The Museum's superb military collections document the history of the men and women of the armed forces of the United States. The collections include ordnance, firearms, and swords; uniforms and insignia; national and military flags and banners; and many other objects.
The strength of the collections lies in their enormous depth. Some 3,000 military small arms and 2,400 civilian firearms document the mechanical and technological history of the infantryman's weapons from the beginning of the gunpowder era to the present. Among the 4,000 swords and knives in the collection are many spectacular presentation pieces. The collections also include Civil War era telegraph equipment, home front artifacts from both world wars, early computers such as ENIAC, Whirlwind, and Sage, and materials carried at antiwar demonstrations.
"Military - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Physical Description
- Hanger-type sword of forged steel with grooved blade. Grip of green-dyed ivory with silver strip decoration. Leather scabbard with silver trim.
- Specific History
- George Washington wore this simple hanger as his battle sword while serving as commander of the Continental army during the Revolutionary War. Made in Fishkill, New York, by John Bailey, an immigrant cutler from Sheffield, England, the sword has a slightly curved, grooved steel blade, silver-mounted cross guard and pommel, and a green ivory grip.
- The sword was inherited by Washington’s nephew, Samuel T. Washington, an army captain. In his will, Washington admonished his nephew to draw the sword only "in self-defense or in the defense of [the] country and its rights.” Samuel's son donated the sword to the United States government in 1843.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- ca 1765
- date made
- ca 1778
- associated person
- Washington, George
- Bailey, John
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center