Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Sherman, William Tecumseh  Search this
Ames Manufacturing Company  Search this
Physical Description:
steel (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 8 in x 39 in x 4 in; 20.32 cm x 99.06 cm x 10.16 cm
Object Name:
Other Terms:
sword; Edged Weapons; Army; Foot Officer; Officer
United States: Tennessee
Date made:
ca 1850-1862
Used date:
1862-04-06 through 1862-04-08
Physical Description
Model 1850 forged steel with gilt brass scabbard.
Specific History
General William T. Sherman wore this Model 1850 staff and field officer's sword during the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, April 6–8, 1862.
General History
One of the greatest battles of the War between the States erupted near the banks of the Tennessee River at Shiloh, Tennessee. On April 6, 1862, General Sidney Johnston launched his attack. The Union forces were quickly driven back; they found themselves rapidly approaching the Tennessee River to the east and Owl Creek to the north. However, the Union troops finally established a line at an area known as "the sunken road." Confederate forces launched eleven attacks against the position, but the line would not break. The area became known as the "Hornets Nest" because of the intensity of gunfire and grazing of bullets. Finally the Southern troops brought sixty-two artillery pieces to bear on the Hornets Nest, many at point-blank range. After holding the position for six hours, the Union forces surrendered. The next morning, the fresh Union forces attacked the tired and surprised Confederates, who believed they had won a great victory. By sheer weight of numbers the federals pushed them back. Resistance stiffened; as the day wore on, the Confederates pulled back and the next day withdrew to Corinth.
Civil War  Search this
Related event:
Civil War  Search this
Battle of Shiloh, 1862  Search this
Civil War and Reconstruction  Search this
Credit Line:
Hon. P. Tecumseh Sherman
ID Number:
Catalog number:
Accession number:
See more items in:
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
William Tecumseh Sherman
Price of Freedom
Exhibition Location:
National Museum of American History
Data Source:
National Museum of American History