32" blade with slight curve and large fuller, deeply etched panels of panoply of arms on the counter side a large US, with gilt down in the etching. In a panel on the blade is etched Tiffany & Co. New York, the reverse marked near the ricasso Collins & Co. Hartford Ct and dated 1862. Silver spiral handle with twisted silver wire wrapping. Roman torso with Roman helmet pommel of gilt cast brass. Twisted heavy solid silver wire guard blending to a gilt cast brass pieced relief decorated guard with a large medallion inserted with relief monogram "US". Large Lion head quillon. Scabbard is gilt brass and deep relief engravings, solid silver bands that are deep relief engraved and solid silver carrying rings. In a banner is engraved Tiffany & Co. and a large Roman-style "M" near the throat. Large "US" deeply engraved in the silver drag. Inscription engraved between the top and middle band: Presented to/ LIEUT. SAMUEL P. FERRIS,/ 8th Regt. U.S Infty for gallant services/ before PORT HUDSON,/as Colonel 28th, Connt., Regt. U.S. Vols./from friends at home/Stamford, Conn. 1863.
Complete with second lacquered brown field service scabbard with gilt brass bands and deep relief engraved vines on the drag with U.S. on both sides. Cased in a beautiful French-style form-fitted mahogany case lined in original blue velvet. In the small universe of cased Tiffany swords, a rare extra fancy specimen made with two scabbards and accoutrements including sword knot, dress belt and sword hanger. Missing the rectangular eagle plate.
An exquisite, fresh to the market cased Tiffany presentation sword given to a career regular officer who was twice breveted for gallantry during the Civil War with subsequent service during the 1876 Sioux campaign.
A native of Stamford, Connecticut Samuel Peter Ferris (1839-1882) graduated from the Military Academy in June 1861 and due to the war was immediately appointed as 2nd Lieutenant, 8th US Infantry. Posted to Washington, D.C., Ferris was employed as a drillmaster and fought at First Bull Run in command of Company G, 3rd US Infantry. The newly minted officer took time to marry the former Fannie H. Smith (1842-1927) in her hometown of Haverstraw, New York on December 26, 1861. Subsequently, Ferris was appointed quartermaster and rejoined the 8th Infantry, posted to garrison duty at Ft. Hamilton, N.Y. and Ft. Columbia, NY when “he received leave of absence to organize a volunteer regiment.”
Lieutenant Ferris was commissioned Colonel of the nine-month 28th Connecticut in November 1862. The regiment was posted to the District of West Florida through May 1863 when it joined the 19th Corps, Department of the Gulf, for operations in Louisiana. Assigned to the 1st, Brigade, 3rd Division, Colonel Ferris commanded his regiment during the first forlorn attack on Port Hudson on May 27th. He assumed brigade command on June 3, 1863 by order of Brigadier General Paine, the divisional commander, and led the brigade during the grand assault of June 14th. He was present for the surrender of Port Hudson and earned a brevet promotion to captain for “gallant and meritorious service” on June 14, 1863.
Shortly afterwards, Colonel Ferris reported sick and was confined to hospital at New Orleans. The nine-month 28th Connecticut mustered out of service at the end of August.1863 and Ferris reverted to regular 1st Lieutenant. Upon returning to Stamford, the heroic Lieutenant received this ornate Tiffany presentation sword honoring his “Gallant services before Port Hudson…from friends at home.” As would be expected of an expensive Tiffany presentation, the sword was hardly, if ever, carried as reflected by its superb condition. Ferris rejoined the 8th US Infantry in September 1863 assigned to Ft. Columbus, NY and was engaged on prisoner escort duty and witnessed the New York City Draft Riots. In February 1864 he was appointed regimental quartermaster, a position he retained until August 1866. During the next year the lieutenant was engaged in mustering and disbursing duties in New York City, punctuated by two months in the field at the start of Grant’s Overland campaign cut short by sick leave that lasted through September 1864.
In late-September Lieutenant Ferris assumed command of a battalion of the 8th Infantry then in the trenches before Petersburg. Concurrently, he was appointed Provost Marshall of the 9th Corps holding that staff position until October 9. Later in the month while engaged at the battle of Boydton Plank Road (aka Burgess Mill, aka First Hatcher’s Run)—where Hancock attempted to cut the critcal South Side Railroad supplying Richmond—Lieutenant Ferris earned his second brevet to Major for bravery on October 27, 1864. Shortly afterwards, the 8th Infantry was posted to Fort Baltimore in November 1864 and Lieutenant Ferris served there officially as regimental quartermaster through May 1866.
With the reorganization of the regular army, Ferris was finally promoted Captain on July 28, 1866 and posted to the newly designated 30th US Infantry. Captain Ferris was with the short-lived regiment only intermittently over the next year and a half alternating between much deserved leave and necessary recruiting duty in New York City. Records show that in December 1868 a letter was sent Secretary of War Schofield formally endorsing Captain Ferris’ promotion to brevet lieutenant colonel for services rendered during the war. The army chose not to act on the nomination and the matter was closed. The 30th Infantry was consolidated with the 4th Infantry by Act of Congress in March 1869 and Captain Ferris transferred the same month.
