This is one of twelve gold-mounted swords awarded by the State of New York to heroes of the War of 1812. Commissioned from the New York City silversmith and die-cutter John Targee, the swords cost about $450 each, a significant amount at the time. Of Neoclassical inspiration, the hilt includes an eagle-head pommel (referring to the national emblem) and a figure of Hercules and the Nemean Lion on the counterguard. The sword was awarded to Samuel Chester Reid (1773–1861), captain of the private brig General Armstrong, for his heroic actions in holding off the British fleet at Fayal, in the Azores, on September 26–27, 1814.
Belote, Theodore T. American and European swords : in the historical collections of the United States National Museum,U.S. National Museum Bulletin (1932). no. 4, pl. 6.
Hamilton, John D. The Indian princess and the neoclassic sword, in Man at Arms 6 (1984). p. 42.
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 No: 57 (1987). pp. 3–11.
Ensko, G.C. American Silversmiths and Their Marks IV. 5th ed. Boston, 1989. p.128 and p.199 in the 4th edition.