Silversmith: John Targee (American, ca. 1774–1850)
Date: ca. 1815–17
Geography: New York, New York
Culture: American, New York
Medium: Steel, gold, silver
Dimensions: L. 37 1/4 in. (94.6 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Francis P. Garvan, 1922
Accession Number: 22.19a, b
Following the War of 1812, the State of New York awarded twelve swords to military officers who commanded troops within its borders. This example was presented posthumously to Brigadier General Daniel Davis (1777–1814) of the New York Militia, who died during an engagement at Fort Erie on September 17, 1814.
The sword's design reflects the classical inspiration of the Federal period. The hilt, with its downturned shell, is based on French Empire models. The image of Hercules and the Nemean Lion, emblematic of strength and courage, is probably copied from an English engraving after a Classical gem or cameo. The eagle-headed pommel, on the other hand, is typically American, as is the style of engraving on the scabbard, illustrating the battle.