What happens when your strength of character, bravery and actions under the most severe battle conditions save your division from losing a major battle in the Civil War? You get presented a very fine and rare sword from 15 officers from the very regiments whose collective asses you saved. The Battle of Stones River, which was fought near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, occurred in late December of 1862 and lasted through January 2, 1863. The Confederate forces took the Union Army by such surprise here that only one division in the Army of the Cumberland, the third division under General Phil Sheridan, was alert and prepared to fight. The Confederates, headed by troops from Alabama and South Carolina, rushed out of the woods towards Sheridan’s position, only to be met with artillery fire and small arms volleys from the Yankees. However, the defense did not hold and soon the borders of Sheridan’s defense began to collapse. Only his brigade of men from Illinois and Missouri stood strong. Positioned by Sheridan to man key elevations overlooking the battlefield at Stone's River, Houghtaling was ordered to hold his position and rake the enemy with shot and shell at all costs. This he did for what must have seemed endless hours of non-stop action. Throughout the battle Houghtaling raked the Confederate lines with death and destruction, repulsing attack after attack at what has forever since been called "THE SLAUGHTER PEN". With every one of his horses killed, nearly half his men killed or wounded and completely out of ammunition the Confederates were finally able to over-run his position with Houghtalings men defending their ground with everything they had, turning from guns to knives to bare knuckles and even removing their cleaning rods from their muskets and whipping the boys in gray. As they abandoned their guns the retreating men of his command dragged Houghtaling's wounded body down the rocky slopes leaving a trail of his blood the entire length of retreat. Many or most of Houghtalings fellow officers were killed or wounded as were all 3 brigade commanders. Houghtaling was promoted to Major soon thereafter and went on to participate in the Atlanta campaigns to be wounded again at Kennesaw. He was then promoted to Colonel in August of '64 and finally Bvt. Brigadier General for services during the war. His sword is a presentation-grade Sauerbier with fantastic gold-washed scabbard that is florally engraved its full length. It is in excellent to near mint condition as are the other items in the grouping. The coat is a beauty. These items came directly from Houghtalings family to a collector who brought it to the Las Vegas show in the winter of 2008 during the economic scare. One of my contacts bought it for me on the spot and it has remained in my collection to date. The sword alone is worth 17 - 18K, check out the presentation in the second set of photos. It doesn't get much better than this. Great sword, great coat, great history. A letter of authenticity and features from famed sword author John Thillmann comes with this group. See additional photos below for close-ups of this magnificent sword.