Model 1860 Naval Cutlass
By Patrick McSherry
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The naval cutlass, though antiquated for purposes of naval warfare
the era of the steel vessels of the new American Navy, was still
in use. The crews of the Spanish American War period were drilled in
exercises, known as "single stick" drill.
The 1860 naval cutlass was apparently adopted by the U.S. Navy in
1860. The new U.S. Navy cutlass was based on the cutlass then in use
the French navy. The word "cutlass" is derived from the term "curtal
an ancient heavy, but short weapon. The cutlass has the same
The cutlass was used in ship-to-shop melee, in boarding parties and to
At top is the naval cutlass, just above the
scabbard. At bottom is a wooden practice cutlass, or "single stick"
(photo from the Doug Howser Collection)
The cutlass was an excellent weapon for it intended use of fighting
in onfined areas. However, by the time of the Spanish American War, the
combatants seldom, if ever, met face to face. The weapon was outdated.
Farrow, Edward S., A Dictionary of Military Terms. (New
Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1918).
|1-1/8" at hilt
|Single-edged, with a rudimentary double edge
|inches of point. A broad fuller (groove) runs
|hilt to within 7 inches of the point. The blade
|Broad "half basket" guard of sheet brass,
|Wood, covered with leather, wound with twisted
|Most commonly Ames Manufacturing Co., Chicopee,
Howser, Doug (photo of cutlass, scabbard and single stick).
Peterson, Harold L., The American Sword.
Ray Riling Arms Books Co., 1965).
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