On Thursday, December 8, the museum will close at 3:30 p.m. due to a special event; Spark!Lab and Wonderplace will close at 3 p.m.

Sword Voted to Ulysses S. Grant at the Metropolitan Fair

Sword Voted to Ulysses S. Grant at the Metropolitan Fair

<< >>
Description (Brief)
Presented to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant by the United States Sanitary Commission Metropolitan Fair in New York, New York on April 23, 1864.
This sword was voted to Ulysses S. Grant at the Metropolitan Fair in aid of the United States Sanitary Commission in New York, New York on April 23, 1864. The United States Sanitary Commission was a private relief organization that supported army hospitals and sick and wounded soldiers during the Civil War. The voting at the Metropolitan Fair became a real contest between Grant and George B. McClellan who was politically connected and very popular in New York. The newspapers covered it as extensively as any election or military battle.
This design of this sword is similar to presentation swords of the War of 1812 era. The blade is wide, heavy, and straight with beveled edges. The obverse of the blade features a knight, a trophy, and a floral scroll design in silver chasing on a gold background. The reverse is similarly decorated with the figure of a youthful United States Infantry officer, supporting floral and scroll designs. The silver mounted grip is decorated on the obverse with the head a classical Greek soldier surrounded by military trophies; the reverse is decorated with a figure of Nike. The pommel is a bust of Athena. The lower portion of it is set with rubies and diamonds and a sapphire in the center. The knuckle guard consists of a heavy gilt strip, decorated with a medallion bearing the head of Medusa and terminating above the blade in a quillon in the shape of a ram's head. The counterguard is formed of a large oval shield bearing the figure of Hercules slaying the Nemean lion.
The scabbard is decorated with three mounts, two of which bear oak-leaf designs and a laurel spray on the drag. It bears two inscriptions, “PRESENTED TO / Lient. Gen! U.S. Grant. / by his friends through the / METROPOLITAN FAIR, in aid of the / UNITED STATES SANITARY COMMISSION. / New York. April 23.d 1864.” Also, “"UPON YOUR SWORD SITS LAUREL'D VICTORY". The scabbard has three carrying rings; two positioned on either side at the top, and one at the middle
Currently not on view
Object Name
Other Terms
Edged Weapons; Presentation
date made
ca 1864
associated date
President Ulysses S. Grant
United States Sanitary Commission
Tiffany & Co.
place made for blade
United States: Connecticut, Hartford
place made
United States: New York, New York
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
metal, gilt (scabbard material)
steel (blade material)
metal (hilt material)
overall: 38 1/2 in x 5 in; 97.79 cm x 12.7 cm
scabbard: 32 in x 2 1/2 in; 81.28 cm x 6.35 cm
blade: 30 3/4 in x 1 in; 78.105 cm x 2.54 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Julia Dent Grant and William H. Vanderbilt
Edged Weapons
Civil War
Civil War
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
Civil War Presentation Swords
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.