Lake Erie with two wooden vessels engaged in naval combat while a third is sinking.

The obverse of the scabbard is heavily decorated and divided into four parts. The mouth is decorated with a band of grape clusters and grape leaves. The first section from the mouth has a relief design of a fouled anchor with foliage. The second section has a relief design of Neptune holding a trident with a US flag, riding in a sleigh drawn by two sea horses with a small figure ahead blowing a horn. The third part has a relief design showing a scene from the Battle of Lake Erie. The relief shows a burning ship with a broken mast and a small boat with four occupants trailing behind her. The fourth part bears a relief design of a large anchor and shield with flags, cannon, and a stack of cannon balls.

Published: Fri Sep 21 07:35:31 EDT 2018