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Civil War Identified Swords -

Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry
Item #: PSC184
Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Major Oliver B. Knowles - 21st PA Cavalry
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Presentation Cavalry Officer Saber - Maj. Oliver Knowles 21st Pa Cavalry. Highly embellished gilt brass guard that is overlaid with applied grape leaves. The grip is a rare solid cast silver grip block style on a stippled background. Blade is mint and unmarked as to maker. Obverse blade is etch is crossed cannons with cannon balls - crossed flags - union shield - stand with liberty cap / spread winged eagle surrounded by 13 stars / foliate ending in a flame pattern. Reverse blade etch foliate - union symbol - foliate / foliate - US - foliate / foliate ending in a flame. Scabbard is high grade as it is silver plate over German silver. Throat is cast brass and chased. Brass suspension bands are oak leaves and acorns with twisted rings. Drag is cast with chasing. Scabbard body is engraved with foliate and a Eagle on a Union shield. Above the drag is hand engraved a standing cavalry trooper with a USC cavalry Gideon. The silver presentation is surrounded by a brass rope border and is in between the two suspension bands. The inscription reads: "Presented by the Line Officers / 21st Penna Cavalry to / Maj. O. B. Knowles Major Commanding". Major Knowles was from Philadelphia and entered the service as a private at age 19 and was eventually promoted Brev. Brig General in March 1865 at age 24. He served with the 1st NY Cavalry until late 1863 and then the remainder of the war with the 21st Pa Cavalry.

The following is from "The Union Cavalry": Written by "The General"

Knowles was born in Philadelphia on January 3, 1842, the son of a prominent merchant named Levi Knowles and Elizabeth Adeline Croskey. He attended local public schools and two years of high school before joining his father's business. The young man loved horses, and was known as an excellent horseman. He was tall at six foot two inches and well-proportioned, and was fair complected.

With the coming of war in 1861, nineteen-year-old Knowles enlisted in Capt. William H. Boyd's Co. C of the First New York (Lincoln) Cavalry. He became Boyd's orderly, and quickly developed a reputation for his dedication to duty and willingness to obey orders.

The Lincoln Cavalry saw action for the first time at Pohick Church near Alexandria, Virginia. During a sharp skirmish, Knowles demonstrated leadership, good judgment, and courage in helping to lead a detachment of Philadelphia horse soldiers to safety after they were nearly cut off. Knowles received a promotion to corporal for his gallantry in September 1861. However, Boyd had to force the young man to accept the promotion.

In January 1862, he was promoted again, this time to orderly sergeant, and as a result of excellent service during the Peninsula Campaign, he received a commission as second lieutenant at the conclusion of McClellan's campaign. "He was never sick, always ready for duty, and seemed to regard the most fatiguing service or hazardous undertaking as pastime, recorded Capt. James H. Stevenson of the Lincoln Cavalry in one of the two published histories of the regiment.

The Lincoln Cavalry participated in the Antietam Campaign, and then was assigned to serve in the Shenandoah Valley as part of the command of Brig. Gen. Robert H. Milroy (Milroy received a promotion to major general in March 1863). The Lincoln Cavalry spent most of the spring of 1863 chasing the guerrillas of John Singleton Mosby. Knowles was commissioned first lieutenant in April 1863 and then took a furlough. He rejoined the regiment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania while the Gettysburg Campaign was already underway, Milroy's cavalry having escaped from Winchester before it fell to the Confederates on June 13, 1863. Knowles helped Boyd dog the advance of the Confederates, and performed excellent service during the Gettysburg Campaign.

In August 1863, when the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry mustered in with Boyd as its colonel, Knowles became one of the newly-formed regiment's three majors. The 21st Pennsylvania was dismounted and served as infantry during the latter portion of the 1864 Overland Campaign, and when Boyd was badly wounded during the Battle of Cold Harbor, Knowles took command of the regiment, which participated in the siege of Petersburg. In October 1864, with the 21st Pennsylvania now mounted and acting as cavalry again, Knowles was promoted to colonel at the age of 22, and his unit was attached to the cavalry forces still serving the Army of the Potomac at Petersburg.

The 21st Pennsylvania participated in the various actions in and around Petersburg at the end of March and beginning of April 1865, and in the Appomattox Campaign. In June 1865, Knowles received a brevet to brigadier general of volunteers to date from March 1, 1865, for meritorious service in the war.

The twenty-three-year-old war hero mustered out of the volunteer service on July 4, 1865, and returned home to Philadelphia. He ended up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he participated in the grain trade, and sought (and obtained) a commission as a major in one of the Regular Army's new cavalry regiments; ironically, the commission arrived the day after he died. However, on December 5, 1866, Knowles was stricken by cholera and died five hours later. He was only 24. His young life, so full of promise, ended much too soon. One can only speculate just how many great things he might have accomplished had he lived to old age.

His remains were taken home to Philadelphia, and like so many other brave young men, he was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, overlooking the waters of the Schuylkill River. His gravestone reads:

He was:
Gentle, yet Courageous,
Firm, but Magnanimous,
Beloved by all.

"The conduct of Colonel Knowles throughout his entire military career, from that of a private carrying the carbine to his last charge when the foremost of all the Confederate leaders had been compelled to surrender, was most devoted and heroic, winning the respect and affection of those beneath him, and the confidence and admiration of his superiors. His unaffected simplicity of manner, genial bearing, and never-failing wit won for him troops of friends wherever he moved, recorded the eminent Pennsylvania historian, Samuel P. Bates. "As a token of their esteem, he was presented by his companions in arms with a horse, sword and equipment. He was warmly commended by Generals Sickel, Gregg, and Sheridan, and it was at the suggestion of the two latter that shortly after the surrender he was commissioned a Brigadier-General, as a special recognition of his merit in the final campaign.

NOT FOR SALE - Historic Preservation

Shipping Weight: 6 lbs
Not for Sale

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