Lot 808    

Edward S. Godfrey's 7th Cavalry Presentation Sword,
2005, Historic Americana / Nov 16, 17 & 18
Model 1872 Officer's Grade II Presentation sword made by Pettibone and Brothers of Cincinnati. Complete with original chamois leather protective case. Nickel-plated blade with martial acid-etched engravings, and presentation inscription etched in a blued panel with gilt lettering Presented to Major E.S. Godfrey USA, By members of H Troop 7th U.S. Cavalry Dec. 18, '96. On the opposite side of the blade is another blued panel featuring an acid-etched gilded spread-winged eagle. The grip is a white shagreen wrapped with a gold bullion wire, and pommel and knuckle bow of gilded brass. Scabbard of nickel, with carrying rings and the fittings of gilded brass featuring martial motifs and an engraved spread-winged eagle.

The military career of Edward Settle Godfrey (1843-1932) spanned nearly his entire adult life, and involved his participation in each of the major wars of the last half of the 19th century. He served as a private in Co. D of the 21st Ohio Volunteer infantry during the early part of the Civil War. Entering West Point during the war, he graduated in 1867 and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 7th Cavalry. He served throughout the Indian Wars, commanding Co. K of the 7th at the battle of the Little Bighorn. He survived the "hilltop" fight with Reno, and the following summer was involved in the campaign against Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce and later received the Medal of Honor for his actions at the battle of Bear Paw Mountain. With the outbreak of the Spanish American War he served in Cuba and in the Phillipines during the insurrection there. He was retired by operation of law in 1907.

Godfrey will perhaps be most remembered for his actions at Little Bighorn. Attached with Benteen's scouting party consisting of companies D, H and K, Godfrey arrived on the hilltop above the valley of the Little Bighorn to find a fluid situation, with Reno's men having arrived from the valley floor confused and panic-stricken. The main body of Custer's command was now under attack several miles away. Later in the afternoon, Reno attempted to join forces with Custer. Unknown to Reno, Custer and his portion of the command were now killed to the last man. Now the Indians turned their attention to Reno. Godfrey and company K were in the lead, with the majority of the command in the rear. As the attack came, Godfrey executed a textbook falling-back movement that not only saved the men in his company, but likely kept Benteen and Reno's command from being overrun. For the next day and a half, Godfrey dug in, along with the remaining members of the 7th, and ultimately survived.

After the Little Bighorn, Godfrey was severely wounded at the battle of Bear Paw Mountain. Despite his wound he continued to command, and was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Godfrey served with the 7th for nearly 30 years before being promoted to Major and being transferred to the 1st U.S. Cavalry on December 8, 1896. This sword, given to him a week later, almost certainly commemorates this momentous event in his career. Oddly, he was transferred back to the 7th a year later, serving three years here and then successively until his retirement with the 12th and 9th cavalry.

In a letter sent from Fort Apache, Arizona Territory, on December 15, 1896, addressed only to "Colonel", Godfrey writes of the occasion when he received this sword:

...I had quite a surprise party myself Friday afternoon. The door bell rang and I went out, saw Sergt Lehman and some men and I thought to myself well I wonder what's the trouble now, as I supposed that some order had been issued for a detail to go out! However they all looked happy and smiling and to my astonishment Segt. Lehman began a formal sort of speech and winded up by handing me a beautiful, gold mounted saber with resolutions...Of course, I could not refuse, so I made a short speech of acceptance and the next morning at inspection gave them a more extended talk. I have always been opposed to presents from those under or over in (me) in the service and had I known of their intentions would have stopped them.
Descended directly in the Godfrey family, and consigned by his great-grand-daughter. With a copy of the letter, now in private hands.


Condition:  
All of the brass fittings show most of the gilt. Missing just a faint hint on some of the sharp edges. The blade is mint; just new! The scabbard has ca 98% of the nickel finish. The knuckle-guard shows only faint wear around the sharp edges. This sword was only used in formal dress events. Mint overall look.
Sold: $72,900.00
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
      Ask a Question

