Photo: Close-up of hilt of civil war-era sword

The story behind a Civil War–era gem from the Sullivan Museum and History Center.

The Norwich Record | Winter 2019

ALTHOUGH LESS COMMON TODAY, PRESENTATION swords, still coveted as a form of art, were given by and to soldiers or their loved ones for a host of reasons. Sometimes the gifts honored a strong leader or an epic battle. Sometimes they were presented as a gesture of thanks or to acknowledge the fallen. For his actions in the American Civil War, BG Joseph Mower (NU 1846) received this sword from his men of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 15th AC (Army of the Mis¬sissippi). It probably cost each of them a month’s wages. Why so much? The exquisite blade was made by the renowned luxury retailer and jeweler Tiffany & Co. From point to pommel, the sword’s superb craftsmanship shines. Note the grip wrapped in slip-resistant manta ray skin.

John Hart directs the Sullivan Museum and History Center. For more, visit

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