View Cart Home»Past Items
Revolutionary War British Grenadier Hanger and Scabbard
click for an even bigger image



"The regulars, when they found the fire slacken for want of ammunition, pushed over the walls, with their guns in their left hand, and their swords in their right..."
Col. _______, wounded in the entrenchment at Bunker Hill, quoted in Rivington's Gazette, No. 120, Aug. 3, 1775.

Here is a very scarce Revolutionary War British doghead or monster-head grenadier private's hanger. 34 inches overall, with a single edge blade 28 inches long, gently curved, 1 3/16 inches wide at the guard, bearing a single narrow fuller along the back edge and very narrow ricasso. The grip is cast in two pieces, as is correct. The hilt shows a nice, muted brass patina, dark in the lower spots and rubbed a bit on the high points from handling. The hilt is tight to the blade, which is dull silver gray in color mixed, with some darker gray areas, and has a good point and edge with no nicks. The blade is marked with a running wolf or fox made of simply struck straight lines and a circle for its eye on either side. On each side next to this is a blade date reading, x 1776 x. An 18th regiment of foot hanger formerly in the Nannos collection had a similarly marked blade with a 1773 date. A few marks on the face of the counterguard indicate ours was regimentally marked as well, but the markings are no longer visible.

The scabbard, even rarer than the sword, is heavy black leather, with some brownish tones, solidly sewn along the back with multiple lines of stitching, and decorated on the front with two intersecting wavy lines. The brass fastening hook is still in place, as is the short brass drag. A crude throat consisting of a narrow riveted brass strip is obviously a period modification to keep the leather from splaying outward.

Infantry swords were privately purchased by colonels and patterns varied by regiment, but Board of Ordnance documents refer to brass dog headed hangers in 1745 and to hangers, with dog headed hilts, in Tower holdings in 1753. Pictorial evidence indicates they are in the hands of the 7th and 21st regiments in the 1742 illustrations contained in the "Cloathing Book," and others are shown at the side of a grenadier in a cartouche on a map of the Battle of Minden dating about 1759 and in a print of a soldier in 85th regiment, serving from 1759-1763 (see the article by Troiani cited below.)

Swords were withdrawn from battalion company privates in 1768, but remained in the hands of sergeants, musicians, and grenadiers throughout the Revolution. This particular pattern uses a dog head pommel, grips with a rope pattern that are rectangular in cross-section, and a counter-guard that has a heart-shaped top, but relatively straight sides joining concave lower portions as it transitions into the knuckleguard. Examples of this pattern exist marked to regiments with American service such as the 16th, 18th, 22nd, and 30th regiments. There is also a grip excavated from an American camp in the Hudson Highlands that was probably a captured souvenir.

In addition to the citation of British troops entering the earthworks at Bunker Hill sword in hand, a regimental general order dated January 25, 1775, in Boston ordered that the grenadier waist belts in the 18th "be repaired, as soon as possible, so that they will be able to carry their Hangers," and an 18th Regiment grenadier captured at Concord was said to be carrying a brass "cutlash." Most significant is a 10th Regiment marked example in the Concord Museum with a long tradition of capture on April 19, 1775.

Restoration to the quillon and a section of the side branch.

Literature: Neumann, Battle Weapons; Darling, A Regimentally Marked mid-18th Century British Infantry Hanger in the Concord Antiquarian Society; Troiani, British Infantry Swords of the American Revolution.

Payment by check or money-order. Shipping is included, but NY addresses must add sales tax or supply a resale certificate. Item will be shipped when funds have cleared.