This magnificent Tiffany Sword is one of the best of its pattern ever discovered and is inscribed to Lieutenant Samuel P. Ferris, who served with the 8th United States Infantry during the Civil War. Any collector would have to search long and hard for one in similar condition. Cased in its original French-style form-fitted mahogany case lined in original blue velvet, the sword and duel scabbards are in near mint condition and includes accoutrements including sword knot, dress belt and sword hanger (missing it's original eagle belt plate). The sword, commonly known as an armorial hilt, shows a 32" blade with deeply etched panels of panoply of arms on one side and a large US with scrolling to the reverse and retains most of its gold gilt finish. In a panel on the blade is etched Tiffany & Co. New York, the reverse marked near the ricasso Collins & Co. Hartford Conn. and dated 1862. The grip is silver spiral with twisted silver wire wrapping. Roman torso with helmet on the pommel of gilt cast brass. Twisted and heavy silver wire guard blending to a gilt cast brass pieced to a relief decorated guard with a large medallion inserted with relief monogram "US". Large Lion head quillon. Scabbard is gilt brass and with relief engravings, solid silver bands that are deep relief engraved and solid silver carrying rings. In a banner near the throat of the scabbard is engraved "Tiffany & Co.". Large "US" deeply engraved in the silver drag. Inscription engraved between the top and middle band reads: Presented to/ LIEUT. SAMUEL P. FERRIS, 8th Regt. U.S Infty. for gallant services/ before PORT HUDSON,/as Colonel 28th, Connt., Regt. U.S. Vols./from friends at home/Stamford, Conn. 1863".
The second lacquered brown field service scabbard with gilt brass bands and deep relief engraved vines on the drag with U.S. on both sides. Ferris was a career regular officer who was twice breveted for gallantry during the Civil War with subsequent service during the 1876 Sioux campaign. Samuel Peter Ferris (1839-1882) graduated from the Military Academy in June 1861 and due to the war was immediately appointed as 2nd Lieutenant, 8th US Infantry. Posted to Washington, D.C., Ferris fought at First Bull Run in command of Company G, 3rd US Infantry. Ferris was appointed quartermaster and rejoined the 8th Infantry, posted to garrison duty at Ft. Hamilton, N.Y. and Ft. Columbia, NY when “he received leave of absence to organize a volunteer regiment.”
Lieutenant Ferris was commissioned Colonel of the nine-month 28th Connecticut in November 1862. The regiment was posted to the District of West Florida through May 1863 when it joined the 19th Corps, Department of the Gulf, for operations in Louisiana. Assigned to the 1st, Brigade, 3rd Division, Colonel Ferris commanded his regiment during the first forlorn attack on Port Hudson on May 27th. He assumed brigade command on June 3, 1863 by order of Brigadier General Paine, the divisional commander, and led the brigade during the grand assault of June 14th. He was present for the surrender of Port Hudson and earned a brevet promotion to captain for “gallant and meritorious service” on June 14, 1863. The nine-month 28th Connecticut mustered out of service at the end of August.1863. Upon returning to Stamford, the heroic Lieutenant received this ornate Tiffany presentation sword honoring his “Gallant services before Port Hudson…from friends at home.” Ferris rejoined the 8th US Infantry in September 1863 assigned to Ft. Columbus, NY and was engaged on prisoner escort duty and witnessed the New York City Draft Riots. In February 1864 he was appointed regimental quartermaster, a position he retained until August 1866. During the next year the lieutenant was engaged in mustering and disbursing duties in New York City, punctuated by two months in the field at the start of Grant’s Overland campaign cut short by sick leave that lasted through September 1864.
In late-September Lieutenant Ferris assumed command of a battalion of the 8th Infantry then in the trenches before Petersburg. In October, while engaged at the battle of Boydton Plank Road (aka Burgess Mill, aka First Hatcher’s Run)—where Hancock attempted to cut the critcal South Side Railroad supplying Richmond—Lieutenant Ferris earned his second brevet to Major for bravery on October 27, 1864. Shortly afterwards, the 8th Infantry was posted to Fort Baltimore in November 1864 and Lieutenant Ferris served there officially as regimental quartermaster through May 1866.
