|Unidentified Mounted Soldier|
holding a Foot Officer's Sword
Photographs often contain incongruous elements. For example, this one shows a private wearing a jacket appropriate for a mounted soldier of cavalry or light artillery. In his hand he holds a model 1850 foot officer's sword. The leather scabbard is worn held up by the hanger on his left hip. Why is an enlisted man holding an officer's sword? We will never know, but the most likely explanation is that it was a photographer's prop. It is also possible that it was a trophy or had some other significance. The pattern of engraving typical of an Model 1850 foot officer's sword can be made out on the blade. The blade is not as long nor as curved as cavalry models. Mounted soldier's swords had metal scabbards that would hold up to the knocking against the horse's flank, while foot soldier's scabbards were typically lighter weight leather manufacture.