Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Presentation Sword and Scabbard of Brigadier General Daniel Davis (1777–1814) of the New York Militia

John Targee (American, ca. 1774–1850)
ca. 1815–17
New York, New York
American, New York
Steel, gold, silver
L. 37 1/4 in. (94.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Francis P. Garvan, 1922
Accession Number:
22.19a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 372
Following the War of 1812, the State of New York awarded twelve swords to military officers who commanded troops within its borders. This example was presented posthumously to Brigadier General Daniel Davis (1777–1814) of the New York Militia, who died during an engagement at Fort Erie on September 17, 1814.

The sword's design reflects the classical inspiration of the Federal period. The hilt, with its downturned shell, is based on French Empire models. The image of Hercules and the Nemean Lion, emblematic of strength and courage, is probably copied from an English engraving after a Classical gem or cameo. The eagle-headed pommel, on the other hand, is typically American, as is the style of engraving on the scabbard, illustrating the battle.
Inscription: inscribed on the scabbard: As a testimonial of the high sense entertained of the services and gallantry of Brigadier General Daniel Davis, particularly in the Sortie at Erie where he fell leading his fellow Citizens to victory, this Sword is presented by his Excellency Daniel D. Tompkins Governor of the State of New York pursuant to Resolutions of the Senate and Assembly of the said State to Alfred Davis, his eldest Male heir; engraved on plate: Brigadier General Daniel Davis, New York Militia; inscribed on the side-plate of the grip: Palomor(?) & Hinsdiali(?)

Marking: marked in rectangle on blade: I T
Ex. coll.: Alfred Davis, New York, from 1815; Francis P. Garvan, New York.
Hamilton, John D. A Roland for an Oliver, Swords awarded by the State of New York during the War of 1812, in Bulletin of the American Society of Arms Collectors no:57, 57, pp. 3–11.

Belote, Theodore T. American and European swords : in the historical collections of the United States National Museum,U.S. National Museum Bulletin (1932). pp. 30–31, no. 4, pl. 6 similar swords of this type ill.

Peterson, Harold L. The American Sword 1775-1945. 1st. ed. New Hope, PA, 1954. pp. 193–195, no. 160.

Hamilton, John D. The Indian princess and the neoclassic sword, in Man at Arms 6 (1984). p. 42.

Ensko, G.C. American Silversmiths and Their Marks IV. 5th ed. Boston, 1989. pp. 128 and 199.

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