With the reorganization of the regular army, Ferris was promoted Captain on July 28, 1866 and posted to the newly designated 30th US Infantry. Records show that in December 1868 a letter was sent Secretary of War Schofield formally endorsing Captain Ferris’ promotion to brevet lieutenant colonel for services rendered during the war. Captain Ferris would spend most of the remainder of his life serving in isolated frontier posts during the Indian Wars. The captain was posted to Fort Sanders, Wyoming Territory in September 1869 and again in June 1873. In 1882, a comrade of Captain Ferris, a fellow officer who had served under him and shared in the hardships recalled, “Captain Ferris took part in several of the most trying campaigns against Indians, in which the exposure and privations, undergone by all alike, were almost beyond endurance. Of those winter campaigns the most notable was the Big Horn Expedition (March 76), the expedition to intercept the Cheyennes (December 78 to March 79), in which Captain Ferris commanded a battalion of the 5th Cavalry, and the expedition against the White Run Utes (Oct 79 to January 80)".
During General Crook’s Big Horn Expedition that commenced in March 1876, Captain Ferris was at Fort Fetterman, the main supply base and jumping off point for the nearly 900 officers and men that composed the Montana column commanded by Colonel J. J. Reynolds, 3rd US Cavalry. Two companies of Ferris’ 4th Infantry under Captain E.M. Coates’ accompanied the column as wagon guards. On March 17th the cavalry found and attacked a large village of Northern Cheyenne on the Powder River capturing and destroying a large quantity of “guns, ammunition, war supplies, and vast stores of food, confirming military fears that Crazy Horse planned to go on the warpath.” The initial assault at troop strength was unsupported allowing most of the Indians to escape. Although “800 ponies” were part of the booty, “the Indians soon recaptured them during a snowstorm early the next morning.” The expedition was largely unsuccessful and would cost Colonel Reynolds his career. The negligent officer was court-martialed and found guilty of “dereliction of duty” and forced to retire. Captain Ferris is a footnote in the 1961 book entitled, The Reynolds Campaign on the Powder River by J.W. Vaughn, mentioned on p.155 in a description welcoming the returning column to Fort Fetterman.
Captain Ferris remained at Fort Fetterman for the duration of the Great Sioux War until January 1, 1877 when he was posted to Fort McKinney, Wyoming Territory. He then went on ordinary leave from July 1878 to December 1878. Upon returning to duty in January 1879 he commanded a company at Fort D.A. Russell, Wyoming until October 1879. Early in this assignment he took command of a battalion of the 5th US Cavalry “in pursuit of hostile Indians” in the field in March 1879. The captain returned to the field for the Ute Expedition in November 1879 that took him to Camp White River, Colorado Territory in January 1880. Captain Ferris returned to duty at Fort Russell, Wyoming in late October 1881. While at Fort Russell he took sick and was confined to the hospital under the care of the post’s assistant surgeon. Captain Samuel D. Ferris was just 43 years old when he died of “acute gastritis” on February 4, 1882. The career soldier twice breveted for gallantry during the Civil War had served his country for nearly 21 years, 14 on the frontier. Captain Ferris’ obituary appeared in the February 5, 1882 New York Times and he was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Stamford.
Accompanying the magnificent sword are Captain Ferris’ complete military and pension records from the National Archives. At least two photographs of Ferris in uniform are known to exist and photocopies of both are included along with some basic genealogical information. The sword and scabbard were cleaned of tarnish and staining in the year 2000 and the case had a small repair to its wood veneer at the same time. No restoration of the sword was done other than its cleaning and this is included in a "Treatment Report" complete with summary and color photographs as part of its file. This cased set is museum quality and would be hard to improve upon.