Isaac Hull’s Dress Sword and Scabbard
This elaborate sword once belonged to Captain Isaac Hull, who commanded USS Constitution during the War of 1812. Typical of those worn by American Naval officers at the time, this style of sword is more a ceremonial mark of office rather than a practical fighting weapon. The sword was the physical embodiment of Hull’s honor as a gentleman and an officer in the United States Navy.
This sword has a relatively short blade length of 21 5/8-inches, though it was likely a handy length for shipboard wear. The elegant decoration of the sword speaks to its role as a symbol. The eagle pommel, cast in high relief, supports an engraved stirrup guard that terminates in a quillion (the crossguard) with a forward-inclined ball. Shield-shaped langets cast with an eagle clutching an anchor in a shield (the same device found on naval buttons of the period) flank the plain, double-edged blade’s ricasso. The ivory grip is wrapped with gilt wire. The original scabbard, now deteriorating, still retains its original throat locket and middle band of gilt brass, along with their suspension rings. The locket bears the inscription “Capt. I. Hull U.S.N.” on one side and a trophy of crossed flags, a shield, a drum, a spear and trumpet on the other.