All Images

Set of Five Polychrome Decorated Spanish American War Plates,
Fine Colorado Photograph Album,
Lot # 1023 - Fine Colorado Photograph Album,
includes thirty-one ca 4.25" x 7.25" images by Hook Photo. Titles include Colorado Springs; Pikes Peak from Bijou St.; Grave of Mrs. Jackson; Seven Falls; Pillars of Hercules; Phantom Falls; Gateway Garden of the Gods; Cathedral Spires; Manitou; Williams Canyon; Green Mountain Falls; Georgetown; Ida... > Item Details
Group of Original Photographs of Amelia Earhart at Pensacola,
Lot # 1768 - Group of Original Photographs of Amelia Earhart at Pensacola,
lot of 4, all silver prints taken by an unknown armature photographer, includes one 3.75" x 4.5" of Earhart looking out of the cockpit window of her Lockheed 5B Vega, PLUS a second view of her Lockheed 5B Vega on the landing field at Pensacola, AND two other 2.5" x 3.5" photographs of other aircraft... > Item Details
Victorian Photo Album with CDVs of Mt. Vernon, Ohio and More,
Lot # 1544 - Victorian Photo Album with CDVs of Mt. Vernon, Ohio and More,
fine brown embossed scrollwork 4to album with gilt edges and brass clasp having watered silk endpapers and 25 pp of cdv cards with 4 to each page and 16 pp of cabinet cards. Cdvs include 10 different albumen views of buildings around Mt. Vernon, Ohio, some with backmark of Lewis Mt. Vernon, O.. The ... > Item Details
Lot of Two WWI Field Glasses,
Lot # 229 - Lot of Two WWI Field Glasses,
both pairs having French-made optics, leather wrapped with case and shoulder straps. > Item Details
D.F. Barry Photograph of Spot Where Sitting Bull Prayed,
Lot # 829 - D.F. Barry Photograph of Spot Where Sitting Bull Prayed,
7 7/8? x 9 ?? print on 8? x 10? mount with Barry imprint verso carrying studio addresses of Bismarck and Standing Rock, Dakota Territory. An X on the print marks the spot where Sitting Bull prayed on the hill by the Grand River, the night before he was killed Jan. 14, 1890. > Item Details
W.H. Taft  Autographed Charicature,
Lot # 1719 - W.H. Taft Autographed Charicature,
pen and ink drawing by Rosenberg a cartoonist for the Cincinnati Post with Taft's signature in pencil lower right and presentation inscription in ink lower left To my friend/Judge Walker Ryan/with all best wishes/Rosie Cin. Post/June 1929, 8" x 10" in period frame, 8.75" x 10.75" > Item Details
Lot of 3 Later Printed GAR Parade Flags,
Lot # 320 - Lot of 3 Later Printed GAR Parade Flags,
includes a 48-star parade flag with black lettered G.A.R. on fly, cotton, 11" x 16", mounted on original wood dowel, 33.5" long; PLUS another 48-star parade flag with larger black lettered G.A.R. on fly, cotton, 11" x 16", mounted on original wood dowel, 32" long; AND a glazed cotton pennant with wh... > Item Details
D.F. Barry Cabinet Card of  Capt. F.W. Benteen,
Lot # 743 - D.F. Barry Cabinet Card of Capt. F.W. Benteen,
with studio imprint of Barry?s Bismarck, Dak. studio, ca. 1880s. Benteen (1834-1898), commander of Company H, 7th cavalry at the Little Big Horn, was criticized for his slow travel and decision to join Reno instead of aiding Custer. Later brevetted Brigadier General, he was also suspended for drunk... > Item Details
Brady Stereoview of Dead at Antietam,
Lot # 1317 - Brady Stereoview of Dead at Antietam,
buff square-cornered mount, with Gardner's 1862 copyright with applied paper label on verso Brady's Album Gallery. No. 553. DITCH ON RIGHT WING, where a large number of Rebels were killed at the Battle of Antietam. > Item Details
Eight Different Admiral Dewey Busts,
Lot # 1781 - Eight Different Admiral Dewey Busts,
includes a white painted plaster example, 9" high; PLUD white medal with bronze painted finish, 7" high; PLUS white metal on plinth, 6.25" high; PLUS second white metal on plinth 5" high; PLUS pewter with black finish, 4.5" high, PLUS white metal bust on match box, 3.75" high; AND 2 glass busts, on ... > Item Details
A Most Unflattering William J. Bryan Bank,
Lot # 1672 - A Most Unflattering William J. Bryan Bank,
a 5" high polychrome hand painted figural image of Wm. J. Bryan with slot in back for coins. Figure is in squatting position with his pants down and graphic depiction of Bryan defecating! > Item Details
Sixth Plate Tintype of 44th New York Zouave,
Lot # 1401 - Sixth Plate Tintype of 44th New York Zouave,
unidentified private seated on a box in front of a painted backdrop, probably taken in a field studio. This member of the famous "People's Ellsworth Regiment" wears light trousers and the distinctive Zouave jacket of the 44th New York, with single loops on the cuff and shoulders and ball buttons dow... > Item Details
Winchester Model 1873 Musket,
38-Star American National Flag,
Lot # 355 - 38-Star American National Flag,
38 double-appliquéd machine-sewn stars are configured in 3 lines of stars waving across the center canton all surrounded by a rectangle of stars. Unique star configuration likely created for the flag maker's own use. Canton and stripes are machine-sewn cotton. Cotton sleeve has 11 attached rings. Co... > Item Details
Sixth Plate Tintype of NY Private with Saber Bayonet,
Lot # 1391 - Sixth Plate Tintype of NY Private with Saber Bayonet,
unidentified, studio pose of young soldier wearing nine-button 2nd pattern New York jacket with infantry accoutrements and M1855 brass saber bayonet attached to short rifle. Large company letter “L” on kepi would indicate the 3rd Battalion of a Heavy Artillery Regiment. The “heavies” garrisoned t... > Item Details
Late 19th Century British Lion Head Sword,
Lot # 117 - Late 19th Century British Lion Head Sword,
Bone handle, brass lion head with cupped hilt, etched blade, complete with Royal British Naval logo. Lacking Scabbard. Overall length 35". > Item Details
W.H. Jackson Stereoviews of Colorado Miners,
Lot # 939 - W.H. Jackson Stereoviews of Colorado Miners,
lot of 17 cabinet-sized views on his cream-colored Larimer Street stock. A fine series, including three showing his mules loaded, or in the process of being loaded, with his camera equipment; bird's-eye views of Black Hawk, Silver Plume, Idaho Springs, Central City and Georgetown; close view of bar... > Item Details
W.O. Taylor, Little Bighorn Survivor, ALS,
Lot # 769 - W.O. Taylor, Little Bighorn Survivor, ALS,
4pp, Orange, Massachusetts, March 14, 1922 from Taylor to Colonel Alfred Burton Welch of Mandan, North Dakota. William O. Taylor was a private in Company A of the 7th and was with Reno in the valley and the hilltop fight. He survived to tell his tale. In this letter, apparently responding the ques... > Item Details
ID'd Cowboy Tintype,
Lot # 958 - ID'd Cowboy Tintype,
cdv-sized with two young men in cowboy dress with holstered hand guns at hips, penciled identification on rear Charlie Belmet & Henry Meyer. We could find no information on these two. > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: