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

don't miss

an opportunity to bid. You can't win if you're not in.

sign up to bid

what's it worth?

ask the experts

sell your item

start selling
Unmounted CDV of Major General Samuel S. Carroll,
Lot # 1110 - Unmounted CDV of Major General Samuel S. Carroll,
by Brady showing Carroll with his arm in a sling. A regular officer appointed Colonel of the 8th Ohio, Carroll assumed brigade command in 1862 but did not get his first star until May 1864. At Gettysburg, he led a mixed brigade in Alexander Hay's Division, 2nd Corps, and earned a brevet to Lt. Colo... > Item Details
Admiral Wheeler Pressed Oak Welch Shelf Clock,
Lot # 525 - Admiral Wheeler Pressed Oak Welch Shelf Clock,
with key wind 8-day time and strike, spring driven brass movement with alarm, printed paper dial with Roman numerals, unmarked, pressed oak case with shoulder length uniformed portrait of Wheeler in civilian dress with laurel wreath surround, flanked by scroll work, sides flags and arms, and base wi... > Item Details
Autographed(?) Photograph of Sitting Bull,
Lot # 827 - Autographed(?) Photograph of Sitting Bull,
3.3" x 5.4" mounted & trimmed to this size, with ms. Sitting Bull and partially obliterated copyright notice. Perhaps by D.F. Barry, ca 1885. Sitting Bull (1834-1890; Hunkpapa Sioux) is known to have sold autographs and photos. He wears a monarch butterfly (said to be one of his medicines) on hi... > Item Details
Ninth Plate Ambrotype of Confederate Boy,
Lot # 1371 - Ninth Plate Ambrotype of Confederate Boy,
unidentified, wearing typical early stylized battle shirt in a clear checkered material and large secession cockade made of ribbon. The details of the badge are vague and cannot be associated with a particular state. A military kepi completes the ad-hoc uniform. This iconic type of image is, perforc... > Item Details
M1880 Enlisted Cork Summer Helmet,
Lot # 473 - M1880 Enlisted Cork Summer Helmet,
a solid, intact example with no dents or cracks, but missing the original chinstrap. Khaki cloth cover has some light age stains. Complete with screw-in ventilator cap and sweatband. A reproduction white patent leather chinstrap has been added. > Item Details
Jenks Carbine AKA <i>Mule Ear,</i>
Lot # 137 - Jenks Carbine AKA Mule Ear,
54 caliber, complete with tape primer, no serial number. This is one of the rarest Jenks Carbines made. > Item Details
C.W. Carter Cabinet Card of Cheyenne Tipi Camp,
Lot # 929 - C.W. Carter Cabinet Card of Cheyenne Tipi Camp,
with imprint verso, showing studio location of #3 & 4, Third South Street, Cor. Main, Salt Lake City, Utah; ca 1879-80. This Southern Cheyenne encampment includes a tipi with a painted cover. > Item Details
13-Star American National Flag
Lot # 344 - 13-Star American National Flag
13 single-appliqu├ęd hand-sewn cotton muslin stars are configured in the 3rd Maryland pattern with a larger central star on a 2-piece canton. Canton and stripes are hand-sewn wool bunting. Canvas sleeve has 2 large whipped stitch grommets and stenciled on its reverse is BABBITT POST GAR. Comes with c... > Item Details
Fine CDV of a Photographer,
Lot # 1548 - Fine CDV of a Photographer,
anonymous albumen image of an unidentified photographer/colorist seat with his camera, artist pallet and brushes on table to right, floral patterned rug tinted red. > Item Details
Quarter Plate Ambrotype of a Regal Dalmatian Dog,
Lot # 1508 - Quarter Plate Ambrotype of a Regal Dalmatian Dog,
anonymous reclining with head erect on printed rug with bare wall in background, housed in embossed floral scrollwork paper covered wooden case. > Item Details
CDV-Sized Albumen of Generals Burnside & Mansfield,
Lot # 1225 - CDV-Sized Albumen of Generals Burnside & Mansfield,
