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"Grenadeer of Virginia" hanger

ca. 1778-1779
Origin: France, Klingenthal
OL: 31 15/16" Blade: 26 1/2" x 1 9/16"
Steel, iron and brass
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1987-15
Hilt of classic French "Model 1767 Grenadier's sword" form comprised of two separate elements; the ribbed grip, backstrap and capstan component and the knucklebow, counterguard and languet combination.

The blade is broad and unfullered with a widening "falchion" tip running for the last 8 3/4." An iron to steel seam is plainly visible about 2 1/2" inches up the blade from the hilt.
Label:With a blade boldly etched "Grenadeer of Virginia" and "Victory or Death," there is no doubt for whom this sword was ordered during the Revolution. Through the efforts of William and Arthur Lee, Virginia contracted for an estimated 1500 to 2000 French-made grenadier, artillery and cavalry swords in 1778. The Grenadeer (sic) pattern had the same hilt as the French M-1767 Grenadier's sword, but with a widening or "falchion" tipped blade that the French prototype lacked.

Virginia's French-made swords arrived in August of 1779, and were put into service quickly with the State's militia. As the war progressed and the need for cavalry swords intensified, Governor Thomas Jefferson directed that "Grenadier Swords" be issued to Virginia's mounted troops until longer sabres could be acquired.

After the Revolutionary War ended, many "Grenadeer of Virginia" swords remained in the possession of the state and saw service until well into the 19th century, last being issued in 1807.
Provenance:Sumpter Priddy III, Inc., Richmnd, VA
Mark(s):Outboard blade forte struck with a "Crown R" within an oval cartouche (a Klingenthal inspector's mark).
Inscription(s):Outboard side of blade etched "Grenadeer of Virginia" below a panoply of arms. Inboard side of blade etched "Victory or Death" below a panoply of arms.