Waterloo Captured French AN XIII Cuirassier
Authentic Klingenthal / Versailles Napoleonic French Heavy Cavalry
Sword, dated January 1815 with slight battle damage plus exceptional
providence and other clear proof it was taken from a fallen French
cavalryman who had just charged a Scottish infantry square during
the Battle of Waterloo.
(Authentic Première Restauration Klingenthal / Versailles
Sabre de cavalerie de Cuirassier An XIII, lame en date Janvier 1815,
marqué "Royale", corriger inspecteur poinçons,
capturé diminué de cavalerie soldat français
par l'armée britannique à Waterloo en 1815).
With respected family providence; this sword was brought back by
a British army officer from the Battle of Waterloo. Bought from
a respected UK auction house in Edinburgh (Scotland), the vendors
are well known to them and their claims are considered trustworthy.
The original vendors claimed the sword had been in their family
for many years and this is born out by the condition when it was
sold. The sword clearly had been through a long period where it
was not unsheaved as it was exceptionally tight in the scabbard
and the patina was commensurate with this; after greasing the sword
now sheaves very well. Also, the sabre has a spear point which the
French introduced only a few months before Waterloo.
I have the original auction receipt with the statement "Provenance:
By family repute, captured at Waterloo". Further enquiries
yielded a story that the sword had actually been used in action
against their ancestor's Scottish infantry "square", before
the French Cuirassier who held it was felled and killed. It is well
documented that the French Heavy Cavalry charged British including
Scots infantry squares several times and suffered badly as a result
from British musket fire at close quarters. The 96 cm twin fullered
blade has a slight bend 15 cm from the tip where the blade spine
narrows, plus several nicks in the blade around that area which
indicate battle damage, perhaps some poor Scotsman was struck by
this mighty sword before his French adversary was dispatched.
What makes this sword also quite unique is the fact it was made
by Klingenthal in January 1815 during the so called "First
Restoration" (French: Première Restauration) in the
brief time span when Napoleon was exiled to the Elba (6th April
1814 to 20th March 1815), when the French monarch King Louis XVIII
of France briefly regained control. This is reflected in the Klingenthal
signature along the spine of the blade which states "Rle"
(Royale) not "Impale" (Imperial). It is ironic the blade
was made for the king which the British were fighting to reinstate,
yet it was used by Napoleon's Imperial Army against them.
The iconic Versailles hilt with rack number 1512 is matched by
the same rack number on the scabbard (so the scabbard is original
to the sword). The scabbard is in very good condition, albeit with
a small amount of patina, which proves the slight blade damage happened
when the sword was unsheaved (the slight bend in the blade near
the tip is not that prominent and does not inhibit the sword being
sheaved). The scabbard interior is now well greased so the sword
sheaves and unsheaves well. The blade is firm in the hilt and in
very good order generally with some patination mostly down one side.
The original leather grip is complete but the leather has worn thin
in places (can be preserved). The twisted wire bindings are fairly
tight and conform to the original grade / thickness and twists but
are a replacement.
Blade with the correct inspector "poinçons" (inspection
marks) of Louis Etienne Borson, Jean-Georges Bick and François
Louis Lobstein (see: Klingenthal
Markings and Inspector
Markings). The remains of a Bick inspection mark can be seen
next to the rack number (1512) on the top scabbard ring band. The
hilt is similarly correctly marked with Borson's inspection stamp
plus that of the Versailles hilt inspector. On the scabbard's shoe
drag is the mark "11", indicating the sword was held by
a French trooper of the 11th Cuirassiers, who formed part of the
3rd Cavalry Corps commanded by General Kellerman at Waterloo, and
who were involved in charges against British infantry. It is this
combined with the matching sword and scabbard rack numbers, plus
the respected original owner's verbal provenance which go to prove
this truly is a battle scarred AN XIII Cuirassier's Sabre taken
from a fallen French cavalryman by British troops at Waterloo in
Further photos available upon request.