Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Sword and Scabbard of Captain Samuel Chester Reid (1773–1861)

John Targee (American, ca. 1774–1850)
New York, New York
American, New York
Gold, brass, steel
L. of scabbard 36 3/4 in. (93.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Ida Chester Reid Blair, granddaughter of Samuel Chester Reid, 1923
Accession Number:
23.100a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 372
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." United States National Museum Bulletin 163 (1932). no. 4, pl. 6.

Ensko, Stephen Guernsey Cook. American Silversmiths and Their Marks. Vol. 3. New York: privately printed, 1948. p.128 and p.199 in the 4th edition.

Hamilton, John D. "Man at Arms for the Gun and Sword Collector." The Indian Princess and the Neoclassic Sword 6 (July–August 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.

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