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On Hold


French and Indian War infantry hanger as carried by the French infantry from 1750-1764 along with musket and bayonet. The "pontat simple" hilt with its half-clamshell guard was introduced in 1750 and withdrawn in 1764, though some units likely retained it for a time. Infantry entitled to carry swords after that point eventually drew the 1767 briquet form.

The sword measures 33 inches overall with a 27 1/2 inch blade. The blade is a flattened diamond in cross section, with a median ridge on either side. The blade is double-edged with a spearpoint tip. Chartrand (French Military Arms and Armor in America, p. 166,) shows the same blade shape on a 1750s sergeants sword with a musketeer hilt, and it is evident on some other blades he illustrates as well. See also Neumann, Battle Weapons 25 and 27.SS. The face of the half-guard is incised with a line around the edge, about 3/8 inch from the edge at its farthest and at its closest. The globular pommel has a capstan rivet securing the blade tang. The wire wrap is a simple twisted iron wire, now somewhat tarnished, that would have given the hilt a pronounced silver and gold color when new. The incised line, blade form, and use of iron wire on a brass hilt were all likely choices of the regimental commander, though it is possible the wire is an old replacement. More elaborate herringbone binding patterns using two wires of different gauges are common, but Chartrand also shows several swords with a simpler twisted pattern like this.

CONDITION. The tip of the blade is slightly rounded. No edge nicks or chips, but some tiny light freckling or pinpoint pits here and there. The blade has a slight bow starting 9 inches from the tip that puts it 1/8 inch out of at maximum before returning to true at the point. Overall steel gray in color mixed with darker gray areas. The flat blade shoulder that forms a narrow ricasso is chipped away on the lower side just below the hilt. The hilt thus has a very slight wobble. The brass hilt has an untouched age patina. The wire is all there and is secured under the lower ferrule of the grip, but came loose from under the upper ferrule near the pommel and was tacked down. The wire can be shifted a bit up or down to expose part of the word core of the grip underneath, but is in place. The upper grip ferrule has a slight dent. The capstan shows a bit of the iron blade tang on one side. This was likely tapped at some point to tighten the hilt.

I see no markings, but the form is typically French of the period. I show a period portrait of a soldier of the Regiment de la Sarre advancing upon a fallen foe with his hanger drawn. The hilt seems pretty clearly to be of the pontat simple form. The second battalion of this regiment saw a lot of action over here, including Fort William Henry, Ticonderoga, the Plains of Abraham, etc. On the back cover of his book, Chartrand pictures a similar sword, though with a single edged blade and upper fuller, from the Medford, Mass., historical society that is like a souvenir brought home by a Massachusetts provincial.