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French Naval Cutlass

ca.1776-1783
Origin: France, Klingenthal
Length; 30" Blade: 24 1/4" x 1 7/16"
Iron, steel and brass
Museum Purchase, Mitchell Arms and Military Accoutrements Fund
Acc. No. 2018-256
Regulation cutlass of the "Sartines" type with a cast brass hilt and a broad, slightly curved, single-edge blade having a narrow fuller along its spine. One-piece ribbed grip, backstrap and capstan-topped pommel. Heart-shaped counterguard with two outboard branches and five-lobed quillon.
Label:Standing in contrast to the drab cutlasses of the British are the attractive, brass-hilted “sabres de bord” of the French Navy. Two branches and a broad counterguard protect the users hand, and its sturdy cast brass grip is identical to those used on the hangers made in France for Virginia. Datable to the Revolutionary War by the “Crown R” on the blade, many of these cutlasses would have been present in the Chesapeake in 1781 on French men-o-war, and likely American ships too.
Mark(s):Small "Crown R" within an oval cartouche struck on ricasso of the blade and top of guard near quillon.