Captain Ferris would spend most of the remainder of his life serving in isolated frontier posts during the Indian Wars. The captain was posted to Fort Sanders, Wyoming Territory in September 1869 and again in June 1873 enduring numbing monotony under austere conditions that only a wellspring of military discipline and routine could partially mitigate. The captain was increasingly plagued by poor health aggravated by the “very rigorous climate” of the Great Plains spending nearly ten months on sick leave from June 1874 to April 1875. In 1882, a comrade of Captain Ferris, a fellow officer who had served under him and shared in the hardships recalled, “Captain Ferris took part in several of the most trying campaigns against Indians, in which the exposure and privations, undergone by all alike, were almost beyond endurance. Of those winter campaigns the most notable was the Big Horn Expedition (March 76), the expedition to intercept the Cheyennes (December 78 to March 79), in which Captain Ferris commanded a battalion of the 5th Cavalry, and the expedition against the White Run Utes (Oct 79 to January 80)". The records show that in spite of his declining health Captain Ferris was anxious to depart the Plains. In April 1880, he wrote the War Department requesting assignment to the “International Polar Station” expedition destined for Point Barrow in the far northern reaches of Alaska!
During General Crook’s Big Horn Expedition that commenced in March 1876, Captain Ferris was at Fort Fetterman, the main supply base and jumping off point for the nearly 900 officers and men that composed the Montana column commanded by Colonel J. J. Reynolds, 3rd US Cavalry. Two companies of Ferris’ 4th Infantry under Captain E.M. Coates’ accompanied the column as wagon guards. On March 17th the cavalry found and attacked a large village of Northern Cheyenne on the Powder River capturing and destroying a large quantity of “guns, ammunition, war supplies, and vast stores of food, confirming military fears that Crazy Horse planned to go on the warpath.” The initial assault at troop strength was unsupported allowing most of the Indians to escape. Although “800 ponies” were part of the booty, “the Indians soon recaptured them during a snowstorm early the next morning.” The expedition was largely unsuccessful and would cost Colonel Reynolds his career. The negligent officer was court-martialed and found guilty of “dereliction of duty” and forced to retire. Captain Ferris is a footnote in the 1961 book entitled, The Reynolds Campaign on the Powder River by J.W. Vaughn, mentioned on p.155 in a description welcoming the returning column to Fort Fetterman.
Captain Ferris remained at Fort Fetterman for the duration of the Great Sioux War until January 1, 1877 when he was posted to Fort McKinney, Wyoming Territory. He then went on ordinary leave from July 1878 to December 1878. Upon returning to duty in January 1879 he commanded a company at Fort D.A. Russell, Wyoming until October 1879. Early in this assignment he took command of a battalion of the 5th US Cavalry “in pursuit of hostile Indians” in the field in March 1879. The captain returned to the field for the Ute Expedition in November 1879 that took him to Camp White River, Colorado Territory in January 1880. Thereafter, the officer alternated between Camp White River and Fort Russell. Frontier duty was broken by a tour of “recruiting service” at Boston that lasted nearly a year. Captain Ferris returned to duty at Fort Russell, Wyoming in late October 1881. While at Fort Russell he took sick and was confined to the hospital under the care of the post’s assistant surgeon. Captain Samuel D. Ferris was just 43 years old when he died of “acute gastritis” on February 4, 1882. Army bureaucracy required that the War Department be notified of the death and the requisite communications are contained in Ferris’ military files obtained from the National Archives. Included is a telegram to the War Department requesting an “order for sending (an) officer with (the) remains…as relatives request body sent to Stamford, Conn.” The career soldier twice breveted for gallantry during the Civil War had served his country for nearly 21 years, 14 on the frontier. Captain Ferris’ obituary appeared in the February 5, 1882 New York Times and he was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Stamford.
Part of the Tiffany’s appeal is that it has never before been offered for sale to the collecting community. The sword is absolutely fresh to the market having descended from heirs and consigned directly to Cowan’s in April 2012. By way of background, the widow Fannie H. Ferris obtained a pension for her husband’s service in January 1883 and correspondence relating to that application dated December 1882 gives her address at 117 South Paulina St. on Chicago’s near west side. Sometime before the 1900 Federal Census, Fannie had relocated to Milton Township in present day Wheaton, DuPage County, Illinois and was listed as living with her 86 year old mother. Having outlived her husband by 45 years, Fannie Ferris died on February 8, 1927 in the house at 5610 Dorchester Ave., Wheaton, inherited from her mother (Illinois Death Index, 1916-1947) and was buried in Wheaton. If she was ever inclined to ponder her life, this heirloom sword must have been a deeply satisfying remainder to Fannie of her late husband’s character and bravery. The Tiffany was still in the home when the current owner’s family acquired the property in the 1950’s. The owner was a young boy in the 1960’s and readily admits to having lost the gilded sword belt plate once attached to the belt rig.
Accompanying the magnificent sword are Captain Ferris’ complete military and pension records from the National Archives. At least two photographs of Ferris in uniform are known to exist and photocopies of both are included along with some basic genealogical information. Finally, the sword and case were professionally conserved by the Dellar Conservation Group (Geneva, Illinois) in November 2000 and the original "Treatment Report" containing summary and color photographs are part of the file.
Literally, a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a previously unknown Tiffany presentation sword.
Descended from heirs.
Condition: This sword has been properly preserved by a professional conserver (report included), and is in outstanding condition. Case is in excellent condition. An unparalleled Tiffany Sword.