FRENCH MODEL 1816
FOOT ARTILLERY SWORD
aka French Model 1816
Dismounted Artillery Sword
This is a scarce, if not rare, French Foot-Artillery Short-Sword from the period of 1816 to about 1832.
Manufactured at various French arsenals and are usually so marked. Arsenal information was lightly engraved on the blade so - over time - these markings have all but disappeared on many examples.
Neo-classical in design, based upon the Roman Gladius. Nicknamed coupe-choux, which roughly translates to "cabbage-cutter."
Overall length is ~25-1/8".
Hilt is ~6" in length and is constructed entirely of brass; grip is patterned with "scales" or "feathers" much as the American "Model 1832" Foot Artillery Sword but without the "Federal Eagle" on the pommel.
Double-edged, triple-fullered (two short, one long) blade is ~19-1/8" in length.
The French Model 1831 Foot Artillery Sword and the British Land Transport Corps Privates's Hanger Pattern 1855, and the Russian Pattern 1848 are very similar.
It has been suggested that the French Model 1816 and Model 1831 was used by the Confederacy during the American Civil War; without provenance, however, the rule of thumb is that, "for it to be Confederate, it must say "CS" or "CSA," be from one of the known "Southern" manufacturers, or be typical of what was produced in the South - based upon confirmed known examples - just prior to and during the Civil War."
There are quite a lot of French M1831 Foot Artillery Swords around (much less so the M1816 as they are quite scarce), so inspect these very closely for alterations and attempts to make them "Union" or "Confederate". The French were very good about profusely marking their weapons. Look for grinding marks in an attempt to remove these. On French swords, the ricasso is generally stamped with the mark of the Director, the Controller and the Reviser of the arsenal; this is especially true with swords manufactured at the Klingenthal arsenal in France. On trooper swords these marks are found on the guard as well. The British swords are also profusely marked although they can occasionally be found with no markings at all.