both mounted on thin 5" x 7" paper, in turn, glued to to another 7.5" x 11.25" sheet of paper stock, each defined by hand-drawn lined borders in brown ink. We have not seen this particular presentation before and the context is unknown to us. Explanatory notes of each General's service penciled on v... > Item Details
Richard Throssel Photograph of Mounted Crow Indians,
Lot # 919 - Richard Throssel Photograph of Mounted Crow Indians,
warm-toned 10 x 13" silver gelatin photograph, in original 13 x 16" frame. Signed in negative, lower right with a negative number and Throssel's 1908 copyright. Though not titled here, this image is illustrated as Figure 9 in Albright's recent book on Throssel's work where it is titled "The Advanc... > Item Details
Seven  CDVs of Union Officers & Enlisted Men,
Lot # 1296 - Seven CDVs of Union Officers & Enlisted Men,
includes anonymous image of B.J. Wilson Co. B, 83rd Reg. Ind. Vol., identified on rear in period pencil, seated portrait of Benjamin in kepi with bugle emblem, frock coat with corporal stripes. The 83rd was involved in the December campaign against Vicksburg, being actively engaged in the assault ... > Item Details
Lot of Seven CDVs of Civil War Union Generals,
Lot # 1231 - Lot of Seven CDVs of Civil War Union Generals,
includes Grant (no backmark), Sherman (in original glass and paper frame with backmark of Golden & Sammons, Chicago, 3.65" x 5"), Meade, Shaler, Kilpatrick, Talbot and Sedgwick (4 with retailer's label of J.W. Everett & Co. N.Y. pasted on rear). > Item Details
<i>Boots and Saddles</i> with Three Page Libbie Custer ALS,
Lot # 771 - Boots and Saddles with Three Page Libbie Custer ALS,
8vo, with embossed cloth boards. New York. 1885. Harper Brothers, with a tipped in 3pp ALS from the author to the editor of the Independent, on her black-ruled mourning stationary, dated May 22.After Custer's death on the Little Big Horn in 1876, his wife, Elizabeth "Libbie" Bacon Custer spent th... > Item Details
Campaign Ribbon Group,
Lot # 1680 - Campaign Ribbon Group,
lovely 1880 Garfield & Arthur aquamarine ribbon, a few minor spots, enhanced by bright blue piping at edges. 3 x 6" overall, trimmed close at top, a bold design. Together a "Plumed Knight" pair from both his campaigns, 1884 and 1888. A handsome 8 x 3" silk from Blaine's tour of the Northeast, this ... > Item Details
Civil War Artillery Water Bucket for Sponge,
Lot # 154 - Civil War Artillery Water Bucket for Sponge,
a heavy cast iron 8" wide cylinder with separately applied iron top and bottom pieces riveted in place, complete with original folding cast iron handle and mechanism that connects to bottom of gun carriage axle. Twist-and-turn top is secured with link of chain with underside made of wood allowing i... > Item Details
Civil War Presentation Sword of <i>Captain W. Stouffer</i>, 92nd Illinois
Lot # 298 - Civil War Presentation Sword of Captain W. Stouffer, 92nd Illinois
M1850 foot officer's sword manufactured by Horstmann, with leather scabbard, the top carrying band engraved: Presented to Captain Wm Stouffer Co. C 92nd Ill. Vols. By His Company Septe. 27, 1862.Stouffer enlisted as a Captain in Company C of the 92nd on September 4, 1862; this sword commemorates tha... > Item Details
Admiral Black's Presentation M1852 Naval Sword, Plus,
Lot # 624 - Admiral Black's Presentation M1852 Naval Sword, Plus,
ca 1910 with 30.5" single-edged blade with false edge and 3/4-length fuller, acid etched with scrollwork and nautical motifs with right side with Richard Blackburn Black etched in fuller; cast gilt brass quillon/ knuckle bow with pierced oak leaves and acorns and USN, bow with dolphin terminal and s... > Item Details
Three 19th Century Shot Pouches/Flasks,
Lot # 12 - Three 19th Century Shot Pouches/Flasks,
with Civil War period glass whisky flask. Lot of 4. Copper flask may be contemporary English reproduction. > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: