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1850 US ARMY SWORD INSTRUCTION MANUAL – ORIGINAL PRINTING AND BINDING – THE VERY SPECIMEN TRADED TO BREMEN, GERMANY DURING THE 1850’s ERA INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EQUIPMENT EXCHANGE – VERY NICE RARE  HISTORIC VOLUME:  This edition of THE SWORD EXERCISE ARRANGED FOR MILITARY INSTRUCTION, written by Brevet Major Henry C. Wayne, US Army, was printed in Washington, by Gideon & Co. in 1850.   Retaining its original cloth bound covers with the title imprinted on the spine in gold leaf, and the cover bearing the title “MUSEUM” in gold leaf, this edition has survived in very good condition considering its age and history.   

What makes this particular manual so significant is that is was presented to Bremen, Germany as part of a system of exchange of samples of military equipment that existed , during the 1850’s between the United States, Denmark, England, France, Russia, and at least two of the German States – Prussia and Bremen.  These nations would provide complete sets of arms, accoutrements, saddlery and the related manuals to their trading partners and in return would receive like sets from the others, enabling the participants to test and examine the equipment in use at the time.  The samples of the Model 1855 era arms provided by the United States to England still reside in the Tower of London collection in unfired condition, and the only known surviving example of the Model 1857 McClellan Saddle and its related equipment is held in the collection of the Tojusmuseet in Copenhagen, Denmark.   

This manual is well identified as having been included in the above described exchanges.  The front fly leaf has a hand written inscription in German to the effect that the manual was presented by the United States of North America in May of 1858.  On the second flyleaf is a second inked inscription “B.B. c. 904” which I believe stands for “Bremen Bibliotek” (Library of Bremen) and the library’s catalog number.  The title page is ink stamped with the library’s seal which includes the crest of the City of Bremen.  The following page bears an ink stamp “BREM MUSEUM”, which may explain the title on the front cover of the manual.  Perhaps this manual was once maintained in the city’s museum in the same way other items involved in the 1850’s exchanges are currently maintained in the Tojusmuseet and in the Tower of London Museum, and then it was eventually transferred to the city library.  Pasted inside the front cover is a sheet with instructions or rules on using the library, also printed in old German font.   

Bremen, Germany's oldest port city, was an independent city-state prior to the late 19th Century.  The city's overseas trade was significant, particularly with the United States during the 19th Century, so it follows that the exchange of military equipment and arms would include even this relatively small nation.  In 1871 Bremen joined the German Empire and with the rise of the German nation, Bremen’s military forces were consolidated under the central German command structure.   

This manual is in remarkable condition considering the age and the fact that it has made at least two trans-Atlantic crossings and survived the severe damage to Bremen during World War Two.  The covers show some light wear, with an area of discoloration on the rear cover that is likely where a cataloging tag was glued to the surface.  The binding and spine are very strong with no loosening, and no loss of content or integrity.  All of the pages are intact, in very good condition and legible.  The book measures 7 ľ” by 5” and consists of 62 pages and 10 folding illustrated plates.   

This manual is not only a scarce US Army manual of instruction on the use of the sword, but is also a very rare example of the well documented international exchanges of military equipment prior to the American Civil War, making a significant piece of militaria and a fine collectable volume.  SOLD


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